"Takin' Twenty" with the Virginian Brethren by Skip Salmon

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Sep 29 08:20:09 EDT 2011

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with eight of the
Brethren and Friends of the Virginian Railway. Several commented about
our "Road Trip" last Thursday to the Homeplace Restaurant in Catawba, VA
with wives. My youngest son, Josh, lives within sight of the restaurant
and his beautiful girlfriend Carmen made red velvet cupcakes with "VGN"
iced on the top, and had them at the restaurant for the Brethren to take
home. Our next "Road Trip" dinner was suggested for the Swinging Bridge
Restaurant in "downtown" Paint Bank, VA near the old Potts Valley Line
to sample the buffalo.

A lot of discussion was about the "Virginian Railway Day" at the
Virginia Museum of Transportation last Saturday, when nine of the
Brethren were the highlight of the program. Attending and answering
questions about the Virginian, giving first-hand, "I was there",
information were : Landon Gregory, VGN Operator who set up, dispatching
in the old Ellett Station, with Harry Bundy, who worked with Landon as
an Operator on the nearby original Norfolk Southern; Raymond East, who
stood beside the last Virginian steam engine left, the VGN SA 0-8-0 #4
and commented to visitors about firing her at the peanut plants in
Suffolk*, as well as sitting in the "Virginian-Roanoke's Other Railway"
Room and answering questions. Others taking part were: Frank
Breedlove-VGN Conductor; Gordon Glen-VGN Engineer; Dewey Houch-VGN
Surveyor; Russell McDaniel-VGN Master Mechanic; Greely Wyatt-VGN
Electrical Foreman; Wis Sowder VGN-Clerk and Weighmaster; and Glen
McLain-VGN Chief Clerk Coal Operations. Visiting from Sedley, VA were
VGN enthusiasts HB and Anne Bryant, and from Bristol, TN Jim Stump,
whose father was an engineer of the VGN New River Division. *Note: I
have posted a photo on this site of Raymond East beside the VGN #4 in
the "People" section. I brought my VGN short handled fireman's shovel
for Raymond to use as a prop, and he said he "had hoped he'd never see
one again!"

Also set up Saturday were Aubrey and Charlotte Wiley showing off their
motor car. He explained the "headlight equipment" that VGN supplied
motor cars consisted of a portable lantern with a large lamp, that was
attached atop the outside of the aluminum roof of the car with a big
magnet under it, on the inside....

The Jewel from the Past is from June 16, 2005: "The topic of Sands and
Company came up and Grover Austin remembered sometimes handing out pay
checks with a "$.00" in the amount box, because items were purchased
from Sands 'on the cuff' against pay. Once when 'Penn' Falkner was paid,
he commented 'You mean I actually got money on this check!' Also Keith
Sowder recalled coming out of the bank after cashing his VGN pay check
and meeting a fellow employee who said he had 'left his check at home'
and requested a loan. Keith responded, 'The bank and I have a deal. They
don't call crews, and I don't make loans.'"

The ebay report this time includes the following VGN items sold: 1924
magazine article about Sewells Point Pier for $52.00; VGN Trust Plate
for $43.00; 1946 VGN advertisement for $10.49; Two VGN watch inspection
cards for $25.99; "VGN in Color" for $47.95; #802 2-10-10-2 Alco
Builder's Photo for $230.50; Slide of PA #212 in Roanoke in 1955 for
$18.39; 1945 VGN Public Timetable for $26.99; "VGN RY" Short Globe
Lantern for $306.17; and a Negative of VGN EL-2b #127 for $9.95.

>From time to time I get suggested quips to add to this report at the
end. Several received lately include: What do you call a baby "Big Foot?
A "Big Feet-Us"; What do you call a Fly with no wings? A Walk; and my
favorite, Why do gorillas have big nostrils? Because they have big

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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