"Takin Twenty with the Virginian Brethren" by Skip Salmon

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Oct 13 08:29:33 EDT 2011

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with nine of the
Brethren and Friends of the Virginian Railway. We discussed our upcoming
"Road Trips" to Mullens and Victoria. It was agreed that we will try to
make it to both events and carpool.

I showed the Brethren a photo from the N&W (and VGN) Historical Society
Archives of "VGN 1", a wooden reefer car taken in Princeton in 1956.
This photo was from the Jim Gillum Collection and was a surprise because
no one at the Archives thought the VGN had any ice cars. I could not
find this car in the Archives' records. It was known that there were
facilities for "Icing" refrigerators cars at several locations along the
VGN line, but no one knew of any VGN reefers. Russell McDaniel recalled
the ramp and seeing the yellow and sometimes orange cars with access
doors on the top corners being iced in Roanoke, but knew of none marked
"VGN". Wis Sowder also recalled seeing these cars serviced and
remembered a fellow from Covington coming to Roanoke "to check the
bananas" in reefers. The photo shows the "VGN 1" in a line of MW cars
and several of the Brethren surmised that it was used to distribute ice
to crews along the line. Anybody out there in the Virginian Nation know
anything about this lone reefer marked "VGN 1"? I have posted the photo
on this site under "Rolling Stock".

Also passed was a photo taken in the 1950s of South Yard showing the
Yard Office from the east and a photo of a wreck on the "W" side about
1958 with my Grandfather, George P. Craig at the controls of the
Shaffers Crossing Derrick car. The wreck was at Park (5th) Street.

>From last week, we discussed the wreck at Oak Hill Junction that
resulted in our having a VGN sugar bowl with cover for our display at
the Station. The bowl is marked "Reed & Barton" and "The Virginian
Railway" on the bottom. The accident report said that our own Russell
"Slick" Inge was the Conductor on the pusher caboose and indicates that
"Slick" was given orders to take the siding with no indication that the
supply train was already there. I also showed the Brethren D. F. Thomas'
annual pass for 1935-36 that came with the silver bowl. Even though Phil
Thomas told me that the cook on the Club Car later died, there was no
mention of this on the accident report. I also researched the ICC
accident reports and found nothing about this wreck.

Also passed around was a photo I took of the Roanoke Chapter NRHS Alco
T-6 #41 at the Blue Ridge signal on her way to Appomattox for Rail
Festival last weekend. This was the first time an Alco pulled on the
famous Blue Ridge grade in many years!

The Jewel from the Past is from June 30, 2005: "Raymond East said that
once in South Yard, he was talking, and cut come cabooses off, going too
fast. They made a very quick coupling with the ones already on the cab
track. Seems that one cab was occupied by a conductor who was 'sleeping
over' until his next run. He came out of the cab in his 'long handles'
and exclaimed 'Recon you boys could hit it a little harder?'"

The ebay report this time includes the following: Slide of EL-3A #101 at
Princeton for $26.00 and a Slide of #905 at Victoria for $11.99.

Then there's this, send to me by a Catholic friend of mine: "A bus on a
busy street struck a Catholic man. He was lying near the sidewalk when a
crowd gathered. He was not seriously injured but overcome with the
experience and asked for a priest. 'Somebody get me a priest'. Long
seconds dragged on but no one stepped out of the crowd. A policeman
checked the crowd and finally yelled, 'A priest, Please! Isn't there a
priest in this crowd to give this man some help?" Finally out of the
crowd stepped a little old Jewish man in his 80's. "Mr. Policeman, I'm
not a priest. I'm not even a Christian, but for 50 years now, I'm living
behind the Catholic Church on Second Ave. and every night I'm
overhearing their services. I can recall a lot of it, and maybe I can be
of some comfort to this poor man'. The policeman agreed and cleared the
crowd so the man could get through to where the injured man lay. The old
Jewish man knelt down, leaned over the man and said in a solemn voice:

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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