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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Mar 8 07:01:11 EST 2012

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with ten of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway. Eddie Mooneyham brought his lovely
daughter Abby with him. Most of the talk was about yesterday's
Groundbreaking for the Virginian Station in Roanoke. Several of the
Brethren took part in the ceremony that officially kicked off Phase I of
the restoration of the VGN landmark. Fourteen Virginian Railway shovels
were used to "turn the dirt". Honored at the event were those Brethren
involved with the project since the efforts to save it started, who have
passed away. They were: Russell "Slick" Inge, Walter Grigg, Jimmy
Whittaker, Toby Hotson, Keith Sowder, Bob Rowland, Tom Victory, Grover
Austin and Rufus Wingfield.

Passed around was the April, 2012 "Trains" magazine which features the 7
"Greatest Myths and Legends" of railroading including John Henry, the Great
Locomotive Chase, Al Capone and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Also
passed around was a photo taken of N&W 1776, fresh out of the paint shop
(with no lettering or numbers) in Chattanooga. To see this great paint job,
go to: nslocos.com, click to enter, and click "here to visit NS locos on
Facebook". Scroll down until you get to the photo.

Norfolk Southern recently put out an official statement "to all employees"
about the 18 Heritage units they are painting in original schemes of fallen
flag lines within the old N&W, Southern and Conrail families. Included was
Virginia Museum of Transportation's artist Andy Fletcher's "rendering" of
what they will be. Rumor has it that NS CEO, Wick Moorman, saw this
"concept" drawing and decided to make it a project of the NS Corporation.
The Roanoke Chapter NRHS has been asked for details for the painting of the
Virginian Trainmaster unit. Ken Miller, Chapter Historian, who has recently
numbered and lettered some famous locomotives including the C&O #614, N&W
GP-30 #522, N&W T-6 #41, BC&G #14 and Princeton VGN caboose #308 is working
on getting the scheme as close to the VGN original as possible.

Recently there has been a lot of discussion about Virginia peanuts, and how
they were shipped on the VGN. Tom "Saltwater" Salmon's pregnant, pictorial,
prose, praising the Virginia "goober pea" made me proud to say that I have
"Hub's Choco Covered" on my deserted island "survival list". Russell
McDaniel tells a story about the VGN 44-tonner #6, when he was sent from
Princeton to Suffolk, VA, shortly after a main generator change. The little
diesel switcher wouldn't shove the same number of box cars as the old VGN
0-8-0 SA #4 did, into the peanut plant. He was dispatcher to troubleshoot
the problem. He fixed it in record time by reversing the two wires in the
generator's shunt field and called Princeton immediately to report it was
fixed. Mr. W. W. Osborn, Superintendent Motive Power, told young Russell to
"stay another day just for looks".

The Jewel from the Past is from December 1, 2005: "To answer the question
about whether the Virginian had a water treatment plant, to treat the water
used to make steam on locomotives, I asked 'Slick' Inge. He recalled the
firemen had a 'ball of chemicals' they threw into the water in the tenders,
after taking on water. He said the water was then tested, but he knew of no
water treatment facility on the line. In regard to the leased cars, no one
remembered any hoppers painted in red. Also they agreed if all of the coal
hoppers the VGN had, would have to turned up at one time, there would not
have been enough room on sidings to hold them".

We discussed whether a VGN Special Agent's Badge, currently available from
a local antique shop, is the real thing. Landon Gregory said he worked with
at least three VGN "Cinder Dicks" but "never saw their badges".

Ronnie Victory told the Brethren his wife is trying to teach their dog to
dance along with the "Dances with the Stars" TV Show. Raymond East told
Ronnie, "She'll never teach that dog to dance; he's got two left feet!".

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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