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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu May 10 08:04:49 EDT 2012

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with eight of the
Brethren and Friends of the Virginian Railway. I told them about my
talking to the Railroad Industrial Modelers, last Friday at Wasena Park
about the Virginian Railway. This group, from all over the USA, had
their Convention at Hotel Roanoke. They visited Roanoke Shops, Freight
Car America and the NS Virginia Division (Dispatch Center) before the
Bar-B-Q lunch. They were very interested in the VGN, asking many
questions about our Fallen Flag. They were impressed with the
regenerative action of dynamic braking putting power back into the line
that the VGN used. When I told them about the New River being used as
resistance for regular dynamic braking for the electrics, one man asked
"What did this do to the fish?" I had to explain that back then, the
environment was not considered as it is now. I gave a VGN RWY Safety
First pin to a man from California who traveled the farthest to hear my
talk. Also several from the group get this report, and were able to put
my face with this stuff!

For Show and Tell, I took a VGN RWY adz donated by Eddie Baldwin who
read about our VGN Station Restoration in recent news articles. The adz
belonged to his grandfather, C. S. Baldwin, who worked for N&W in
Roanoke Shops. This adz shows much wear and the Brethren suspect that
back in the early days, the VGN probably purchased cross ties at every
saw mill from Deepwater to Sewells Point and needed adzes when the rails
were installed. I also showed "Roscoe" the yellow jacket, that I
discovered Monday in my bedroom window. "Roscoe" woke me up, and at
first I thought my neighbor had bought a new scooter and could not get
it started. My bride Judi Raided him. I have placed a photo of "Roscoe"
vs a VGN RWY yellow jacket on this site under "Skip's Photos".

I brought the 1955 video mentioned last week, that Gordon Hamilton
found, and showed it to the Brethren. Landon Gregory brought his lap top
computer and we watched VGN trains at Norfolk, Suffolk, Altavista,
Roanoke and other locations. They were amazed as the VGN passenger train
followed closely behind the coal train. Raymond East, who was working as
a fireman on a yard engine in 1955, admitted that "the fellow throwing
coal into the firebox on the engine in the video looked a lot like him"!
Also shown was the Summer 2012 "Classic Trains", highlighting the EMD
E-units and a great article "Of Hoops and Markers" about train orders
similar to VGN's operations. Also passed around was a photo that my son
Scott gave me of a 1920's view of the Appalachian Power generating plant
near the VGN Complex with the Roanoke Railway & Electric Company street
car line shown. Another photo provoked the Brethren in such a manner
that I will not share the comments made here. It is the one showing a
Lionel version of a "VGN heritage GE locomotive" with blue trucks and
flames. We all agreed that the best four letter word to describe this
toy is JOKE!. I was also able to show the latest NS Heritage unit, EMD
SD70ACe #1065 Savannah and Atlanta.

The Jewel from the Past is from January 19, 2006: "While talking about
VGN carman L. C. Hall, Raymond East remembered that in the old days of
friction bearings, the carpecks would be very greasy from working with
journal box oil and 'waste' with their bare hands. Seems that L C. was
known for wearing gloves that were always cleaner than his hands. Once
someone asked him to come to the yard office when he 'took twenty, after
washing up'. East said Hall told them he couldn't, because 'he never
washed up to take twenty, just ate with his gloves ON'".

At last Friday's talk to the Railroad Industrial Modelers, I pointed out
to the ladies and gentlemen the Roanoke River flowing beside the old
Virginian line. This section was "moved over" in order to extent the VGN
Yard for longer coal trains, after the merger. I mentioned that a
fisherman had just disappeared into the trees beside this trout stream
that flows through our fair city. One fellow from Colorado seemed
especially interested. I told him about my nephew Jake catching a large
fish last week, west of this site. I described Jake's trout with
outstretched arms and started bringing my hands closer together when I
said "A photo of the fish weighed six pounds!".

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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