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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu May 17 07:34:35 EDT 2012

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with nine of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway. I told the Brethren about this web
site now having over 1100 members registered (5-16-12). Some of them still
don't believe how much some of you enjoy reading about them. Thanks for
your follow-up comments and questions. Keep 'um comin'!

We signed birthday cards for two Virginian Railway patriarchs, Russell
McDaniel and Greely Wyatt. Wyatt started with the VGN in 1945. He served as
Electric Foreman at Mullens and was known far and wide as the go-to 'geru"
of VGN electrics and Fairbanks-Morse diesels. He worked in the Mechanical
Department of the N&W in various supervisory positions and retired 5-30-86
with NS as Mechanical Department Supervisor. Russell McDaniel started with
the VGN in 1948 as Assistant Electrical Engineer, Princeton,; moved to
Mullens as Assistant Roundhouse Foreman, and was Master Mechanic at
Victoria at the merger. He moved up the ladder in the Mechanical Department
of N&W and retired as Manager Motive Power and Equipment. I had the great
privilege of working for him in 1968-1970. Greely will be 86 tomorrow, and
Russell turns 90 next Tuesday. I have posted an official N&W photo on this
site under "People", shared with the Brethren, that our friend Harry Bundy
found recently at the N&W(and VGN) Historical Society Archives, of Russell

For Show and Tell, I showed an unusual lamp found when the VGN Station in
Roanoke was cleaned out. In 1909 they were not sure about electric
lighting, so gas was piped in also, for lights at the Station. The lamp
shown has a square tube with an electric socket on one side and a gas lamp
on the other; the gas line and cloth wrapped electric wires going to the
lamps, both inside the same tube: DANGER! DANGER!. Dr. "Gibby" Davis
remembered having similar lamps in their home when he was a lad...he said
they were told to never have both on at the same time!

The ebay report this time includes the following VGN items sold: Prince
book "Pocahontas Coal Carrier" for $99.90; VGN trust plate for $70.75;
Negative of EL-2b #226 for $18.28; 1940 freight bill from Sears Roebuck at
Victoria for $9.99; 1943 VGN Operating Rule Book for $48.27; Negative of a
#301 at Princeton in 1931 for $21.90; and a Tidewater RWY 1907 Pass for

I showed the Brethren the NS Employee Appreciation Steam Excursion schedule
for this year with each Division having the train on weekends. The Virginia
Division trips will be June 30 and July 1. Wick Moorman, NS CEO, said "The
chance to ride behind a living part of our history, to be with our families
and co-workers, and to commemorate the remarkable progress we've made as a
team in the last three decades are great reasons to come out and
participate in these trips. Besides, why should rail fans have all the
fun". The tickets will be available for active NS employees and their
family members only. Also from the NS web site, they have a new program:
"Protect the Line" that asks for help spotting problems with trains and
operations. To get information about this, sign up and download your own
card with an NS ID number, go to www.protecttheline.com

Handed out were invitations to the Brethren for the Roanoke Valley
Preservation foundation presentation at O. Winston Link, May 24, 2012 at
the Trackside Gallery and Theater. The program is "The Past & Future of the
Virginian Railway Station" by Skip Salmon and announcement of the 2012
Endangered Sites List by Alison Blanton. The event is free and starts at 6
PM. You all are invited to attend.

The Jewel from the Past is from January 26, 2006: "Jimmy Whittaker told of
the time when 'Cornbread' Victory showed up for work on a hot summer day
with the legs of his overalls cut off. Yardmaster Staley Brinkley send him
home to get some legs for his pants. 'Cornbread' then asked the question:
'What is the difference between roast beef and pea soup?' Answer: 'Anybody
can roast beef!'"

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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