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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu May 31 08:28:53 EDT 2012

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with eleven of the
Brethren and Friends of the Virginian Railway. A lot of talk was about
the current History Channel "Hatfields and McCoys" three-night special,
ending last night. I showed them H. Reid's book, page 36, with his
account of the feud, which tells of Elias Hatfield, son of Devil Anse
Hatfield, as "detective for the Ritter Lumber people and the Virginian
Railway"! Page 35 has a photo of VGN 4-6-0 TA #202 at Page, WV (complete
with deer antlers on the headlight) showing Elias Hatfield as a "mild
mannered, capable special agent". Elias Hatfield was later killed over
liquor rights near Montgomery, WV and took his last ride on VGN #4.

Attending for the first time from Salisbury, NC, was John C. A.
Grabarek, retired NS locomotive engineer, who started on the original
Norfolk Southern, at Coleman Place as an operator. John has been a fan
of this report for years and enjoys rail fanning in the Roanoke area. It
was fun hearing his stories and correcting his pronunciation of local
spots like Wabun and Layfayette. John brought photos we have never seen
of his travels as engineer. My favorite was the one of his VGN caboose
#327. Landon Gregory especially had a lot to talk to John about old
times, when VGN and original NS worked together. Landon brought Aubrey
Wiley's 2013 calendar. The Junkman "as a gesture of appreciation"
dedicated this one to Landon for his contributions to the VGN cause.
This may be the best VGN calendar yet...get yours ASAP!

I showed the Brethren last Monday's "Roanoke Times" "100 years ago
today" article: "A mortgage for $75 million on the properties of the
Virginian Railway company was recorded yesterday in the office of the
clerk of the courts of this city. The document contained 100 pages and
34,160 words". We wondered if "Cincinnati" was one of the words...

Passed for the Brethren to see was the latest two NS Heritage locomotive
photos: Reading and Erie. Virginian Railway #1069 should be the next one
out! Also passed was Virginia Museum of Transportation's plans for a bus
trip to Spencer NC, on July 4th this year to visit the NC Transportation
Museum, to see the entire 20 NS Heritage locomotive fleet. A
Commonwealth Coach and Trolley Museum bus will leave Roanoke around 8:30
AM and return about 6 PM. The cost would be about $50. If interested,
call VMT at 540 767 4640.

Also passed around was the Spring 2012 National Railway Historical
Society "Bulletin". This issue is mostly about the Kansas City Union
Station. On page 22 there is a 1966 photo of N&W train 212 with
ex-Wabash E-8A (WAB 1006) #3806 in Pevler blue.

Landon Gregory and Raymond East talked about last Thursday's event at
the O. Winston Link Museum by the Roanoke Valley Historical Foundation.
I was very proud to show many photos and artifacts from the Virginian
Station, now under sub-roof, and honor the VGN Brethren. During the
presentation, I showed several minutes of the 1955 Gordon Hamilton CD of
VGN train #3 leaving Norfolk's Union Station and traveling to Roanoke.
After the train stopped in front of the station in Roanoke, and the
Railway Express truck unloaded packages, the yard engine shoved the
train through the crossover to be turned on the wye track for the trip
back to Norfolk (then the service west to Charleston was discontinued).
I told the audience to pay special attention to the fireman on the yard
engine, shoveling coal into the fire box. Then I said "Ladies and
Gentlemen, that man is with us tonight...Raymond East stand up!" (to a
great ovation from the large crowd who attended). The end of my
presentation about the Past and Future of the Station, featured about 8
minutes from Landon Gregory's filmed interview I did for future visitors
at the Station. He told of stopping the Seaboard Coast Line 90 MPH
"Champion" passenger train at Jarratt for a VGN coal train. Landon was
also asked to stand for an ovation.

The Jewel from the Past, like ones in the Hamilton 992B of Mr. Ed
Wheeler, is from February 9, 2006: "Raymond East and 'Cornbread' Victory
told a story about Bill Daniel's father, George Daniels, Jr. ('Little
George') who was a carpeck on the VGN. Seems that 'Little George' chewed
tobacco and enjoyed singing opera. Once, while doing both at the same
time, the Aria got spewed all over the walls of the yard Office". Note
of Historical interest: The yard office had at least a dozen VGN
cuspidors (spittoons) that were treated like historical artifacts,
because some employees who chewed, only observed their presence, and did
not always make use of them...

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon



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