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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Jun 21 22:32:49 EDT 2012

Last night, on the longest day of the year, I had the pleasure of "Takin'
Twenty" with thirteen of the Brethren and Friends of the Virginian Railway.
Attending with us from Cleveland, Ohio were Frank Bongiovanni and Paul
Weber, who are in town for the N&W (and VGN) Historical Society Convention,
in Lynchburg this week. Frank is the Clinic Co-Ordinator and the Virginian
Nation's "Admiral of Battleship Gons" and Paul is a world renowned HO
modeler. They had many VGN questions for the Brethren and seemed to enjoy
their visit.

We signed a Happy Birthday card for Ernie Hubble. Ernie's father, Ernest J.
"Red" Hubble, started out working for the VGN in Victoria as a machinist
and retired as Roundhouse Foreman for the N&W. "Red" was my first
Roundhouse Foreman at Shaffers Crossing and a gentleman supervisor. When I
first met Ernie, I knew he was "akin" to "Red"!. His grandfather, John
Ransom Hubble, started in 1909 with the VGN in Victoria as a machinist!.
Ernie's uncles John Rufus Hubble, and Ralph E. Hubble were also machinists,
working in Victoria. Ernie turns 70 next Tuesday.

The Jewel from the Past is from February 23, 2006: "'Slim' Sowder, VGN
Clerk at Sewells Point, said one night the activity on Main Street in
Norfolk was especially active with VGN workers, and several found
themselves in the pokey (not the famous Division on the N&W). One was yard
Brakeman "C. C.' White. 'C. C.' had to be convinced by his Conductor that
he was indeed guilty, before he could be bailed out. 'Slim' said he forked
out $14.25 for each of the VGN fellows to be released from the Norfolk
'Pokey Division'".

>From last week, the answer to the tuscan red VGN equipment numbered and
lettered in white, that delivered coal to VGN customers, is four coal scows
(#1-#3, 200 ton; #4 300 ton). Some called them harbor barges or "lighters".
They were used to deliver coal from Sewells Point to Norfolk Coal and Ice,
and Washington Steamship Companies. A commercial tug-boat did the honors of
delivery. See pages 49-50 of H. Reid's "Virginian Railway" for his details
under "The Virginian's Navy". Douglas Davenport gave the correct solution
and I got several other "guesses": Stephen Salmon suggested they were a
fleet of Radio Flyer wagons and Marty Swartz owes me a nickel for his
"rubber tired truck" answer.

Passed around was a photo of the latest Norfolk Southern Heritage unit
#8025, painted in the Monongahela livery. The VGN #1069 is reported being
held for release until the July 4 display in Spencer.

For Show and Tell, I took an item purchased in Bedford, VA last Saturday at
a gun auction (I also bought an original 1892 Winchester 25/20 lever action
beauty). The Brethren identified it almost immediately as a US Automatic
Pencil Sharpener that resembles a deli meat-slicer, made about the same
time the VGN started in 1909. Of course, the first thing I did was to have
VGN Clerk Wis Sowder sharpen one of the original Virginian Railway pencils
with it, so yes, it is now officially a "Virginian Railway pencil" sharpener.

Our good friend Gary Price reported that recently his NS MOW boys removed
the 738, now famous, 34 year old concrete cross ties at Kumis, and replaced
them with 1100 wooden ties. It is "the end of an era".

The ebay report this time includes the following VGN items sold: 100 VGN
photo CD for $13.95; 1950 VGN pass for $17.29; The DEAL of the YEAR, an H.
Reid Book for $9.99; Slide of H16-44 and coal hopper for $14.50; 1909 VGN
pass for $39.95; 1950 VGN Book of Rules for $19.39; and the DEAL of the
CENTURY: VGN lantern with raised VIRGINIAN RY" on globe for $295.00!

VGN Clerk Bob "Little Abner" Glass sent me this one from his collection of
"How children perceive their grandparents": "A grandfather was delivering
his grandchildren to their home one day when a fire truck zoomed past.
Sitting in the front seat of the fire truck was a Dalmatian dog. The
children started discussing the dog's duties. "They use him to keep crowds
back", said one child. "No", said another. "He's just for good luck..." A
third child bought the argument to a close. "They use the dogs," she said
firmly, "to find the fire hydrants".

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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