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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Jul 5 11:19:30 EDT 2012

Last night, on the Anniversary of our Independence, I had the pleasure
of "Takin' Twenty" with four of the Brethren and Friends of the
Virginian Railway. We swapped stories about how we coped with recent
sweltering days without power and A/C. I also told them about being a
car host on Sunday's Norfolk Southern Twenty-first Century Steam trains
from Roanoke to Walton and return. The Southern 2-8-0 #630 was taken off
the train at Elliston because of an overheated bearing. We backed the
train up to Singer and set the #630 out. She was then ran backwards to
Shaffers Crossing for repairs. This Sunday's public train out of Roanoke
west to Chattanooga, will be pulled by one of the NS Heritage locomotives.

We signed a Happy Birthday card for James Economy, retired VGN Yard
Brakeman and Conductor. James claims kin to the inventor of the
"Economy" rail joint. He will be 83 tomorrow.

Passed around were several photos: One I took last Saturday of Southern
#630 2-8-0 pulling the NS Employee Special under the old Virginian
Railway Yateman Viaduct Bridge, west of Wabun. I have posted this one on
this site under "Skip's Photos". The second is NS EMD SD70 ACe #1061
with a covered hopper and NS 555608 caboose just north of the VGN "JK"
tower on the Winston-Salem District in Roanoke, with Mill Mountain and
the Roanoke Star in the background. The third one will probably become a
classic: All twenty Norfolk Southern Heritage locomotives posing around
the Spencer turntable for their debut on Tuesday. Unit NS #1030 was also
on the turntable signifying the Norfolk Southern 30th Anniversary.

The Jewel from the Past, like one in Steve Warner's Hamilton 992B with
the extra red hour hand for Daylight Saving Time, is from March 9, 2006:
"I passed around an article that Mrs. Russell 'Lou' McDaniel gave me
from the 'Richmond Times-Dispatch' dated October 26, 1959. It is titled
'Victoria Still is Stunned Over Virginian-N&W Merger'. Of course a lot
of the Brethren remembered how Victoria reacted at the news of the
merger. 'Slick' Inge said at midnight on December 1, 1959, the yard
engine at Victoria pulled all of the VGN cabooses out of the cab track
and took them to Abilene, and on to Crewe. The article said that 'some
235 railroad men work out of the Victoria terminal and shop, the line's
focal point between Norfolk and Roanoke'".

Thanks to Doug Bess for correcting me last week. The NS Heritage unit
#1072 is the Illinois Terminal and not the Illinois Central. For Show
and Tell I took a new 4-inch red and white Virginian Railway patch
purchased recently on ebay. Also shown was the August "Trains" magazine.
This issue has a history of the Union Pacific Railway. Also on page 6 is
"Chesapeake Western Tribute" about our Roanoke Chapter NRHS cosmetically
restoring the CW #662. This outstanding piece of rail past, along with
the newly painted N&W SD45 #1776, will take part in the Independence Day
Celebration this Saturday at the Virginia Museum of Transportation. The
NS VGN Heritage unit #1069 will also make her debut on old VGN tracks
coming back to Roanoke and on Saturday. We are planning a formal photo
with the Brethren posing (in coats and ties) beside the #1069 SD 70 ACe
"Trainmaster". More on this photo next time.

This Monday's "Roanoke Times" had in the weekly "50 Years Ago" column "A
five-man Norfolk and Western Railway freight train crew Friday made the
last run west it will ever make with an electric locomotive at the head
of the train. The N&W retired all its electrical locomotives as of

Then there's this: Our National Anthem was written in the form of a poem
in 1814 by Francis Scott Key. This poem became our anthem in 1931. What
we sing at ball games is only the first verse. I am quite fond of the
fourth verse:

"Oh, thus be it ever when free men shall stand
Between their loved homes and the war's desolation;
Blest with victory and peace, may the Heaven-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just;
And this be our motto: 'In God is our trust!'
And the Star-Spangled Banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free, and the home of the brave."

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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