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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Aug 2 07:41:55 EDT 2012

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with ten of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway. We signed a Happy Birthday card for
our adopted member Bill Spencer. Bill is retired from the US Postal Service
and joined us several years ago after listening to some of the Brethren
tell VGN stories, and has met with us ever since. Bill served in the
Pacific during WWII in the 25th Infantry as a radio operator, and was part
of the occupation of Japan after the war. He will be 86 on Friday.

For Show and Tell, I took my youngest grandson, Ryan with me. Ryan who is
15, is spending this week with us and is the son of my middle son Stephen,
and Victoria Virginia Inge. She is third first-cousin of Russell "Slick"
Inge. This gives Ryan one of the best Virginian Nation pedigrees one can
have! He has the "trains" gene and is becoming a pretty good treasure
hunter because his other grandfather is John Inge ("Slick's" first cousin)
who moved from Victoria to Bedford County to look for the Beale Treasure...

Passed around was the Trains Magazine "Norfolk Southern Heritage Power,
Show Ponies" special issue. This magazine, already a train lovers
"got-to-have", has photos, stats, and trivia on each of the 20 fallen flag
units, as well as an insider's guide to how NS pulled it off. High-lighted
are the engines that inspired it all, from the PRR Sharks to the Virginian
Trainmasters. I counted 11 photos of the VGN SD70 ACe #1069 in it. The
Brethren really enjoyed perusing it. Credit for the idea of painting 20
brand new NS locomotives in heritage colors was "hatched" in Roanoke, and
is credited to artist Andy Fletcher, who works for the Virginia Museum of
Transportation. I encourage all to purchase this one of these
once-in-a-lifetime rail magazines. Ryan said that the shot of all the units
posing around the turntable taken from the air in Spencer "looks like an
open box of Crayons". Also passed around was a photo I took yesterday at
the Virginian Station showing the tile roof about 95% complete. The yard
was empty except for one grain train. M of W forces are doing extensive
work in South Yard and the photo showed a rare "rusty" A2.

In a News Release this week, Norfolk Southern announced they have
"committed $50,000 in emergency funding to the American Red Cross in West
Virginia, for the June 29, 2012 Storm Recovery".

The Jewel from the Past is from my "M-Day" article in "The Arrow": "Russell
McDaniel, who retired as Manager Locomoive and Equipment for the N&W, was
Master Mechanic at Victoria at the merger. (On December 1, 1959) He said he
got a phone call and was told to 'clean out his office and throw out
everything Virginian'. There were about 225 employees in Victoria at that
time. Mrs. McDaniel gave me an article from the 'Richmond Times-Dispatch'
saying 'from 75 to 80 percent of the business generated in Victoria was
from rail people'. Some felt according to the 'Times-Dispatch' that the
governments involved did little to help the small towns like Victoria that
depended upon the Railway for employment. It quoted N&W Officials saying
the N&W had an Industrial Development Department and the Virginian did not.
The N&W Industrial Development Department promised to bring new business to
areas affected by the merger. Most of the Brethren fell that this was not
done for them, as it was when Conrail was acquired".

The Brethren especially like the following, sent out by Gordon Hamilton:
"What time is it?" In a control tower, an operator near Chicago hears a
train crew ask over the radio, "What time is it?" The operator, not knowing
what railroad's train crew asked the question, responds: If this is the
Norfolk Southern, then its 3:10 PM. If this is the Canadian National, it is
1510. If this is the CSX, the big hand is on the 2 and the little hand is
on the 3. If this is Amtrak, it is Tuesday...

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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