Takin' Twenty with the Virginian Brethren by Skip Salmon

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Oct 31 08:14:15 EDT 2013

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with eight of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway. We signed Happy Birthday cards for
Landon Gregory and Felix Price, who both have birthdays this coming
Sunday. Landon started on the Virginian as an Operator at Abilene, VA and
retired from Norfolk Southern in 1993 as Chief Dispatcher, Virginia
Division. Felix served as a Power Director for the Virginian at Narrows
and retired from Norfolk Southern in Roanoke Shops-Electric in 1985.
Landon will be 77 and Felix will be 88.

Landon gave the Brethren a report on Saturday's trip to the Virginian
Employee Reunion in Victoria. He said "the restaurant was full, about
forty or fifty attended." The big talk was about Sidney Locke's upcoming
auction of his collection of VGN RWY memorabilia next month.

I told the Brethren about my brother Mike discovering an abandoned
porta-john on his property in Craig County, VA. Being one with a MacGyver
complex, he gutted the thing and made an excellent hunting blind out of it
complete with shooting portals, shelves, and a heater. I suggested he call
it a "Deere John"...

Thanks to the Board of the N&W (and VGN) Historical Society who voted to
donate the Virginian Railway Roanoke Yard Office clock that was given to
the Society, to the Virginian Station Restoration Project in Roanoke. The
Brethren recalled seeing this very pendulum beauty while working out of the
Yard office and seeing crews "simonizing" their watches by it. This clock
will be the center piece of a display at the Station.

Landon brought a 9/17/1926 VGN RWY flyer for an excursion train that ran
from Princeton to Norfolk and Ocean View. The three day excursion cost
$6.00 from Princeton and $4.25 from Roanoke, round trip. "Riders can not
secure Pullman service and no baggage will be checked". We wondered about
the luggage and accommodations in Norfolk.

I asked the Brethren if anything unusual ever happened on the VGN on
Halloween night. Glen McLean remembered several rails being greased in the
Yard and Landon recalled a lot of corn stalks being reported hit on the
main line on the Norfolk Division. Wonder if anything happened on the New
River Division???

Most of the Brethren follow baseball and are rooting for the now World
Champion Boston Red Sox. It was Boston who sponsored the Roanoke Red Sox
who played at Maher Field, just up the street from the Virginian Railway
complex in Roanoke in the 1950s. Also Boston's top high A league farm team
is now in nearby Salem, VA. Boston third baseman Xander Bogaerts is one of
the surprises of the World Series and was at third base last night when
Boston won their fourth and deciding game. Last year Xander batted .302,
hit 27 doubles and 15 home runs for the Salem Red Sox, before being called
up to Boston. This brings me to this: Researchers for the Massachusetts
Turnpike Authority found over 200 dead crows near greater Boston recently,
and there was concern that they may have died from Avion Flu. A Bird
Pathologist examined the remains and to everyone's relief confirmed the
problem was definitely NOT Avian Flu. The cause of death appeared to be
vehicular impacts. However, during the detailed analysis, it was noted
that varying colors appeared on the bird's beaks and claws. By analyzing
these paint residues, it was determined that 98% of the crows had been
killed by impact with trucks, while only 2% were killed by an impact with a
car. MTA then hired an Ornithological Behaviorist to determine if there
was cause for the disproportionate percentage of truck kills versus car.
The Ornithological Behaviorist very quickly concluded the cause: When
crows eat road kill, they always have a look-out crow in a nearby tree to
warn of impending danger. They discovered that while all the crows could
shout "Cah", not a single one could shout "Truck".

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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