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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Jun 12 12:15:42 EDT 2014

The CN locomotive is a FPA, B-B - four axles, four motors.  NKP 190  was 
indeed the only PA (A1A-A1A, six axles, four motors) at Spencer.
Dave Phelps
In a message dated 6/12/2014 8:27:12 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,  
nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org writes:

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with nine of the  Brethren 
and Friends of the Virginian Railway. Attending for the first time  was 
Billy Palmer, neighbor of VGN Clerk Wis Sowder and retired from Norfolk  
Southern Signal and Communications Department.  He fit right in telling  stories 
of the "old days". 

I have two corrections from last week's report:  Mr. Moorman's  comment 
about wanting "his train back" from St. Louis, referring to the  N&W Y6a #2156, 
was made at the 2007 NRHS National Convention in  Chattanooga. Secondly 
Keith reminded me that there was another Alco PA at the  Spencer stream liner 
event and it was the Canadian National  #6789. 

We talked a lot about the upcoming N&W (and VGN) Historical  Society 
Convention, the last week end of this month.  Several of the  Brethren are looking 
forward to the 80 or so who are scheduled to attend a  tour of our Station 
on Saturday morning  and meeting you all.  Looks like we will have to split 
the tour and send  40 to the Roanoke Chapter NRHS 9th Street Facility, and 
40 to the Station and  then reverse course to cover both locations.  This 
means the Brethren  will be at the Station all of the morning.  Included in the 
tour of the  Station will be a display of artifacts and a DVD interview of 
Rufus Wingfield,  former VGN Yardmaster at South Yard, made in 2009 just 
before he took his last  west bound. 

For Show and Tell, I took a photo sent to me by Friend of the  Virginian 
Steve Smith.  He shot it 6-5-14 from NS-36 test train Research  Car inspecting 
A-1 track while passing the VGN  station in Roanoke.  Steve said he wanted 
us to see a"another passenger train visiting the  Station in 2014".  This 
photo will be on display at the Station during  the Convention. 

The Jewel from the Past is from December 6, 2007:  "When we got Slick  back 
to the Harmon's home in Princeton, there was again some rail talk.  Landon 
told about using green and white flags during the day and a  special lantern 
with a green/clear globe at night to flag the VGN passenger  trains.  Green 
and White was used so the engineer would know it was a  'flag stop' versus 
an 'emergency stop'.  Slick and George (Harmon) talked  about a VGN 
Princeton Conductor, Zeb Fortner, who was famous for his poetry.  Slick said once he 
and Berkley Mills came upon Zeb at the Steel Drug  Store in Mullens, and 
Mr. Mills addressed Zeb 'Hello Shakespeare'. Landon,  Slick and George said 
they had seen the following example of Fortner poetry  inside several VGN 
phone boxes:  'Zeb Fortner, Master of his train; His  head in the phone box and 
his ass in the rain'". 

Then there's this:  Two sisters, one blond and one brunette, inherit  the 
family ranch.  Unfortunately, after just a few years, they are in  financial 
trouble.  In order to keep the bank from repossessing the  ranch, they need 
to purchase a bull so they can breed their own stock.  Upon leaving, the 
brunette tells her sister, When I get there, if I decide to buy the bull,  I'll 
contact you to drive out after me and haul it home.'  The brunette  arrives 
at the man's ranch, inspects the bull and decides she wants to buy it.  The 
man tells her that he will sell it for $599, no less.  After  paying him, 
she drives to the nearest town to send her sister a telegram.  She walks into 
the telegraph office and says, 'I want to send a telegram  to my sister 
telling her that I've bought a bull for our ranch.  The  operator explains that 
he'll be glad to help her and it would cost 99 cents a  word.  The brunette 
then realizes she'll only be able to send her sister  one word.  After a 
few minutes of thinking, she nods and says, 'I want  you to send her the word 
'comfortable.' The operator shakes his head 'How is  she ever going to know 
that you want her to hitch the trailer to your pickup  truck and drive out 
here to haul that bull back to your ranch if you send her  just the word 
'comfortable?'  The brunette explains, 'My sister's blond.  The word is BIG. 
She'll read it very  slowly...'com-for-da-bul.' 

Time to pull the pin on this  one! 

Departing Now from V248, 

Skip Salmon 


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