"Takin Twenty" with the Virginian Brethren by Skip Salmon

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Dec 17 08:13:04 EST 2015

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with six of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway. Attending for the first time with us
from Philadelphia, was Harold Castleman.  Harold is a friend of one of the
best friends of the VGN, Abe Burnett.  Harold, a native Roanoker, is in
town for the annual Christmas meeting of the Roanoke Chapter NRHS.  He
shared his knowledge with the Brethren of his rail expertise.

For Show and Tell I took several items.  One was a Casey Thompson photo
from railpictures.net of the NS 4000 GEAC44C6M  DC to AC prototype diesel
loco.  It was originally GE built in 1995 as a dash 9 40-C #8799. The
conversion is to AC traction motors and wide cab.  The photo shows the new
blue, yellow and off gray paint scheme that looks somewhat "familiar" to
the D&H colors in the latest Biz-NS fall 2015 that I also took. The Biz-NS
features the Delaware and Hudson Railway South Deal (Doing it like Sinatra)
 featuring NS's purchase of the D&H Railway Co.'s, subsidiary of Canadian
Pacific's, south line of 282 miles, south from Albany NY toward Harrisburg
PA. Also featured is an article about the Mechanical Department inventory
of locomotive and car parts that are now centralized.  Locomotive parts are
in Roanoke and Altoona and Car parts in Dayton, OH.

I told the Brethren about our meeting Tuesday of the Virginian Station
Restoration Committee.  One of the items decided is the color scheme to be
used.  Ken Miller is heading up this study and we agreed upon using the
colors as shown in original station drawings of station yellow (some say
it's orange) and white.  To see what the orange or yellow is, go to page 10
of the winter 2015 "Classic Trains" and see the photo of Ohio River
flooding at Lousiville in March 1964 at the Kentucky Railroad Museum,
showing the original VGN RWY business car "Dixie" painted in the

I also showed the Brethren our good friend Kent Brinkley of Williamsburg,
VA photo of his bell that could have been used as a back up alarm on VGN
cabooses.  The Brethren did not recall seeing the bell in action, but did
not disavow the possibility of it's use.

The Jewel from the Past like those in a Hampden 21 jewel double sink dial,
size 18, with safety pinion, oresilver case, "Gulf System Special" is from
November 27, 2008:  "A lot of discussiion broke out when I read Gordon
Hamilton's email of an article from the "Bluefield Daily Telegraph" of
October 30, 1908.  It stated 'a railroad line is being surveyed between
Roanoke and Floyd Court House, VA, which will be used as a feeder for the
Virginian Railway'.  Most of the Brethren just laughed because US 221 that
goes by Country Cookin' where we take twenty, is a direct line to Floyd
Court House, and is one of the steepest, crookedest roads in Southwest
Virginia."  Note:  With the help of the Roanoke Chapter NRHS, Percy Wilkins
and Peter Lewis, the Applewood Farm Camp in Check, VA in Floyd County now
has track and rolling stock......first rail in the county!

Then there's this:  Cyrus H. Jenks was a Division Superintendent for the
Great Northern Railroad at Crookston, MN in the early days.  Enroute to St.
Cloud one day he received a message to the effect that a locomotive tender
had fallen into the turntable pit at the Crookston roundhouse, and that a
hand derrick was being used to extricate it.  A few miles down the line he
received another message: "Hand derrick now in pit. Shall we send for steam
derrick from Melrose?"  At that, the pressure in the Jenks boiler rose to
the danger point.  He wired his Roundhouse Foreman: "Leave steam derrick
where it is.  No more room in pit."

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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