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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Nov 10 08:16:43 EST 2016

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with eight of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway. Most of the early talk was about the
results of the Tuesday election.  Several express dismay the Bill Clinton
would not be able to fill the role of "first lady".

 Greely Wyatt talked about starting on the VGN RWY as a "Call Boy" while
waiting for his Electrician Apprentice job.  He remembered being given a
list of crews and phone numbers to contact them an hour before each run.
"I had never used a phone before and it was quite a task", he said.  If
they had no phone, he had to take a register book to their home, notify
them of the specific run and have them sign the book, "even in the rain and

 Wis Sowder remembered looking on the weigh bills of each merchandise train
as it arrived to see if there was fruit or something requiring ice. As a
Clerk he had to contact a man in Covington, VA to bring the ice. Raymond
East told of pigs being off-loaded west of the Yard Office in Roanoke for
water and feed.

 For Show and Tell I took the December "Trains" magazine.  Page 12 has a
photo of an N&W double header pulling a coal train over the Blue Ridge
grade.  This train also had a pusher.  This prompted the Brethren to
discuss how the VGN coal did not require double headers all the time and
certainally no pushers for the river grade.  Greely Wyatt said at Elmore
where he worked (out of Mullens,) all coal had to have pushers to get over
Clarks Gap grade.  He said if the power went off for the electric engines,
sometimes it was hard (with no radios at the time) to get it started
again.  "The pusher would give it all she had and the head end would
throttle up when he felt the 'slight' movement".

 The Jewel from the Past is from June 11, 2009:  "One of the Brethren
brought up the recent incident in the news of a woman being "Tazered" by a
Texas police officer after a traffic stop.  All agreed, after discussion
that the police officer was within his authority. Ruf Wingfield said that
on many occasions on the Roanoke City Market area, he observed a "beat cop"
using his night stick on an intoxicated individual and 'beating him
bloody'.  This is when I was reminded of an old saying "God gave us two
ears but only one mouth"...should we listen twice as much as we speak?"

 I reminded the Brethren about the Open House this Saturday from 11 AM to 4
PM at the restored Roanoke VGN passenger station in Roanoke.  Come see us
if you can.

 Then there's this from one  of our readers who voted democrat:  When
President-elect Donald John Trump moves into the White House, it will mean
that a billionaire is moving into public housing vacated by African

 Time to pull the pin on this one!

 Departing Now from V248,

 Skip Salmon

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