Virginian Crazies 2019 edition

NW Modeling List nw-modeling-list at
Sat Oct 19 22:51:18 EDT 2019

We just had another successful Virginian Crazies weekend in Mullens (Twin
Falls).  As usual the lodge was very accommodating.  We had about 15
attendees; we had some new faces, and some regulars were unable to make it
this year.  We went to Polk Gap tunnel (I think I got that right), and
visited Tom Marshall’s grave in Matheny.  Family plot: he’s buried with his

Friday evening was the usual business meeting (less than 30 minutes)where
we had some photos, books, and kits for exchange (thank you again Bob
Liljestrand/Bob’s Photos; more Virginian photos every year).  We also
showed the group the plaque we had made for the Virginian Crazies, with
names for our deceased members*, with, sadly, room for more in the future.  We
have been going on for approximately 13 years now, and we have six names on
the plaque already.  The plaque was turned over to the local guys for a
decision as to where to hang it.

As promised, we also discussed time and place for next year.  It is not
settled, meaning we are open to suggestions, comments, complaints,
concerns, but so far it’s looking like we will be back at Twin Falls, again
the second weekend in October of 2020.  I’m sure you all understand that
any weekend is bad or impossible for someone.

Also everyone was invited to attend the Norfolk & Western/Virginian Railway
Historical Society convention in Cleveland next June.  There was some
concern because it was put out that the convention next year will be
emphasizing the post 1964 N&W; it was made clear that the Virginian
Interest Group will have it’s annual meeting at that convention.

This seems like a good time/excuse to put out some clarification.  There
are three Virginian Railway “groups”.  There is this Yahoo group, which at
last count has over 1000 members, and is one of the more active and long
lived of the single railroad Yahoo groups.  The group was started, as far
as I know, by Mark Fisher about 15 years ago.  As noted, it will be
migrated to groups io in the near future…we hope.

There is the Virginian Interest Group, which is a bunch that meets at every
NWHS convention.  The group consists of whoever comes to the convention
that is interested in attending the meeting.  We have updates on upcoming
or at least proposed Virginian models, and a vigorous exchange of
information and presentations.  When Rick Stone started the new NWHS in
1984 he promised to “take care of” the Virginian; NWHS has made good on
that promise.

Finally there is the Virginian Crazies.  That’s the group of us that meet
every Fall, and it sort of coalesced around the celebration of the 100th
anniversary of the railroad coming to Mullens.

We’re doing well, I would say, for those of us who follow/model a railroad
that has been gone for a longer period than it existed.

*The six deceased whose names are on the plaque:

Mark Fisher: the founder of the Yahoo Virginian Group.  Because he was
taking care of an elderly mother, he made it to one meeting after she
passed, and he died before the next year’s meeting.  One heck of a nice guy.

Jack Feller: one of the predominant historians of Mullens, who wrote a
5(?)volume history of Mullens, and willingly provided a lot of information
to us who came from out of town.

Sarge McGhee: WWII Marine.  Had worked for the railroad.  Best known to us
as the man who is responsible for all the railroad murals around the city.

Lloyd Lewis:  retired from the railroad industry.  He wrote or edited
approximately four books on the Virginian.  When he was able to make it to
Crazies he was simply priceless as a tour guide and walking historian.

David Helmer: also retired from the railroad industry.  Was involved with
VMT and may have been helpful in getting the ELC there.  Broadened our
horizons one year by presenting a seminar on the railroads of……Vietnam.

Tom Marshall.  Noted Virginian historian.  Great friend and tour guide.  Until
his death essentially hosted the Virginian Crazies weekends in cooperation
with the lodge.  Incredible source of information, including stacks of
photos, paperwork, and information from his father who had worked on the

Frank Bongiovanni
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