"Taking Twenty with the Virginian Brethren"

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Oct 9 07:58:04 EDT 2008

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with 14 of the
Brethren and Friends of the Virginian Railway. We had four new faces
join us. Billy Daniel, whose Dad was a carpeck on the VGN and whose
Grandfather was a VGN Superintendent, brought his seven year old
grandson Keegan. Ed Cake, rail fan, train photographer, and member of
the Roanoke Chapter NRHS who has been working with us to prepare the
Virginian Railway Room at the VMT, also attended. Dropping by
were Don Whitlock, who worked with the Brethren after the merger at
South Yard and Joe Pace, retired Railroad Retirement Board official
who handled VGN, N&W and SOU out of Roanoke. Joe pointed out a
daughter of a VGN engineer who was in the Restaurant, and Ruf and
Cornbread left our area and talked to her.

We talked about our upcoming "road trip" on the 25th of this
month to Victoria to be with the VGN Brethren there at their annual
gathering. Passed around was a Tom Granville photo taken the fourth
of this month showing NS-955, Norfolk Southern Executive Train,
crossing a bridge in Pittsburgh. The power on this train is the ABBA
set of FT style EMD units that are now famous in train circles all
over the world. It's a shame that Mr. Mooreman couldn't have an EL-2B
pull that train!

At a recent luncheon for volunteers at Roanoke's Hurt Park
Elementary School, I met Gene Craft, son of VGN engineer Claud
Craft. I asked the Brethren about Claud and they knew him well. Ruf
said that he remembered that he and B. A. "Ballast Spreader"
Musgrove, VGN conductor, had a realtor business on the side. Bob
Rowland remembered Claud as being "tight as a drum but a good poker
player". This school is making "Railroading" a theme for their
activities and I provided a lot of Virginian and N&W items for center
pieces for the luncheon. I also took my locomotive bell (EMD) and
stand and when the principal rang it, to start the event, it made
quite an impression on the guests. Several of the Roanoke Rail
Groups are helping in this project.

Rufus Wingfield brought a July, 1960 N&W Magazine to show and
tell. This issue highlights the new connections of VGN-N&W at
Kellysville and Vinton (Tinker Creek Connection). The item that
caused the most talk was about Cornbread's rooster. Seems that his
daughter got an "Easter Chick", as a lot of kids did back then, and
when it grew it, it turned out to be a pretty mean rooster.
Cornbread decided to take the rooster, which the girl had named "Tom"
after him, to work. "Tom" liked trains and the men at South Yard
and "Tom sort of adopted everybody". Ruf and Raymond East said that
the rooster "would eat anything a person would". He became a mascot
of the VGN workers but for some reason did not like trainmaster Otis
Karnes. Several remembered "Tom" chasing the yardmaster with wings
flapping. Raymond East said that if you picked up "Tom" and then
dropped him back to the ground, he would crow. Using
this "training", yard crews taught "Tom" to crow on command. The
magazine states "The fowl's training in railway activities began last
fall when he became too lively in the home of brakeman Thomas
Victory. Mr. Victory turned the rooster loose in the Yard and this
hardy leghorn spends his days and nights there, except when he drops
by Section Man Penn Faulkner's house nearby to get a bird's-eye view
of television". "Tom" spend his "golden years" on VGN yard brakeman
Jim Jenning's farm. I have posted a photo of "Tom" blowing for a
crossing with Yardmaster C. E. Lovern on this site under "Skip's
Photos". You can also click on "New photo" on the home page.

Cornbread said that at a recent check-up, his doctor told him
that he had entered the snapdragon stage of his life. "Part of me
has snapped and the rest of me is draggin'".

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now at VGN 248,

Skip Salmon

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