"Taking Twenty" with the Virginian Brethren

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Nov 19 08:31:33 EST 2009

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with eleven of the
Brethren and Friends of the Virginian Railway. Attending for the first time
were Lewis Green and his son David Green. Lewis began his rail career in
1951 with the Virginian Railway Bridge Gang. He recalled helping construct
the large diesel fuel storage tank in Roanoke for the brand new
Fairbanks-Morse Trainmasters. He remembered taking down the old water
towers along the line. Lewis said that "we would take them apart, put large
sections on pole flats and take them to a good spot and throw the redwood
sections over the bank". After two years in the military, Lewis returned
and hired on the "W" side in engine service and worked his way up to
engineer. He retired in 1989 with 37 and 1/2 years service from NS. His son
David is an NS engineer ,who now works out of Brookneal in pusher service
on the Durham line.

Landon Gregory brought a special display of the news article about our
excursions to Bluefield and Shenandoah. His daughter works at "The Roanoke
Times". The front page spread showed Landon boarding passengers on his car
#8. I showed the Brethren a photo of four young boys and their Mom that I
took at the Bluefield Railfest last Saturday. They each had a T-Shirt with
"Thing-1 through Thing-4" on them. Also passed was an email about a "busy
day (11-5-09) on the NS from our good friend Steve Smith, Engineering
Technician on the Track Geometry Car. The first incident concerned a nude
blood covered fellow claiming to be Jesus Christ who had just jumped from a
train. He was traced back to trains near Toledo. The second was about a
trespasser on NS train 287 near Columbus Ohio. The trespasser had
previously robbed a bank and crossed NS property before being struck on the
CSX and killed. The FBI is on the scene recovering money that was scattered
across both right of ways...

At the Bluefield Railfest train show last Saturday I met Virginian carman
Ryan Lawrence who hired on in Princeton in 1948 and retired from NS in 1992.

From last week and the "Straight A's and Slanted Sixes" discussion. Bud
Jefferies, distinguished author of books on Steam Locomotives, corrected my
description of the "Slanted Sixes" exhaust. The exhaust was actually
slanted toward the FRONT of the N&W Y-6's.

I showed a slide that I recently purchased on ebay of a Fairbanks- Morse
Trainmaster with a cut of coal cars under the wires, apparently in Roanoke.
The Brethren identified the location as east of "AG" and the Wasena Bridge
in Roanoke.

Our good friend Bill Honeycutt gave away nice NS logo and spike pins at our
monthly Retired NS Mechanical Department breakfast last Friday at the
Roanoker Restaurant. Naturally, I thought of the Virginian Brethren and
asked if he had extra. He was gracious enough to share with us and I was
able to pass out pins to the Brethren last night.

We talked about the robbery that occurred sometime last weekend at the
Roanoke Chapter NRHS 9th Street Siding, probably during the excursion
trips. A brass bell was stolen from the Chapter's GP30. If someone
approaches any of you VGN fans with a 12" locomotive bell marked "C&O"
please get as much information about this person as possible and contact me
or your local police.

Rufus Wingfield wore a very special cap to the meeting last night. He
bought it sometime in the 1950s from Jack Frank, conductor on the VGN New
River Division. It is black with a yellow screen printed VGN logo and now
supports several nice pins also. Ruf promised that one day it will be on
display in our Roanoke Station. Ruf and Scotty were discussing with our
guest Lewis Green about the differences of working on the railroad and
being retired from it. Scotty said "now that he is retired, he has no paid
vacation and can't mark off sick".

Landon and I were discussing the Roanoke Chapter NRHS meeting tonight. Our
president Jeff Sanders has announced that instead of a program we are going
to "debrief" everyone about our recent excursion trains. I asked Ruf what
he thought of the debriefing and he replied "I just changed my shorts this

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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