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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Mar 11 08:57:28 EST 2010

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with 13 of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway. Attending for the first time was
Monty Looney, retired from N&W/NS Accounts Receivable, who worked with our
Ronnie Victory, son of Cornbread Victory. He told us that Ronnie was known
as "Goucher" in the General Office Building, which was a surprise to us. Of
course the Brethren had fun trying to figure out why...

I passed around Casey Thomason's photo from railpictures.net of the 3 NS
C40-9Ws, units 9874, 9632 and 9522, involved in the January 12, 2010
trestle fire in Alabama. In this event, the engineer did not survive, but
two other crew members jumped into the stream below and were rescued. To
see the photo go to:

Also passed was a group of photos sent to me by John Snidow, showing over
300 GM vehicles damaged on the CP in their Oshawa Rail Yard when two loaded
tri-levels "got loose" and rolled through the stop blocks and into the new
truck parking lot. This prompted one of the Brethren to recall when
"Cornbread" Victory let two loaded coal hoppers "get loose" and they rolled
"softly" into the side of a VGN passenger train sitting in the station in

Also shown was my latest ebay purchase, a Norfolk Southern Police yellow,
black and white badge patch with "Railroads" on it, with a silver star near
the bottom.

For "show and tell", I spread out on a table the contents of one of the MRE
(Meals Ready to Eat) dinners currently issued by our military, and being
used as emergency food in places like Haiti, during earthquake rescue. This
meal was a surprise to most of the Brethren who served in WWII and Korea,
and were issued C-Rations. This meal had beef ravioli, beef snacks (jerky),
chocolate pop tart, cookies, crackers, cheese spread, coffee, lemon-lime
drink, hot sauce (tiny glass bottle), spoon, salt, pepper, artificial
creamer, toilet paper, chewing gum, towelette, long handled spoon, matches
as well as a Electrolyte Flameless heater that uses about 1/3 cup of water
to heat up the meat or beverage. (No cigarettes are included now.) Ruf
Wingfield and Wis Sowder remembered the little cans of fruit cocktail that
they used a "P-38" can opener to open. Ruf said that the meat in the cans
had about an inch of fat on top and the crackers "were like bricks" in the
C-Rations. This display drew a crowd and also displayed was the list of
menus for the 24 different meals available in this series of MREs. Scotty
Scott ordered a #16 "Chicken Fajita"
from this menu when our waitress, Princess, took our orders...

The ebay report this times includes "Virginian Railway Handbook" for
$35.51; Photo of VGN MOW car ("Dixie"?) for $12.55; VGN check of 8/27/14
for $10.05; Slide of VGN 2-8-2 #430 for $11.49; 8X10 photo of Pacific #213
under the wire in Roanoke for $11.49; and a 1957 VGN Annual Report for $18.51.

The jewel from the past is like one in Jim Blackstock's Hamilton 992B, 21
jewel watch given to him by his Dad, Peter Blackstock, N&W Norfolk Division
passenger conductor on trains 3 and 4 is from June 17, 2004: "Jimmy
Whittaker, VGN call boy, told of once being pressed into road service. It
was a Christmas Eve and all of the available crews were called. Am empty
coal hopper train still needed a fireman. A call went out for volunteers,
and Jimmy was made a fireman on a westbound, Roanoke to Mullens, pulled by
a EL-2B set".

Billy Daniel brought for "show and tell" a recent purchase of his. His Dad,
who was a carpeck on the VGN, had a Hamilton 992B "Railway Special" and
Bill always wanted one like it. Recently he found one in a local jewelry
store and purchased it. Landon got his book to see when it was made (by
looking up serial number). When the back was removed from the "like new"
gold gem, no one could make out the tiny serial numbers. Bill's
granddaughter Kinsey, who had a ballet lesson later last night, and had
just show us how she could dance on her toes, immediately read out the
numbers "0425542". This of course led us to a discussion on how old all of
us were getting. Someone told Ruf "you are so old that I bet you list your
zone improvement plan code on return addresses in Roman Numerals..."

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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