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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Mar 11 08:10:23 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 Roanoke.

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

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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