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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Jul 1 08:01:07 EDT 2010

Last night, the mid-point in this year of our Lord 2010, I had the
pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with 9 of the Brethren and Friends of the
Virginian Railway. I passed on to them the news that Eddie Mooneyham
called me earlier in the day about Norfolk Southern's news release,
relating to their allowing "steam to ride the Norfolk Southern rails
again". I showed the Brethren the NS news release including photos of
the SOU #4501, SOU #630 and the Tennessee Valley Railroad #610. Most
conceded to someone's remark that " a rising tide raises all ships"
indicating that this could be the start of something even bigger...
could possibly lead to other steam engines being used... like the N&W J

Landon Gregory came in well equipped for "Show and Tell". Recently at
the K&W Restaurant, he was wearing his newly acquired "Friends of the
Virginian Railway" cap that I had just sold him, when a man approached
and asked if he worked for the VGN. Turns out that this fellow, Myron C.
White, Jr. worked at the Union Station Office of the VGN in Norfolk, in
the Freight Traffic Department in 1948. He was transferred to the N&W
General Office in Roanoke after the merger. Landon, on Monday this week,
when we both attended our monthly meeting of the Sons of Confederate
Veterans, asked if I had any more of the hats to sell. He purchased one
and took it to Mr. White at his home. This lead to Mr. White's donating
four items to our VGN Station Project for future display at the Station.
The items shown to the Brethren last night were: A framed copy of C. D.
Poage's 1930 "The Depot" that Landon said reminded him of the N&W Depot
at Blue Ridge, VA; A Norfolk Union Station (in the background) framed
Casey Hitzinger painting with VGN, N&W and Norfolk Portsmouth Belt Line
steam engines in the foreground; A framed Lima Builder's Photo of the
VGN Blue Ridge Class #900 and a framed Virginian Railway 1955 bowling
league orange, blue and white patch. More on this patch next week. Mr.
White also made a contribution to the Station Restoration Fund.

The Jewel from the Past, like one in Harry Bundy's Hamilton 992B is from
October 28, 2004: "Tom 'Cornbread' Victory said that the Roanoke Railway
and Electric (street cars) had their motor barn under the Walnut Street
Bridge. Their light rail tracks crossed the N&W and the VGN. He
remembered that once a VGN passenger train that was backing up, to line
up with the station, actually struck one of the street cars. He said
that 'no one was hurt but there was some hurt feelings'. The street cars
were treated like autos crossing the tracks, in that they had to yield
to the trains and 'look out for moving equipment'".

Raymond East shared with us a news article from the Fredericksburg, VA
"The Free Lance-Star": "Troop trains may connect A. P. Hill, Fort Lee;
Army believes rail can be used to transport 800-1000 soldiers as
alternate to I-95". The article said that the train would run an
estimated 37 to 40 weeks in a year. Currently several dozen buses are
being used to transport the soldiers from south of Petersburg at
Milford, VA to Fort A. P Hill at Caroline, VA. Amtrak, Virginia Railway
Express and the Virginian Department of Rail and Public Transportation
are now working on this. If this works, the army "may expand the use of
trains elsewhere".

I showed the Brethren a photo of one of the "lost engines of Roanoke",
the #917 which was the first one that was "rescued" near the old City
Mills and ended up in the "Buckeye Express Diner" in Bellville, Ohio,
exit 165 off I71. The photo shows her on display at the Restaurant with
a "pitiful" example of tender. One of the Brethren described it as a
"little wagon that a boy would pull behind him". I checked out this
restaurant's menu. For $12.95 you can get a one pound of beef burger,
with 4 slices of bacon, 4 cheese slices and trimmings called a
"LocoBuckeye Pounder".

I asked Rufus Wingfield about trainmen and their watches. He said that
when the train crews checked in at the Yard Office, they calibrated
their watches with the clock in the office.(This clock is now on display
at the N&W & VGN Historical Society Archives). Each road conductor had
to sign the Register Book and verify that he had calibrated his watch
with the office clock. When I talked to Harry Bundy about using his
watch in the "Jewel from the Past" segment, he responded with the
following: "No doubt you've seen pictures where the engineer and
conductor are comparing time shown on the watch. By recollection,
railroad watches are to vary no more than 20 seconds. When I was working
on the old Norfolk Southern at Marsden (now Chocowinity), there was a
head-end crew that arrived from Raleigh. The engineer's watch was at the
jewelers for repair. The fireman had hocked his. The brakeman was making
use of his wife's wrist watch..."

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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