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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Jul 14 09:25:41 EDT 2011

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with ten of the
Brethren and Friends of the Virginian Railway. We signed a Happy
Birthday card for Harry Bundy. Harry was an operator for the original
Norfolk Southern Railway at Tidewater Junction and a personal friend of
H. Reid. He and H traveled the VGN together and Harry assisted him with
photographs and finding stories for his famous book. Harry retired from
the new NS and "Takes Twenty" with us when he can make it through during
the "Orange Avenue 500".

Attending for the first time was Jerry Christly, son of Pete Christly,
VGN car knocker. Wis Sowder remembered hearing Pete tell of one night on
the hoot owl, finding an open door on a box car in the VGN Yard in
Roanoke. Raisens were falling out the door. During the night, the yard
crews would "frequent" this car for a quick snack. Only when the sun
came up did they discover all the worms in the raisens.

The Jewel from the Past is from May 23, 2005: "We talked about Harry
Bundy's news clipping from 'The Portsmouth Star' giving an account of a
wreck at Algreen in what was then called Norfolk County, VA. A westbound
VGN freight ran into a Portsmouth bound Seaboard Airline freight. It
happened June 17, 1947, when engineer S. H. Kirby, of Victoria, failed
to stop in time. Landon Gregory and others discussed train wrecks in
general, and it was concluded that almost always, the dispatcher or
operator, was blamed for some part of the cause of the wreck, because
their account of what happened was out numbered by the crew's, five to one".

Passed around for the Brethren to peruse was a 1963 post merger
Constitution for Brotherhood of Locomotive Firemen and Engineers given
to me by Tom Marshall at last week's N&W (and VGN) Historical Society
Archives work session. I told the Brethren about several other things
found at that work session: Looking for information on VGN flat cars, I
found some interesting facts about the construction of the Station in
Roanoke. The Roanoke Passenger Station was outfitted with 19 cuspidors
in the waiting rooms but only three in the Baggage and Express side (not
much chawing allowed) and 8 "umbrella" shade trees and 2 maple shade
trees (16 feet tall and 5" at the trunk) were planted.

>From last week's report about the extra blue flag holder on FM
Trainmasters and EL-C electrics, I got feedback from several stating
they could not see them in VGN photos. I looked at the data base and
searched photos at the Archives and discovered that the extra flag
holders for blue flags were mounted on the pilot on the engineer side on
both ends and NOT on the top of the carbody where the others are.

Passed around was a great Travis Dewitz photo showing a deer looking at
the camera on a main line while the headlights of an approaching train
is approaching. To see this photo go to:

The ebay report this time includes the sale of a VGN tall globe only
etched "VGN Ry" for $87.00; Slide of 4-6-2 #212 for $24.59; Slide of
EL-2b at Merrimac for $36.00, and a 1935 VGN Stock Certificate for $29.00.

I told the Brethren about getting a letter from VDOT announcing that the
Virginian Station Project in Roanoke has been awarded another $249,000
from the Enhancement Program. Bids will be opened next Thursday for
environmental work to remove asbestos and lead paint which will open the
gate for construction bidding.

Then there's this: A Missouri farmer in his pickup drove to a neighbor's
and knocked at the door. A boy about 9, open the door; "Is your Dad
home?" No sir, he isn't; he went to town". "Well, is your Mother here?"
"No sir, she went to town with Dad". "How about your brother, Howard? Is
he here?" "No sir, He went with Mom and Dad". The rancher stood there
for a few minutes, shifting from one foot to the other and mumbling to
himself. "Is there anything I can do for you? I know where all the tools
are, if you want to borrow one, or I can give Dad a message". Well, said
the rancher, uncomfortably, "I really wanted to talk to your Dad. It's
about your brother Howard getting my daughter, Suzie, pregnant". The boy
thought for a moment. "You would have to talk to Dad about that. I know
he charges $500 for the bull and $50 for the boar hog, but I don't know
how much he charges for Howard." ;

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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