"Takin' Twenty" with the Virginian Brethren by Skip Salmon
NW Mailing List
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Thu Oct 20 08:31:26 EDT 2011
Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with ten of the
Brethren and Friends of the Virginian Railway. We signed two Happy
Birthday cards. One is for Dewey Houch, who started on the VGN in 1956
as a chain man on the VGN Surveyor Gang. Dewey took part in surveying
everything from mining sidings in WV, sounding depths from a rowboat in
the Sewell's Point Channel, to working major derailment investigations.
He retired from Norfolk Southern in 1990 as Assistant Manager Materials
with 34 years service. Dewey continues working to preserve the VGN in
various projects, including building a replica Station in Mullens, which
will be dedicated this Saturday. He will be 77 next Monday. The other
Birthday Card is for Jeff Sanders, retired NS brakeman who is President,
Roanoke Chapter NRHS. Jeff is a true Friend of the Virginian Railway and
collector of artifacts and preserver of VGN memories. He will turn 65
this Sunday. We also signed a card for VGN Yard Brakeman and Conductor
James Economy, who is recovering from heart bypass surgery. James, who
worked mostly hoot owl shifts, still gets up at 2 AM each night to "take
twenty" by having a snack, "even when I go on vacation".
Attending for the first time were Harold and Holly Castleman from
Eddystone, PA (home of Baldwin locomotives). Harold is an avid rail fan
and member of the Roanoke Chapter NRHS who married Holly in front of the
Class J #611 when it displayed in Wasena Park in Roanoke.
Eddie Mooneyham showed the Brethren a power point lap top display of
photos of the Roanoke Chapter Alco T-6 and two cabooses that were taken
to Appomattox for the Rail Festival October 8 and 9. We discussed plans
to attend Saturday's dedication of the Ellet-style Station that Dewey
Houch is building for Mullens to store, and display VGN artifacts.
Several of the Brethren plan to attend and to visit with members of the
Virginian Nation Gathering at the State Park nearby. We also talked
about the October 29, 2011 Reunion of VGN Brethren in Victoria.
Passed around for the Brethren to peruse were the Sept-Oct 2011 issue of
"Biz-NS" which highlights the 21st Century Steam Program of Norfolk
Southern and their Norfolk, VA Archives of fallen flag artifacts. Also
passed was the October 2011 "NRHS News".
The ebay report this time has some interesting sales of VGN items:
Original "screw back" VGN Safety First pin for $59.99; 3X5 B&W photo of
VGN EL-2b under a bridge for $16.49; Slide of EL-2b & EL-C at Shaffer's
Crossing in 1963 for $20.50; VGN Trust Plate for $76.00; Four loose VGN
match books for $48.01 and a 1911 VGN "monkey wrench" for $29.99.
The Jewel from the Past is from June 30, 2005: "'Ruf' Wingfield told a
story about Homer Duff, VGN Brakeman, who was afraid of any kind of
'critter'. Someone put a possum in his locker at South Yard. When Homer
opened the locker door and the possum 'hissed' at him, he went out the
back of the locker room through the screen door, without bothering to
We discussed a new Bayer "quick release aspirin" that is quickly
dissolved under the tongue, first aid for symptoms of a heart attack.
Also passed was the response from Steve Summers and Frank Bongiovanni
about the "VGN 1" reefer car. Consensus is that this was a non-revenue,
MOW non-roster car, perhaps used to haul ice and whatever else was
needed along the line.
Then there's this: Several hunters were loaded into one of their 4X4
pickups at camp, to get to a remote mountain location to hunt. After
harvesting several white tail deer, they started back to camp. The
temperature gauge in the 4X4 proceeded to move into the dangerous "red
zone" and steam vapor was seen rising in the front of the truck. After a
discussion about what to do, stranded several miles from a road or
stream, they mulled it over and settled on urinating into the truck's
depleted radiator. After arriving back at camp, the owner of the truck
called his mechanic about what to do next. He responded "I'd flush the
Time to pull the pin on this one!
Departing Now from V248,
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