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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Mar 1 08:07:17 EST 2012

Last night, on 2012 leap day (1,461 days since the last one), I had the
pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with ten of the Brethren and Friends of the
Virginian Railway. We were greeted with many changes in the Country
Cookin' section, where we have gathered for over eight years. As it is
with most older people, the Brethren don't take to change well. Where
the old booths were, are now high tables and high chairs. One of the
Brethren said "I haven't been in a high chair for over 75 years".
However, the owners saved us three tables so we still have the same
set-up we've had. Former VGN Master Mechanic Russell R. McDaniel brought
his grandson Russell with him.

We talked about the groundbreaking for the Virginian Station next
Wednesday at 11 AM. Several of the Brethren are going to "wield" shovels
for the groundbreaking ceremony staged for the media and a press
release, announcing the start-up of Phase I of the Restoration. I passed
on to the Brethren, and to you if you can attend, that the only parking
for the event will be behind the Quality Tire Outlet under Walnut Ave
Bridge at 1255 Williamson Road. The work is progressing on removing
windows, doors, moldings, and other items that will be re-conditioned
and re-used, as well as continuation of abatement work. We are making
arrangements to attempt to save some of the terra-coda roof tiles that
we hope to make available, as souvenirs, from the original Freight Depot

The Jewel from the Past is from December 1, 2005: "To Larry Roach, who
asked about snowstorms and working Thanksgiving and Christmas. Most
remembered several snowstorms, and all recalled working on holidays.
'Ruf' Wingfield said that most holidays he would make 4 day's pay,
because of those who marked off. 'Cornbread' Victory remembered once,
while he was furloughed, even being called to work Christmas...he
refused. 'Slick' Inge got a company commendation for keeping trains
moving once, when snow stopped all trains west of Princeton. He got on
the public phone at Matoaka, WV and the dispatch line and supervised
movements of everything into Mullens. He said that the snow was so deep
that the 11,000 volt pantograph line was 3 or 4 feet off the ground and
was arcing".

The ebay report this time includes the following VGN items sold: Photo
of 4-6-2 Pacific #215 at Princeton for $26.00; Negative of brand new
Trainmaster #70 for $33.65; 5X7 photo of Gulf Smokeless Coal Co. for
$51.00; Slide of FM #60 for $27.50; 1955 public Timetable for $22.50 and
H. Reid's "Virginian Railway" book for $34.33.

I told the Brethren about a Norfolk Southern news release "NS earns the
top railroad spot in Clean (Green) Capitalism ranking in the S&P 500.
Among the S&P 500, NS ranked 66 overall, with the top company being Hess
Corporation. We had an NS Roanoke Shop employee tell us at the dinner
that this year will be the last Harriman Award awarded for safety among
railroads. If this is the case, we wondered if this means safety is now
being out flanked by the tree huggers???

There has been a lot of talk on the chat lines about the origin of the
name for VGN flag stop and siding at the Roanoke-Montgomery County line
known as Kumis. Today I plan to research this at the N&W (and VGN)
Historical Society Archives. I will pull the Tidewater Railway deeds
where the property was purchased, and see if there is a clue for the
origin of the name.

For Show and Tell, I took my most recent ebay purchase, an 8X10 black
and white photo of VGN Pacific #212 with a mail combine and passenger
car parked in the yard near the Roundhouse in Roanoke. The adjacent
track in the photo has a pipe running between the rails. The Brethren
identified the pipe as probably being for "house air". Also several
commented that this pipe would be considered safety "tripping hazard" today.

Then there's this: The Brethren enjoy blonds and blond jokes. A blond
was asked what is the capitol of Minnesota? She responded "a big M".
Also "can a dog having puppies in public be fined for littering"?

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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