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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Aug 23 07:04:04 EDT 2012

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with six of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway. We signed a Happy Birthday card for
Frank Breedlove. Frank started with the VGN RWY in 1955 as a Brakeman and
served also as a Yard Conductor. He is a Gentleman Farmer and is very much
involved with the uranium mining prospects in Central VA, and owns several
rental properties. One such property used to be a stage coach stop in
Check, VA. He turns 79 today.

Passed around was the July/August Norfolk Southern "BIZ" magazine. This
issue has the NS official report of the gathering of all 20 of the Heritage
locomotives and why they were created. "With literally hundreds of
predecessor roads to choose from, NS chose the 20 heritage locomotives
based on three criteria: the most colorful schemes, the amount of NS
traffic generated on the former lines, and the number of NS employees who
began their careers on those lines". Several interesting facts were spotted
in the article: All but one of the locomotives, the 17 month-old GE
Evolution model painted in the Monongahela Railroad scheme, are brand new
(9 GEs and 10 EMDs). The Monongahela can be used to pull NS coal trains
equipped with the high-tech electronically controlled pneumatic brakes, so
it was included; The Penn Central was chosen because so many NS employees
have connections to it; The Interstate Railroad was picked because CEO Wick
Moorman spent time there as a Division Engineer for Southern; A significant
amount of NS grain traffic still moves over territory formerly operated by
the Illinois Terminal Railroad; and the Virginian...just because it was the
best! For my 20 cents worth (INFLATION), what the article did NOT say is
that the December 1959 N&W-VGN merger helped start the ball rolling that
produced the Fallen Flag lines that gave us all 20!

For Show and Tell, I took one of the new roof tiles from the Virginian
Station restoration project in Roanoke, to show the Brethren what they look
like "up close and personal". "It's amazing how heavy they are" was the
response of most. Also included were several of the copper nails used to
install them.

The Jewel from the Past, like those in the Hamilton beauty of N&W Powhatan
Arrow Conductor Frank "Captn' Fitz" Fitzpatrick, grandfather of VMT
Executive Director Bev Fitzpatrick, is from April 13, 2006: "A flyer was
passed around that I copied from the N&W (and VGN) Historical Society
Archives last Friday at my monthly work day. It was for a Demonstration on
January 15, 1948, at the Erie, PA Plant by General Electric of their brand
new EL-2b Streamliner electric locomotive. Attending from the Virginian
Railway were F. D. Beale, J. C. Fox, and our own Walter A. Grigg. The N&W
sent C. E. Pond and H. W. Reynolds. Other lines represented were the B&O,
Chicago S. Shore & S. Bend, Illinois Central, PRR, Pittsburgh & Lake Erie,
Reading and the New York Central".

The ebay report this time includes the following Virginian Railway items
sold: Photo of 2-8-2 #426 for $14.95; H. Reid "N&W and VGN in Color" for
$28.77; VGN RWY Vol #1 Steam for $15.00; VGN RWY Vol #2 for $15.00; Kurk
Reisweber "Virginian Railway" for $32.57; VGN match book for $2.99 and a
1924 VGN RWY Map for $19.95.

I passed out fliers for the Roanoke Chapter NRHS Fall excursion trips.
November 10 to Abingdon, VA and Bristol, VA/TN and return to Roanoke, and
November 11 to Shenandoah, VA. I showed the Brethren the design for a
maroon T-shirt with the N&W and VGN map on the back that will be sold on
the trains.

Then there's this: "A single guy decided life would be more fun if he had a
pet. So he went to the pet store and told the owner he wanted to buy an
unusual pet. After some discussion, he finally bought a 'talking'
centipede, a 100-leg insect, that came in a little white box for his home.
He decided he would start off by taking his new pet to the bar with him,
and show him off. So he asked the centipede in the box, 'Would you like to
go to the bar with me today?' He got no answer; he asked again...with no
answer. He finally put his face up against the centipede's house and
shouted, 'Hey in there! Would you like to go to the bar with me?' This
time, a little voice came back out of the box, 'I heard you the first time!
I'm putting on my shoes!'"

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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