"Takin' Twenty with the Virginian Brethren" by Skip Salmon
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Thu May 23 09:46:19 EDT 2013
Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with seven of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway. We signed a Happy Birthday Card for
Russell R. McDaniel. Mac was Master Mechanic at Victoria at the time of the
N&W-VGN merger. I asked him once what his instructions were, when hearing
that the merger had become official, and how did he respond. He said he was
told to "throw out anything marked "VIRGINIAN" in his office. Of course he
was careful what to keep and what to throw out. We now have some of these
precious artifacts for future generations to enjoy. He retired as Manager
Motive Power and Equipment-Locomotive for the N&W and is now the "reigning
patriarch" of the Virginian Brethren at age 91!
I told the Brethren about a special video shown at the Roanoke Chapter NRHS
meeting last Thursday. It was shown by W. Graham Claytor III, son of Graham
Claytor. Mr. Claytor explained that his Dad told everyone he was "not a
very good photographer", he just "turned the camera on and was lucky what
it captured". Some of the footage looked pretty good to the audience who
viewed the 55 minutes of 16mm color film that had been converted to CD.
There are several minutes of Virginian footage showing passenger trains,
Squareheads, EL-2BS, and steam. My favorite is a coal train diverted from
the VGN through the wye track at Roanoke Shops, of three H16-44s pulling a
coal train once when the VGN had a blockage their line. The coal train
proceeded to Bonsack where an N&W "Y" class pusher assisted in getting the
VGN coal over the Blue Ridge grade. OUTSTANDING!
The Jewel from the Past is from February 2, 2007: "There was a lot of talk
of memories of riding passenger trains. Cornbread told once of attempting
to turn off the lights in a coach, when the Conductor caught him at the
electrical panel of the car, and threatened to throw him off the car if he
did it again. Slick recalled engineer 'Bottle Ass' Mattingly leaning out of
a yard engine cab while shifting #3. He was watching for a hand signal and
did not see a standing box car and hit his head on the end of it".
I passed on to the Brethren that NS has donated a dash-8-32B, 1989- built
Erie PA diesel. This is the first dash-8 preserved and it goes to the Lake
Shore Railway Historical Society Museum in Northeast, PA. This brings back
memories for me, since once during the 1978 Rail Strike, I was stranded in
Northeast PA. After my train went into Emergency, and after waiting for the
air brakes to reset, I attempted to restart the train and got an emergency
application again. This required me and my brakeman to walk the train. We
discovered the angle cock turned about 75 cars back and to our surprise the
draft gear on the car was pulled out and in between the rails. This
required a train behind me to cut off motors and set this damaged car into
a siding. This was done AFTER several men from the nearby Museum helped us
move the draft gear in the clear. Good payback!
At the meeting last night Gordon Hamilton explained to the Brethren how
Canada got her name. Seems that a name was needed for our northern neighbor
so a large woodsman named Knute was asked to pull letters from a hat and
the first name that he spelled out would become the name for our northern
neighbor. Since Knute was a typical example of people from this area, who
say "A" a lot. His first letter pulled was "C"... A. The next "N"... A.
Then came "D"... A. ...CANADA and that's how Canada was named! REALLY!
Time to pull the pin on this one!
Departing Now from V248,
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