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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu May 6 08:24:43 EDT 2010

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with ten of the
Brethren and Friends of the Virginian Railway. The session started off
with a discussion of an unusual item found at the Virginian Station
yesterday while I was getting some paint samples of the VGN orange. I
have posted a photo of the wooden "tuning fork" looking item found, on
this site under "Skip's Photos". There are several of these in the fire
damaged material at the Station. They are obviously hand made and have
some particular use. None of the Brethren could ID it but Billy Daniels
suggested that "it could be an ignition key for a VGN Steam engine".
Anybody out there know what this item is???

Passed around was the June "Trains" magazine that has two very
interesting items. The first is an article by Fred W. Frailey about the
NS Intermodal, which says that "the Crescent Corridor will be Wick
Moorman's crowning achievement". The second could revolutionize the rail
industry: An article "Car coupling goes hands-free" about a new system
of building trains automatically. "The remote-controlled cut lever,
remote-controlled angle cock, and tri-coupler use automation and
wireless technology to enable train crews to set out cars without having
to physically touch the angle cock or cut lever. Conversely, a train
crew could also couple up to railcars and let the tri-coupler
automatically make the connections between cars". No more "carpecks"
going between the rails to "lace up trains"....

We talked about this Saturday's "Roanoke Rails, a celebration on the N&W
Mainline" with a night photo shoot at the O. Winston Link Museum and VMT
having lots of activities including motor car rides. The 611 will be
displayed along with the Roanoke Chapter NRHS 611 tool car and N&W
Caboose. One $12 ticket is good for all events in Roanoke plus lots of
events at the C&O Railway Heritage Center in Clifton Forge. For more
information call 540-982-5465.

The ebay report this time includes sale of: C&O Steam engine pulling a
VGN coal train slide for $88.00; VGN 1953 Public Timetable for $32.77;
35mm slide of VGN #138 at Roanoke in 1957 for $26.50; and a VGN safety
rule book with linen tags and misc. for $76.01.

For show and tell I also showed the Brethren my latest VGN purchase, a
framed photo of a coal train at Kumis pulled by an EL-2B. This is
probably my favorite train watching site and my most photographed, but
this photo has a gentlemen in the cab in a white shirt and tie...could
it be "Slick"?

The Jewel from the Past, like one in John Specht's Hamilton 992B, 21
jewel, given to him by his father, who was Roundhouse Foreman in
Bellevue, is from August 5, 2004: "A question from Pete Groom was
addressed: Does anyone have any information or stories about how well
the 4-axle FMs did, replacing the AGs, on east bound coal trains out of
Roanoke? A pair of them had about the same tractive effort but well less
that half the horsepower of a single AG. Yardmaster Ruf Wingfield stated
that the AGs were limited to 175 cars of coal but no limit on tonnage; 2
FM H16-44s were limited to 14,428 tons or 150 or so hoppers. 'Slick'
Inge, Trainmaster, said that if a sparrow landed on the cab, the train
would stall".

I showed the Brethren a photo sent to me by my pal, John Snidow of a CN
Dash 9 ejecting the top of a power assembly allowing the piston from
that cylinder to be thrown free by the force of the failure. It was
ejected so violently that it traveled through the air and crashed
through the roof of a nearby home where it imbedded itself in an
interior wall. Of course the Brethren countered that the Fairbanks Morse
diesels with opposing pistons just exploded, upon failure, with no
nearby homes being damaged...

The April 23, 2010 "Fort-Worth Star" reported that Amtrak is using an
80% diesel and 20% bio-diesel fuel mix made from beef by-products on the
"Heartland Flyer" from Oklahoma City to Fort Worth. If this test works
out, Amtrak plans to use the 80/20 bio-diesel beef mix on all of their
trains. Some suggested that instead of Amtrak ticket holders
anticipating being on time rarely, with this new fuel, they can expect
to be on time medium-rarely.

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V-248,

Skip Salmon


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