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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Nov 4 15:00:53 EDT 2010

W&LE D-3


NKP 97

Wabash 349







sold 10/31/61

to Wabash 349, to Celanese 1/10/66, to Virginia Museum of Transport 1988

I don't recall the discussion about Celco's switcher in the last "Talking Twenty". So I'm not sure you all are discussing the former Celco switcher that is in the VA Museum of Transportation or a locomotive that is currently active at the plant. Regardless the ex-Celco unit in the VMT has an interesting history of ownership. The above is from the NKP Historical Society's NKP Diesel Locomotive Roster. The NW-2 was originally purchased by the W&LE and became a Nickel Plate unit following the lease of the W&LE by the NKP. The NKP sold it to the Wabash in 1961. When the WAB and NKP merged with the N&W the locomotive was owned by N&W for a short period of time before being sold to Celanese in 1966 for use at the Narrows plant (it would have been N&W 3349 but this number does not exist on all time N&W diesel rosters??).

Ed Painter; Narrows, VA......currently living in Russellville, AR

From: nw-mailing-list-bounces at nwhs.org [mailto:nw-mailing-list-bounces at nwhs.org] On Behalf Of NW Mailing List
Sent: Thursday, November 04, 2010 7:40 AM
To: NW Mailing List
Subject: "Takin' Twenty" with the Virginian Brethren by Skip Salmon

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with seven of the Brethren and Friends of the Virginian Railway. We signed Happy Birthday cards for Landon Gregory and Felix Price. Landon is one of the youngest of the Brethren and started out using Morris Code as an operator in Abilene, VA. Landon worked for the VGN, N&W and NS as a dispatcher and retired from NS as Chief Dispatcher, Virginia Division. He turned 74 yesterday. Felix started his VGN career in Narrows as a laborer at the Power Plant. He became a turbine operator there until after the electrics were retired, and moved to Roanoke Shops. In Roanoke he worked as an electrician in the line gang maintaining N&W power lines. He retired from NS in 1985 with 36 years service. Felix turned 85 yesterday.

Attending with us for the first time was famous Virginian model decal designer Bill Mosteller and his friend Sarah who is visiting from Seattle. Bill operates Great Decals in Falls Church, VA and provides HO and N scale modelers some of the best and most accurate decals for their models in the world. All of his work can be seen at <greatdecals.com>. Bill is an avid rail fan and travels a lot taking part in model train operations. He is also active in the Sherlock Holmes Society. He told us last night that recently, a friend, dressed in period attire as Dr. Watson, gave him a ride to a meeting!

Passed around was Aubrey's new book "Virginian Railway Pictorial, Pictures and Stories". The Brethren were impressed with this account of their beloved fallen flag line. Raymond East showed us on page 43 an H. Reid photo of a VGN mixed train west of Altavista, not far from where he grew up. He pointed out the water barrel on the platform attached to the span over the Staunton(Roanoke) River. Raymond remembered track walkers inspecting the tracks and if a recent passing steam engine's cinders caused any ties on the bridge to become lighted from a hot spark, the water was there for him to put it out. Raymond recalled that a cone shaped container was used instead of a standard bucket because "the regular buckets wouldn't stay there very long".

I have posted on this site under "Skip's Photos" a photo I took last Saturday and passed around last night. It shows the Watuaga Valley NRHS "Blue Ridge Special" from Spencer to Roanoke and return going through Goodview, VA, MP V228 on the old VGN. This train, designated #976 by NS, had three Amtrak 4200 HP diesels and 25 cars with almost 1,000 passengers! Henry Huttleston Rogers would be proud. This entire train was "turned on the Campbell Ave. wye" in Roanoke...something to see! We will have 17 of these cars and the Amtrak locomotives this weekend for our trips to Danville and Bluefield. Bluefield is sold out but we have a few tickets left for the Danville trip. If interested, call 540 774 0611.

>From last week's report, the Celco switcher was an EMD NW-2 and NOT an Alco, as I reported. Thanks to Bill Honeycutt for this correction.

The Jewel from the Past is from November 18, 2004: "I told of reading one of the VGN files that I recently purchased, telling about the National Aeronautical Commission's instructions that VGN's 88,000 volt transmission line had to be no closer than 6,000 feet from any airport building. Also in 1947, the Federal Government tried to get the rail lines, including VGN, to put the name of all station locations on the roof of their stations in large white letters to assist in 'Dead Reckoning' aviation navigation".

Also passed around was a flyer for our upcoming "Candy Cane Shifter". The Roanoke Chapter NRHS will give free caboose train rides on the Silk Mill lead on December 11, 2010 for friends and family. Rumor has it that Santa himself may be our engineer! If interested, contact me by email (gkholine at cox.net) and I will send a flyer with a map.

Of course there was a "buzz" last night about Tuesday's elections. Glen McLain, VGN clerk who decided to leave after the N&W merger and who brings our jokes each Wednesday night, had the best quip of the night: "I wrote in 'nobody' on a absentee ballot because all of the candidates in my district said 'nobody' can beat me!"

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon
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