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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Oct 9 11:22:35 EDT 2014

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with five of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway.  As you've probably noticed, our
group is getting smaller and smaller as the Brethren get older.  I showed
Raymond East an email I got from Boyd Murphy, Jr. congratulating him on his
90th birthday "from a skinny 20 year old Brakeman hired at Victoria in
1951"  Raymond says thanks to Boyd and Wis Sowder remembered calling Boyd
for trains.

 We discussed Ronald Mattox's invitation that most of the Brethren got this
week, about the upcoming Virginian Railway Employees and Friends' annual
reunion October 25, at the Uptown Cafe at noon in Victoria.  Of course this
is the same week end of the Gathering at Mullens.  We think one SUV will
take about four to the Victoria event.  Someone suggested we could hitch a
ride on an eastbound coal train and hop off at Abilene and have Landon pick
us up in his SUV, and on to Victoria.  Then there was a discussion about
how 75 year old knees can not de-board a train at 15 MPH.  Then Landon told
of his first job as a VGN Operator at Abilene.  "I got there as a scared
green horn on Monday and the phone didn't ring until Wednesday.  I almost
had a heart attack.  It was a copy 3-19 middle order for the next train I
saw.  The eastbound coal train was meeting a westbound hopper train, and
the coal train held the main while the hopper train went in the hole.
Fortunately I didn't screw it up".

 Thanks to Art Regenold of McDonough, GA for the three October 1, 1943
Virginian Railway Safety Rule Books he recently donated to our Archives.

 For Show and Tell, I took the November "Trains" magazine.  This one is a
good one with a lot of VGN and NS stuff on at least 7 pages.  Page 18 tells
of NS converting  a GP-38 #5053 to compressed natural gas along with a
slug/tender to house the fuel with an operating cab for crews.  Page 63 has
an article about GE Evolution Series diesel locomotives being equipped with
a natural gas retrofit kit, allowing up to 80 per cent natural gas
substitution.  Is natural gas the next coal?

 The Jewel form the Past is from February 28, 2008:  "Landon Gregory passed
around a report he made after the merger on an incident that happened in
South Yard April 9, 1963, when he was an Operator at "JK" and Tom Victory
was Conductor on "Extra 942".  It resulted in 'damage to 45 switch at West
End South Roanoke Yard'.  Seems Tom needed to set out a bad order car and
Landon needed to give special instructions to pass a red indicated switch,
and their 'wires got crossed'.  Both were able to laugh about the incident
last night, unlike what they did in 1963".

 Then there's this:  Starting this year, CBS is having NFL football on
Thursday nights.  This made my bride Judi upset because we all know a pro
football game on TV can not start until at least five commentators discuss
the game for an hour.  This means that Jeopardy is not on at 7:30 PM on
Thursday nights...brings a story to mind I heard once about a fellow who
had a wife he brought over from Viet Nam.  After watching the Super Bowl
and trying to explain football to her, he asked how she liked it.  "Oh I
really liked it, especially the tight pants and all the big muscles, but I
just couldn't understand why they were killing each other over 25 cents.
They flipped a coin, one team got it and then for the rest of the game, all
they kept screaming was 'Get the quarter back, get the quarter back...its
only 25 cents!"

 Time to pull the pin on this one!

 Departing Now from V248,

 Skip Salmon

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