"Takin' Twenty" with the Virginian Brethren by Skip Salmon
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Thu Apr 9 09:15:32 EDT 2015
Last night, on the eve of the 150th anniversary of the ending of the "War
of Northern Aggression" at Appomattox, VA, I had the pleasure of "Takin'
Twenty" with four of the Brethren and Friends of the Virginian Railway.
After a discussion of that war, we all agreed that the winners of wars get
to write the history of it, and left it at that.
For "Show and Tell" I took the May 2015 "Trains" magazine. Page 6,
"Railroads turn in strong 2014 financials", lists the top 2014 operating
ratios (what it costs to make a dollar) with the following results: CN
.62; UP .64; CP .65; NS .69 and CSX .72; Before the 1959 merger, the VGN
RWY had an operating ration in the fiftys..... Page 16 "An end to the
end-cab switcher?" "NS has been the most ambitious in terms of rebuilding
its cab-end switcher fleet. The Altoona, PA and Roanoke, VA Shops began a
rebuild program on MP15DC that replaces the DC generator with an AR10
Alternator adding alignment control couplers and other upgrades. Also this
issue sports a great photo of NS's newest Heritage unit the SOU SD40 #3170
repainted in 1971 tuxedo black. (Note so far none have surpassed the #1069
Virginian Railway Heritage in this man's humble opinion). Note: My
sources tell me that the first SD40 that N&W purchased, the #1580 is being
converted back and will be added to the NS Heritage fleet in N&W scheme.
The ebay report this time includes a 1937 VGN RWY public timetable for
$19.98; Several VGN RWY annual reports selling for $25 (1955, 1956, 1957);
A 1952 VGN RWY annual report went for only $18.28 and a 1925 VGN train
schedule with several VGN letters went for only $9.99.
In response to last week's Cornbread Story about Ike's trip to Roanoke,
Louis Newton told me "Please see "Rails Remembered" Vol 1 Chapter 49, page
667. The two J-Class that handled Ike's special train on the W-S District
were 600 and 604. They were very carefully and cautiously turned on the
loop track at North Winston Yard. A Y-6 followed the train, but I do not
know its number."
The Jewel from the Past is from July 10, 2008: "I also brought a copy of
Cornbread holding that red VGN battery lantern posted last week. In the
photo you can see that his left index finger is a 'shorty'. He lost part
of it in a textile mill accident in Tennessee before he started with the
VGN. He tells kids that the reason it is shorter than the others is that '
I was picking my nose and a booger got it'".
One tidbit about last week's discussion on the Yard Office interior at
South Yard. Wis Sowder, VGN Clerk, said "that room where the knock rummy
was played was so small that you had to leave the room to change your mind".
Then there's this from the "strange but perhaps true department": A man
was driving when he saw the flash of a traffic camera. He figured his
picture had been taken for exceeding the speed limit, even though he knew
he was not speeding. Just to be sure, he went around the block and passed
the same spot, driving even more slowly, but again the camera flashed. Now
he began to think this was quite funny, so he drove even slower as he
passed the area again, but the traffic camera again flashed. He tried a
fourth time with the same result. He did this a fifth time and was now
laughing when the camera flashed as he rolled past, this time at a snail's
pace. Two weeks later, he got five tickets in the mail for driving without
a seat belt"
Time to pull the pin on this one.
Departing Now from V248,
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