"Taking Twenty with the Virginian Brethren"

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Oct 2 09:25:41 EDT 2008

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with 14 of the
Brethren and Friends of the Virginian Railway. We signed a Happy
Birthday card for Virginian engineer Raymond East who will turn 84
next Tuesday. Raymond is one of our most faithful members and is our
expert on Virginian locomotives, steam and electric.

We had a surprise about a half hour into the meeting. George
and Betty Harmon, Slick Inge's niece and nephew, came down from
Princeton to join us. George was a conductor on the "W" and had a
regular run of the Princeton Turn out of Roanoke. Most of the
Brethren remembered him and a lot of memories were exchanged. George
said that Rufus Wingfield was "the best yardmaster on the line".
Scotty said that George was known to "stretch the truth now and
then". This prompted Cornbread to chime in that "most road crews
liked Ruf's trainmastering until they had to make up a train in his

The October/September "Turntable Times" was passed around. This
is the newsletter of the Roanoke Chapter NRHS. Also passed was a
photo I got off the railpictures site of a "Triple Crown" trailer
being set out at a road crossing in Greensboro in 1994. Landon
Gregory who was a dispatcher at the time, said that "they were lucky
to get it to the crossing. A real problem is when the Roadrailers
fail between crossings"

Also passed around was the November "Trains" magazine with
Norfolk Southern 7661 pulling an ECP (electronically controlled
pneumatic} brake equipped train. This issue also had a couple other
items that were interesting to the Brethren. The first on page 30
was "Remote control on the main line" that says "some of the
ingredients are already in place, says John M. Samuels, retired
senior vice president of operations planning and support at Norfolk
Southern". Raymond East, VGN engineer "could not believe his eyes"
to think that NS would be running trains on the main line soon by
remote control. The other hot "Trains" item is on page 15 "UP scraps
SD90s". This summer UP began scrapping the fleet of 21 6,000
horsepower EMD SD90MAC-H units. "Too many eggs in one basket with
one diesel" was the Brethren's response. The Virginian electric EL-
2Bs with 6,800 horsepower had no trouble pulling coal trains across
Clark's Gap and on to Sewell's Point...

I told the Brethren about a CBS news article last week on the
annual Hobo Convention the second weekend of August each year in
Brit, Iowa. The news article said that there are more than
1,000 "active" hobos out there riding the rails at this time.
Several of them commented that in the Spring "the smell of creosol
cross ties is like perfume drawing us to the track".

Someone brought up a new breakfast cereal that suppose to make
you regular. Cornbread said that he had been eating brand flakes for
a long time and "I'm about a year ahead of schedule".

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now at V248,

Skip Salmon


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