"Taking Twenty with the Virginian Brethren"

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Dec 4 08:49:13 EST 2008

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with eleven of
the Brethren and Friends of the Virginian Railway. Ben Handcock, VGN
clerk and yardmaster, joined us for the first time in several years
and brought a stack of old "Turntable Times", the newsletter of the
Roanoke Chapter NRHS, for the Brethren.

I passed around a book recently purchased in a local Antique
Store, "Along the Norfolk & Western, Olden Days and New Ways" by Tam
Park Vannoy. This is a 1991 history of the N&W, which includes the
VGN, that I had never seen before which highlights a year by year
history with photos of the now fallen flag.

The ebay report includes a VGN RWY Trust Plate for $126.35; An
EL-C #125 color 8X10 photo for $21.78; A slide of VGN #903 for $16.38
and a VGN "Coal on the Move" book for $15.00.

I got a response from last week's report about the VGN surveying
a feeder line from Roanoke to the Floyd Court House, from the
Franklin County, Virginia Historical Society. They want more
information for their archives.

Passed around was the January 2009 "Trains" Magazine.
Highlighted was "NS Buys First AC Power". Don Graab, NS Asst. VP,
Mechanical, said "We can use two AC ES44ACs to do the work that it
now takes three DC locos to do. These units can be operated in
Distributed Power Mode and they are also ballasted to a greater
weight". Also in this issue was a story about NS continuing the
SD40E program at Altoona for heavy yard and mountain pusher series
locomotives. They are built from EMD SD50s with engines form SD40
slugs. The 84 SD40Es have Short Hood forward controls, cab signals,
air conditioning and EM2000 micropressors. Also in this "Trains" was
their "10 locomotives that changed Railroading". If I counted
correctly, the N&W and VGN had nine out of the ten on their roster at
one time. Only the Alco RS-1 was missing. N&W bought the Alco RS-3,
a close cousin of the RS-1, as one of their first diesels or "Cut-
Worms", as the VGN men called diesels because they furloughed so many
workers, when put into service.

We talked about the upcoming "Ride the Candy Cane Shifter" on
Saturday the 13th and a "Road Trip" in January. The N&W Historical
Society has invited the VGN Brethren to a special session for them at
the Society's Archives to see VGN artifacts, drawings and photos. The
Brethren decided they would prefer it to be a night session and "any
day of the week would do". More on this later.

Ken McLain told a story about an Amish woman whose horse and
buggy was pulled over by a police officer one day. He told her that
he was not writing a ticket but giving a warning about a broken
reflector on the buggy. "Oh I will let my husband know just as soon
as I get home," she replied. "Very well. Another thing, Ma'am, I
don't like the way that one rein loops across the horse's back and
around one of his testicles. I consider that to be animal abuse.
Have your husband take care of that immediately," the cop
instructed. Later that day, the woman told her husband about the
encounter with the cop. "What exactly did he say, dear," he
asked. "He said the reflector is broken," she replied. "No problem,
I can fix that in two minutes. What else did he say?" he
inquired. "I'm not sure...something about the emergency brake."

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from VGN248,

Skip Salmon


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