"Taking Twenty with the Virginian Brethren"

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Dec 11 08:28:14 EST 2008

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with nine of
the Brethren and Friends of the Virginian Railway. We agreed to send
a card to Keith "Slim" Sowder, VGN Clerk, who is in the Veteran's
Hospital in Salem.

We talked about the January "Road Trip" to the N&W (and VGN)
Historical Society Archives. Also discussed was a future venture to
ride the new FREE Roanoke rubber tired Trolley, now running every 10
minutes from downtown to the Carilion Complex and former VGN Yard,
Roundhouse and now NS South Yard area. This prompted Rufus Wingfield
to remember VGN Brakeman Walter Hudson who was also a "Jitney" driver
in the area, on his off time. Ruf explained that a "Jitney" was a
cross between a small trolley and a taxi, used to transport people.
Of course the Hudson discussion ignited a heated discourse about the
famous Hudson "Hornet" automobile that was quite a vehicle at that
time. Cornbread remembered one VGN brakeman who had one, and was
famous for "showing air" between the Hornet and Jefferson Street when
going over the bridge, and leaving the Yard Office parking lot at a
high rate of speed and "dust disbursement".

Landon and I passed on the Brethren some of the report from
the Coalition that traveled last week to talk to Mr. Moorman, NS
Chairman and CEO, about future rail plans in Roanoke. The Coalition
of Roanoke Groups included the Virginia Museum of Transportation,
Roanoke Chapter NRHS and the N&W Historical Society. Mr. Moorman
assured the group that "all ships rise with the tide" indicating what
NS does in Roanoke will help all. He also assured them the Wasena
Belt Line, which is now out of service, is "still in the mix" for
plans for rail use and that he will help with future Amtrak
excursions from Roanoke.

I passed around to the Brethren copies of my "Takin' Twenty" one
page 2009 calendar for their refrigerator doors.

This Saturday "Ride the Candy Cane Shifter" event was discussed
with many of the Brethren planning to attend, bringing friends and

I reported to the Brethren that Jeff Sanders was appointed by
the Board of the Roanoke Chapter NRHS, to be their 2009 President.
This announcement was applauded!

The new TV show "Extreme Trains" was mentioned and an incident
of the Union Pacific having a wheel set changed out in the middle of
the train was brought up. This caused some discussion of VGN train
repairs. Raymond East said that if a train broke in-two on a
trestle, a new knuckle would have to be "cooned" over the other coal
hoppers to get to the effected car. We must now add "car cooning" to
our rail vocabulary!

I passed a photo of the NS #34 Track Geometry Car, made from
retired N&W SD35 #1530. It recently was modified with a new cab
added for personnel to ride to monitor equipment in transit. Somehow
this prompted some discussion about former VGN engineers. Raymond
East recalled L. T. "Bugle" Wheeling, VGN yard engineer, who had a
hot hand on the throttle. Ruf said "I've seen him go through #9 in
the yard at 40 MPH". Landon Gregory recalled an N&W Powatan Arrow
engineer, Luther Pasley, who once left Bedford 15 minutes late and
made it to Roanoke on time. Someone remembered Frank Creasy
who "would let a hobo run his engine in the yard if he asked" and Joe
Jewell who was famous for the "Twister" incident. A "twister" is a
small piece of aluminum foil or paper rolled up and placed in the
nostrils of a sleeping employee. Seems that Frank was caught asleep
and someone put "twisters" up his nose and when he suddenly woke up
choking, he threatened an investigation. He was told OK, but we
will have to tell them what you were doing when twisted...

Time to pull the pin on this one.

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


More information about the NW-Mailing-List mailing list