"Taking Twenty" with the Virginian Brethren 1-7-09

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Fri Jan 16 12:05:48 EST 2009

Tonight I had the pleasure of "Takin Twenty" with 8 of the
Brethren and Friends of the Virginian Railway. We displayed a
tribute to three of ours who passed away since our last meeting:
Bob Rowland, 80, VGN Call Boy and Clerk; Keith Sowder, 80, VGN Clerk
and Weighmaster, and Dolly Hubble, wife of Ernie Hubble, son
of "Red" Hubble, VGN Roundhouse Foreman. A photo of each with their
obituary was placed at a table setting with a VGN lantern that was
lit during our meal. A photo of the display is posted on this site
under "Skip's Photos". We prepared two cards, one for
William "Scotty " Scott who is having surgery and one for Ronnie
Victory, son of Cornbread, who just lost his mother in law.

Abe Burnett asked about the "AG" Tower that separated the
Norfolk and New River Divisions on the VGN, located near what is now
the Wasena Bridge in Norfolk Southern's Roanoke South Yard. Yes,
Clearance Cards and train orders were given all west bound trains
at "AG". It was open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and even the
passenger trains were required to get a Clearance Card. The date of
the closing of "AG" is not clear from the Brethren. "It was still
open in December 1966" says Landon Gregory and Ruf Wingfield "thinks
it closed in 1967". There was no semaphore signal at "AG" and east
bound trains just stopped and were told which track to go into.
Interestingly, "west bound trains approaching "JK" Tower at the N&W
Crossing did have a light indicating which track their train was to
enter" said VGN Yardmaster Ruf Wingfield.

The Brethren were told that the now famous VGN transistorized
megaphone was for use by the wreck master. This prompted a
discussion abut several VGN wrecks. The Nov/Dec 2008 "Turntable
Times" newsletter of the Roanoke Chapter NRHS, was passed around.
This issue has my story with photos from the October Gathering of
VGN Bretheran at Victoria, last year.

Raymond East was given a "dress down" by the Brethren for
running out of gas on his way to Bob Rowland's Memorial Service.
Raymond, who is known for his "thriftyness" said that the fuel gauge
on his Ford Pickup "hasn't worked in years". Ruf Wingfield told
Raymond that "it ain't the gauge's fault, it's because you are too
tight to buy gas".

I showed the Brethren two recent "Roanoke Times" clips. The
first of 12-29-08 "75 Years Ago" reads "John Luther Saunders, 40-
year-old Negro farmer, was jarred from his sleep and into the role
of hero yesterday in the Virginian Railway freight wreck". This
referred to the eastbound that struck a rock slide just west of the
Hardy Tunnel where our own Greg Elam's grandfather was rescued from
the wreck by Mr Saunders. The second was a "100 Years Ago" of 1-5-
09 "The first through-train over the Virginian railroad between
Roanoke and Norfolk was run yesterday".

The ebay report shows the following VGN items sold: 4 VGN books by
H. Reid, Lloyd Lewis, Wiley and Wallace for $85.52; 1 12-pack of VGN
lead pencils (with no erasers) for $16.49 and a single 35mm slide of
post merger EL-C's for $29.14.

I told the Brethren about an upcoming Roanoke Chapter NRHS excursion
on April 18 this year. A bus will take riders from Roanoke to
Greensboro, NC to board the Amtrak to Rocky Mount, NC. After a
layover for lunch, the group will return to Greensboro on the west
bound on NC Rails. More details will come later.

Cornbread wasn't with us because of recent surgery, but a story
about him made it. Seems that his lady friend "Choo-Choo" and he
were at a restaurant recently and her Vietnamese-English made
ordering for her somewhat a challenge. Cornbread was heard ordering
for her "diet water"...

Time to pull the pin on this one.

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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