"Taking Twenty" with the Virginian Brethren

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Apr 30 08:51:10 EDT 2009

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with 7 of the Brethren and
Friends of the Virginian Railway. Some "buzz" of the evening was about all
of the TV coverage of the first 100 days of this new Administration in
Washington. As the media has done many times this week, I took a poll of
the Brethren and had each of them give their grade . Since this is NOT a
political web site, I will give you the results of what the Brethren think,
if you write me off line at <gkholine at cox.net>

I told the Brethren about VGN caboose 308 in Princeton receiving a grant
for full restoration. Ms Connie Shumate, Director of the Princeton Station
Museum, has requested from the N&W (and VGN) Historical Society, drawings
and other information to start this project. Others, namely Ken Miller who
restored Victoria's 342, have also been consulted. Hope they can make it as
complete and accurate as Greg Elam's work has in Victoria.

From last week's photo of the VGN workers at the Narrow's Power Plant,
Lloyd Lewis responded that he and his father were friends of photographer
George King Shands, and the photo was most likely taken shortly before the
plant was shut down June 30, 1962.

I showed three of my on going DVDs of area VGN Railway locations and trains
on the old Virginian. The plan is that these, along with the "Talkin' to
the Brethren" interviews will make up some of the continuous information
shown in the Depot after restoration. The first is a "walk around" of the
Virginian Station in Roanoke showing the BEFORE shots of the outside and
inside before restoration. Highlighted in this video was the beautiful
moldings, the terrazzo floor and the ticket window and bay window ticket
office that will be completely restored. Part of this video showed Landon
Gregory and his wife Sondra cutting the grass at the Station. The second
was a merchandise train crossing the Tinker Creek Connection, put in at the
merger to connect the N&W with the VGN on the east end of Roanoke. The
third was a shot of an NS coal train, pulled by GE "green" wide cab
diesels, rounding a curve just east of Kumis and approaching and crossing
the Yateman's Viaduct Bridge over old N&W main line west of Wabun (Sears on
old VGN timetables). I was able to access the last site from a friend of
mine's property and also got shots of the remains of VGN guy wire anchors
that supported the 88,000 volt VGN Tower above the bridge. This bridge
still has some of the insulators from the electrification, and I only wish
I could have videotaped an EL-2b on the lead of about 100 VGN G4s instead....

I passed around a recent photo purchased on ebay showing VGN #3 leaving
Roanoke and passing the bluff near what the Brethren believe is Highland Park.

I told the Brethren about a trip I made this week to Grundy with an old
coal miner, who said when we crossed Shortts Gap on US 460 just inside the
Buchanan County line, this reminded him of his first time up this mountain
in a Ford Model A. Because of the Ford's fuel tank position and how the
fuel was gravity fed, they had to back up the mountain and if they
approached a horse, the horse had the right of way. This prompted the
Brethren to tell many stories about gas rationing,Wings, Marble, Pinehurst
and Sensation cigarettes and playing SETBACK for hours. Ruf remembered
buying peanut butter by the pound wrapped in butcher paper.

My trip to Grundy was part of a family settlement for my wife's aunt's
estate and the opening of a safety deposit box in the Grundy National Bank.
One item discovered was her uncle's Railroad Elgin gold watch. This
prompted Ruf and Raymond East to talk about Railroad watches. Raymond said
he knew a brakeman who did not have a watch but carried a large washer tied
on to a shoe string and pretended to read the time holding the washer in
his hand. Ruf recalled a VGN brakeman who was asked by his conductor
"Where's your watch?" The brakeman replied "in the shop.....Pawn Shop"...

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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