"Taking Twenty" with the Virginian Brethren

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Aug 6 08:51:13 EDT 2009

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with nine of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway. What a surprise! The Brethren
presented me with an "official Virginian Railway Happy Birthday Cake" and a
VGN Birdhouse, as well as a great card, signed by all. I became a member of
the Senior Citizen Club on Tuesday and the Brethren helped me celebrate my
65th birthday last night. Still I am the "young whippersnapper" of the
group. I have posted a photo of the "official VGN Birthday Cake" on this
site under "Skip's Photos" #51. If you can not open it, email me at
gkholine at cox.net and I will send the photo.

I passed on to the Brethren the good news that 100 miners were called back
to work at Pinnacle Mining at Pineville, WV recently. Tom Marshall says
that the mine produces metallurgical coal used in steel production.
Pineville is on the 3rd Sub-Division of the Guyandot River Branch (Elmore
to Gilbert), 386.5 miles from Norfolk in the Virginian New River Timetables.

There is only one item to report this time from ebay: A Virginian Railway
Police gold Lieutenant's badge was sold for $360.08. Does anyone out there
know anything about this badge or to whom it might have been issued? It has
the West Virginia Seal on it.

Tuesday I was doing some follow-up for my video series, and met Kendal
Johnson, NS carpenter working on the high trestle over the Roanoke River
east of the Yateman's Viaduct. Seems that the cross tie people supplied NS
some non-oak ties that did not last on the bridge and the gang was
replacing them. Mr. Johnson told me that his grandfather, James H. Johnson,
was an engineer on the old Virginian. James was given the Harriman award
and $1,000 in 1913 for rescuing a baby from the tracks. Kendal is a
railroad pin collector but did not have a VGN "Safety First" pin so I gave
him one. He promised to bring his grandfather's Harriman award and "take
twenty" with the Brethren some Wednesday night.

Passed around were the latest "Trains" magazine and July-August "NS BIZ".
The September "Trains" had almost no mention of Norfolk Southern and the
"NS BIZ" is almost entirely about NS winning the twentieth Harriman Award
for Safety. Also passed was a photo I got of NS 9587 and an eastbound coal
train coming off the Yateman's Viaduct with several insulators from the
Virginian Railway electric locomotive period still attached to the bridge.

Ruf Wingfield told the Brethren about always using a #3 VGN pencil (with no
eraser) for car reports. These report forms required five copies, so there
were four carbon papers used and a very hard lead pencil. Ruf said that
"VGN Clerk Wallace Brinkley would use the carbon papers over and over until
you could read a newspaper through them". Ruf also shared some of his
"ugly" tomatoes with us. My wife Judi says that Rufus produces the "ugliest
but best tomatoes that she ever tasted".

Our resident golfer, Yard Engineer William "Scotty" Scott told us about
"really hitting the links" this week. He normally shoots in the low 80s but
yesterday when he shot a 97 in Blacksburg, he said that he "played goof
instead of golf".

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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