"Taking Twenty" with the Virginian Brethren

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Sep 3 09:21:12 EDT 2009

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with ten of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway. Joining us from Lithonia, GA were Mr.
and Mrs. Doug Bess, frequent readers of these "Takin' Twenty" Reports. Doug
brought his grandfather, VGN Conductor Joseph H. Jett's Conductors Log Book
showing many Page to Deepwater trips. He also shared with us several photos
of the early VGN and Deepwater trains and motive power from his family
album that would make Saltwater want to swim back across the Atlantic to
see. Doug is retired from NS and he and the Brethren became "old friends"

Passed around were October "Trains" magazine and the July-Aug-Sept N&W HS
"The Arrow". The "Trains" has a great article about the "Room with a view",
the bed and breakfast beside NS Pokey tracks near Welch, WV, where you can
step outside your bedroom and be just feet from about 30 trains a day. The
Brethren especially enjoyed the cover to November "Trains" with heading
"Why it's time U. S. Railroads go to electric powered locomotives". One of
the Brethren asked "reckon they'll bring out the old VGN EL-C 135 from
"The Arrow" highlighted the Roanoke Convention with many VGN activities and
"A Ride on the Powhatan Arrow".

The ebay report this time includes the sale of VGN items: 1947 VGN Rwy
Passenger Schedule for $33.00; 1955 New River Timetable for $62.99; and a
VGN EL-2B Instruction Manual for $238.50.

The DVDs included the moving and reassembly of the N&W Roanoke Shop build
M2 4-8-0 #1151 from the old Virginia Scrap Iron near the VGN Station to
VMT; the #1134 and #1118 moving to the Roanoke Chapter NRHS facility at 9th
Street. Also one showed the ex-C&W Baldwin switchers #662 and #663 now in
place at the 9th Street Yard.

The highlight video was one I took Monday of the first groundbreaking for
our new flag pole which will be dedicated in a special Ceremony on
September 11 at the VGN Station at 11 AM. I read to the Brethren a
paragraph from the Monday "Roanoke Times" stating that "100 years ago
today" the ground is being broken for the building of the Station and
Depot....not planned by me, coincidence, maybe Divine Providence? At the
September 11 Ceremony, we will also announce the official "kick-off" of the
restoration project.

I also showed Felix Price, VGN electrician who worked at the Narrows Power
Plant, the photo of Red Taylor and Toby Hodson in the special scaffold car
working on the 11,000 volt line at Salem. Felix remembered Red Taylor and
the car being used on the overhead lines for VGN electric locomotives.

The Brethren will be honored at the September 11 flag pole ceremony and
they all "perked up" when I told them that Landon Gregory was making a
speech right after the Mayor of Roanoke's remarks. We also talked about the
upcoming Roanoke Chapter NRHS Open House at the 9th Street Facility
September 26, complete with rides on their two trains and displays of two
of the "Lost Engines of Roanoke" and Chesapeake & Western diesel switchers.
We also discussed the upcoming Gathering of VGN Brethren the first Saturday
of October in Victoria.

From a nearby table a gentleman asked if the Brethren knew Rural Wingo,
VGN carpenter and car inspector. Ruf and Raymond East remembered Wingo and
several friends of his including Fred McKinnon, VGN brakeman. Seems that
Mr. Wingo was a carpenter for the MW gang and was only home on weekends.
His son's friend once asked "Who is that man who comes to your house every
weekend and tells you what to do?"

William "Scotty" Scott, yard engineer, is not one for lack of words and
frequently engages in conversation with anyone who will listen. Someone
recently commented that "he must have been vaccinated with a phonograph

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from VGN 248,

Skip Salmon


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