"Takin' Twenty" with the Virginian Brethren by Skip Salmon

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Mar 4 09:19:29 EST 2010

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with eight of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway. Rufus Wingfield proudly showed us a
railroad gold-filled pocket watch given to him by one of his "many lady
friends". Landon Gregory immediately left the table, went to his truck, to
get his watch book to identify its age. Turns out this American Watham is a
15 jewel beauty made in 1901. More on this one later.

The ebay report this time includes the sale of a negative of a 2-10-10-2
VGN AE #802 for $38.00; a slide of EL-2B #127 for $17.50, and a VGN AG
2-6-6-6 presentation paperweight from Lima for $100.00.

I showed the Brethren my latest ebay purchase, a Virginian Railway cash
fare receipt ticket #4247 with the 10, 20, 30, 40, and 50 cent tabs still
attached. I remember "Slick" Inge telling us about VGN Conductors on #3 and
#4 "takin' up dimes" for fare between towns along the line. This must be
what they used. Even though this ticket cost me less that what it took for
postage to get it to me, I will treasure it, and display it some day at the

Passed around was the April 2010 "Trains" issue dedicated to COAL. It has
many articles about Norfolk Southern and the other coal haulers and I
highly recommend you get a copy. Also passed was a file of news articles
from 1958 donated by my friend John McDaniel, for the N&W (and VGN)
Historical Archives about the N&W-VGN merger. The 7/16/59 "Roanoke World
News" stated that "N&W shareholders will get 76.59% and VGN shareholders
will get 23.41% of the shares of the merged roads". Also this article
stated that for "1958, 15,506 N&W employees received an average
compensation of $5,459; 2,730 VGN employees were paid an average of
$5,855". VGN president F. D. Beale was quoted as saying "the N&W can use
the VGN grades and make more money than the VGN ever could". Also these
articles stated that the "only admitted objector to date (to the merger)
being Odell Huffman, an attorney representing a group of Princeton, WV
business men". A big supporter of the merger was the United Mine Workers,
according to the articles.

I showed the Brethren the new time line of the 18 steps of red tape
required to re-bid our Virginian Station Project in Roanoke. This
terminates at the bid opening with a projected date of June 15. I was
hoping we could use the Station by now as a location for a "Friends of the
Virginian Railway at MilePost 2010". Plans have started for this event
using the VMT as home base. I foresee Raymond East, our resident Virginian
fireman, standing in front of "Ole #4" telling about firing her in Suffolk.
More on this later.

The Jewel from the Past like one in Bill Daniel's Ball 999B 21 jewel that
he bought in 1984 for $350 is from June 10, 2004: "Keith Sowder, VGN Cargo
Statement Clerk at Sewalls Point, remembered that women's names like ALICE,
BETTY and MARY were used to classify coal. He would call the barney yard
and request so many cars of ALICE, BETTY or MARY".

I shared with the Brethren an email from my good friend and writer Robin
Shaver, who lives in Richmond. Robin said "you know you've been railroading
too long when you go to a Hardware Store and ask for a can of SD-40 instead
of WD-40". For you who are EMD illiterate, an SD-40 is a class of General
Motors diesel locomotives (6-axle, 3,000 horsepower). The VGN had no EMD
locomotives but their tugboat "W. R. Coe" (now the "Deborah Quinn") is
powered by GM.

And finally, someone sent me this question so I passed it on the Brethren,
who wanted me to ask you: "What type of vehicle is a "flatulance"? This is
an emergency response vehicle that is sent to pick you up, if you are run
over by a steam roller....

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from 248,

Skip Salmon


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