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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Mar 17 06:49:10 EDT 2011

Tonight on the eve of Saint Patrick's Day 2011, I had the pleasure of
"Takin' Twenty" with 9 of the Brethren and Friends of the Virginian
Railway. The Irish eyes were smiling at Country Cookin'.

Several items were passed around for discussion. The first came from Eddie
Mooneyham: the Norfolk Southern Virginia Division Operation's Bulletin No.
30-2011 to establish Daylight Saving time as Standard Time on the Division
last Sunday. The Brethren said that the VGN never had to cope with this
move and remembered when the states adopted it, the railroads did not at
first. Also passed was a photo I took last week of one of Norfolk
Southern's new ES44AC locomotives parked at the Virginian Station in
Roanoke. The unit was shut down and an apparatus positioned near the front
door allowed it to be locked with what looks like a standard switch lock!
The third item passed was a set of photos from the Internet showing an
Australian track-assignment error head-on collision of a maintainer's truck
and a GE dash 9 locomotive. Wonder if the maintainer had a track warrant?

The Jewel from the Past is from February 24, 2005: "Keith Sowder told a
story right out of Paul Harvey. He said that once a VGN electrician helper
named Deaton brought his boy Sonny, and a friend named Wayne, to visit them
on their farm near Bent Mountain. Keith remembered carrying the 6 year old
Wayne on his shoulders and showing him around the farm. Keith and his older
brother Basil were sighting in a deer rifle. The shot recoil sent the scope
against Basil's eye, cutting it. Wayne ran to the house and said 'Mr.
Sowder has shot himself'. Wayne was none other than the famous Wayne
Newton, now King of Las Vegas. And now you know 'the rest of the story'".
(Note: As a lad in Roanoke, I attended the same elementary school with
Wayne Newton, and later as a Supervisor in Roanoke Shops, had Mr. Deaton in
my gang in the Battery Shed.)

Thanks to Lloyd Lewis, Dave Willis, Bill Mosteller, Rick Huddle, Robin
Shavers, Abe Burnett and others who responded about the "Bluefield
Connection". From time to time in these reports, I interject
response-provoking items to inspire feedback. This one hit the "feedback
jackpot". The "Bluefield Connection" was an imaginary, fictitious, and
covert device, that I'm told, which allowed a train crew member to
eliminate operation of the Safety device known as "Crew Call" by jumping
out the "B" to "F" pin in the panel wiring plug. I have never used one and
would not ever condone the use of such a device. Also a correction from
last week, thanks to Jeff Sanders: VGN Superintendent of Motive Power was
L. C. Kirkhuff.

At the Archives work day at the N&W (and VGN) Historical Society last week,
Lewis Newton asked me if I knew where "the six foot" is on a rail
line...(response provoking).

Tom Marshall sent me two clippings from the "Raleigh Register". The first
was about the Slab Fork Softball League and the Virginian team being in 4th
place with 5 teams in the league. The 7-22-48 article told of Carl Farley
beating out a slow grounder, to prevent the Virginian team from being
"skunked" 3-0 in a perfect game. The second article was from 12-23-52
stating "G. R. Inge (Slick) had been promoted to Assistant Trainmaster,
Norfolk Division". He had been "first appointed an Assistant Trainmaster on
the New River Division with offices in Mullens in 1946".

Speaking of trainmasters, I was told by Eddie Mooneyham this account: An
off-duty trainmaster who narrowly escaped serious injury recently, when he
attempted horseback riding with no prior experience. He mounted the horse
unassisted and the horse immediately began moving. As it galloped along at
a steady and rhythmic pace, the trainmaster began slipping sideways from
the saddle and was falling off. Moments from unconsciousness and probable
death, to his great fortune, a conductor, who was shopping at K-Mart with
his family, saw him and quickly unplugged the horse.

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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