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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Apr 7 07:02:45 EDT 2011

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with eight of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway.

I asked the Brethren about the color of VGN Burro crane booms. Bill McClure
has a photocopy of one that appears to be gray with black lettering with a
boom much lighter, maybe yellow. They remembered the booms on the Burro
cranes being the same color as the cabs of the cranes. Of course there
could have been an odd one...remember the N&W "Skunks".

From last week and the talk about the Squarehead whistle or horn, John
Snidow recalled, as I did, the EL-3s announcing their presence with their
side-rods. John said "they were noisier westbound and downgrade with
empties than working the grade eastbound with loads". He also had a memory
of the sound of the three-axle trucks of the G-4 gons as opposed to the
shorter two-axle hopper cars over the rail joints and switch frogs. He
recalled station agent Mr. Luckado, who was "fairly tolerant of a child's
barrage of questions". Steve Smith has an EL-3 brass horn, and one day soon
we may be able to have a demo of this "sound from the past".

Passed around was the May "Trains" magazine with a great salute to train
watching in Lynchburg. Also passed around were some photos I took early
last Sunday morning of Belews Creek #757, hogged at old South Jefferson
Street in Roanoke. This train was waiting on the "dogcatcher" at the new
signal recently moved north of the road. I had a conversation with NS
engineer James Simms, who "loved working on the 'Punkin' Vine'". Also
passed around was a photo of the new "Virginia's Rail Heritage Region"
signs that have been posted recently on western Virginia highways,
designating our area as a special rail heritage part of the state. This
particular one also has a "No Parking" sign on the same post...does this
mean we can not park in the Rail Heritage Region??? I have posted a copy of
this photo on this site under "Skip's Photos". Another photo passed last
night was from Bob Cohen, showing NS SD70 #2698 at Hagarstown, MD being
lifted by Hulcher equipment, to change out a traction motor, in place! To
see this Joe Goodrich photo go to:

This time's ebay report of Virginian Railway items sold includes: 1926 VGN
Rwy Electric locomotive steel advertisement for $17.00; Slide of VGN #42 in
Roanoke for $33.55; VGN marked hammer for $35.99; 1923 article in "Railway
Age" on VGN Electrics for $21.34; 1927 "Locomotive Maintenance Shop of VGN"
in Mullens article for $26.50 and a VGN short globe lantern for $455.50.

The Jewel from the Past is from March 17, 2005: "We talked about
punctuality on the railroad, and Tom Victory said in 39 years of service,
he was late only twice. Once when a bus he was riding to work went into a
ditch and once when he turned off his alarm clock. He admitted keeping the
clock in a bucket. 'Cornbread' said he called in one morning during an ice
storm, and was told that if he could make it to the Buzzard Rock Forge
Bridge (a one-lane bridge over the Roanoke River and VGN Mainline east of
Roanoke), the yardmaster would send a yard engine for him. Tom put on his
golf shoes and walked to the meet, and rode to work on the VGN! Unlike the
N&W who used the 7-3, 3-11, 11-7 system, the VGN's shifts were 8-4, 4-12,
and 12-8".

Mr. R. R. McDaniel, VGN Master Mechanic and retired NS Manager Locomotive &
Equipment, told of once meeting Mr. W. R. Coe on an inspection trip.
Russell said that Horace, the porter, told him "Mr. Coe wants to talk to
you". During the conversation, Mr. Coe told RRM "We had to fire
Buckholtz,(VGN President) because he didn't know anything about
railroading". Coe said Mr. Buckholtz was told in a morning report about
some cars being backed over a derail, and commented "can't we build
something to jerk that thing out of the way?!"

When we discussed Tom Victory's punctuality, Glen McLain mentioned a yard
engineer named Garland who was late all the time and missed work often.
Glen said that Garland didn't have to work regularly because "his Mom and
Dad were well off". Wis Sowder said "matter of fact, the whole family was a
little off"

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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