"Takin' Twenty" with the Virginian Brethren, by Skip Salmon
NW Mailing List
nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Apr 14 20:31:56 EDT 2011
What is a torpedo machine?
On Thu, Apr 14, 2011 at 7:18 AM, NW Mailing List
<nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org>wrote:
> Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with seven of the
> Brethren and Friends of the Virginian Railway. Raymond East reported the
> passing of VGN Yard Brakeman Felix "Susie" Shrewsberry. He was know for
> being extremely clean, after working a shift. "Susie" once bought a new car
> and took some friends and relatives with him to Florida. Upon returning to
> Roanoke with the ash trays full, "Susie" decided "to trade it in on a new
> one", Wis Sowder said.
> We discussed the 2010 Norfolk Southern Annual Report. Of course the
> Brethren had to compare the VGN 1959 operating ration in the 50% range
> compared to NS 2010 72% range. (NS 72 cents to make a dollar versus VGN 50
> some). They liked the NS vision statement: "to be the safest, most
> customer-focused, and successful transportation company in the world".
> The Jewel from the Past is from March 24, 2005: "The subject of mechanical
> forces 'flagging' work on motive power when they were really needed for
> service was brought up. Walter Grigg remembered once a Federal Inspector
> cited an engine for having too much slack between the locomotive and the
> tender, and shop forces were suppose to make necessary repairs. When the
> inspector found the repairs not made the next day, when the locomotive was
> back in service, the mechanical man was transferred. It was reported that
> some shops had certain personnel that would make 'pencil' repairs when asked
> to do so."
> Passed around was a photo of VGN AG #907 for the Brethren to identify the
> location. All agreed that it is Norfolk. This photo will be added to the N&W
> (and VGN) Historical Society Data-base at the next work session. Raymond
> East recalled firing the #907 and commented "it was a privilege to fire
> her". Also passed was a drawing H-1245 that our friend Eddie Mooneyham
> showed me at the last work session. It is a Tidewater Railway drawing of the
> use of a torpedo machine used with a crossing gate for use by trainmen of a
> lumber train, who use the gate to protect lumber roads crossing the then
> Tidewater. The torpedo machine was to be placed at least 2,000 feet from a
> lumber road crossing. This drawing is dated March 16, 1906.
> Also passed around was an email from our friend Bob Cohen from Maryland
> showing damage to a track by a remote controlled engine that was left
> powered up. There is a distinct grinding of the profile of a locomotive
> wheel in 12 track locations in the photo. Glen McLain brought up the demerit
> system that the VGN used when employee messed up like this. He once got 30
> demerits (100 got you dismissed) for not recognizing that an H. L. Lawson
> box car was "just sitting" for about a week and not returned. Landon Gregory
> said that an agent would get 10 for letting a mail sack get wet in the rain.
> He said that one agent got 10 for posting the incoming arrival time for a
> passenger train wrong, but when he spotted a flat wheel on a passenger train
> and reported it, he got only 1 (one) merit for that... Ken McLain told of a
> clerk named Flannigan, who did not get demerits, but a "chewing out" by the
> Superintendent for using too much language when reporting derailments. When
> the next one occurred, he just reported "off again, on again, gone again,
> Glen McLain told a story about a man who was taking his wife, who was
> pregnant with twins, to the hospital when his car went out of control and
> crashed. Upon regaining consciousness, he saw his brother, a relentless
> world-class practical joker, sitting at his bed side. He asked his brother
> how his wife was and he replied "Don't worry, everybody's fine and you have
> a son and an a daughter. But the hospital was in a real hurry to get the
> birth certificates filed and since both you and your wife were unconscious,
> I named them for you." The brother said I named the little girl "Denise".
> The husband, relieved said "That's a very pretty name! What did you come up
> with for my son?" The brother replied, "Denephew."
> Time to pull the pin on this one!
> Departing Now from V248,
> Skip Salmon
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