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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Jun 23 19:11:50 EDT 2011

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with eleven of the
Brethren and Friends of the Virginian Railway. We signed a Happy
Birthday card for Ernie Hubble. He is the son of VGN Roundhouse Foreman
"Red" Hubble and has several other relatives who worked for the VGN in
Victoria. Ernie is a true friend of the VGN and will be sixty-nine on

>From last week, I got several responses about Mr. Wick Moorman running
the Alco T-6 #41 at an event at the Virginia Museum of Transportation in
Roanoke. Mr. Moorman, NS CEO, is a certified engineer. He commented "I
was able to open the throttle on an Alco for the first time".

The ebay report this time includes the sale of two VGN items: A
timetable #18 effective November 27, 1938 for $102.50 and a VGN short
lantern with "VGN Ry." etched on the globe for $389.99.

The Jewel from the Past is from April 28, 2005: "In reply to Aubrey
Wiley's question about the two covered hoppers the VGN had on the books,
I asked Russell McDaniel and Walter Grigg. Both could not remember them,
but McDaniel had an idea. He said at Victoria, sand was brought in for
the locomotives in coal hoppers and was usually wet. They had a device
with a pot bellied stove at the canter with a large hopper around it, to
dry the sand. The wet sand was thrown around the stove and it 'dribbled
out' and was blown with compressed air to the sand towers where workers
sanded the locomotives. This was a time consuming job. Grigg and
McDaniel said that the two covered hoppers were probably purchased to
keep the sand dry until it was put into the towers, thus saving a drying

Passed around for the Brethren to peruse, was the May-June "Biz-NS".
This issue has a great article about Roanoke Locomotive Shop celebrating
working a million employee-hours without a single reportable injury.
This record covered a 13 year period. Also passed around was a copy of a
Standard VGN Sign from the N&W (and VGN) Historical Society Archives. It
if this meant no one could ride a bicycle on VGN property...

Our friend, Frank Bongiovanni, gave me a great question to ask the
Brethren. The VGN Fairbanks-Morse diesels and EL-C electrics appear to
have an extra flag holder on the engineer's side on both the back and
front. Frank's question was WHY? After asking the Brethren and several
other VGN veteran sources, the only thing we could come up with is,
since all coal trains on the VGN were "extras", when pushers were used
from Elmore to Clarks Gap, maybe a section with two white flags also
needed a red one to designate the rear. Does anyone out there have any
other information about this?

Then there's this. A blind man was describing his favorite sport:
Parachuting. When asked how this was done, he answered: "I am put in the
door and told when to jump out of the plane. My hand are placed on my
release ring for me, and out I go". "But how do you know when you are
going to land?". He replied "I have a very keen sense of smell and I can
smell the trees and grass when I am 300 feet from the ground". "But how
do you know when to lift your legs for the final arrival on the ground?"
He answered "Oh that?...The dog's leash goes slack!".

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon



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