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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Jul 28 08:47:21 EDT 2011

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with eight of the
Brethren and Friends of the Virginian Railway. Attending with us again
was Eddie Mooneyham who showed the Brethren a training DVD that he uses
to train workers at Roanoke Shops who move equipment. It was about NS
rule 1300 Blue Flag-Your True Blue Friend". Even though it was made in
1983, it is still in service to train the use of blue flags to protect
those who work on rail equipment. This video showed several Virginian
sights including the Walnut Street Tower (JK) and it closes with a VGN
coal hopper being moved in the shop. I was proud to tell the Brethren I
remember my good friend Ron Coleman who, with his distinctive
Appalachian-American drawl, was the narrator of this DVD.

>From last week, I asked the Brethren if any remember VGN steam engines
ever having odometers in the cab and none did.

The ebay report this time includes two items: a negative of VGN 0-8-0
#253 at Victoria in 1953 for selling for $35.50 and a bell under the VGN
category marked REVA 8044623 from Pearisburg for $171.03. For those who
do not know, this bell is the bronze EMD bell that was standard on the
early diesel locomotives.

The Jewel from the Past is from May 19, 2005: "I showed the fellows the
story that Harry Bundy told of the brakeman carrying the knuckle across
several coal cars on the high bridge at Glyn Lyn and then dropping it
into the New River. Slick Inge said he remembered several trains braking
in two on the bridge, but his crews would turn the angle cock and pull
the train off the bridge after dropping a knuckle off the locomotive.
They would then replace the knuckle or carry it to the car on the
bridge, if needed on that end, therefore not getting into the same
predicament as the one in Harry's story".

We discussed the news on Tuesday of Norfolk Southern making record
profits in the last quarter of this year. The "Roanoke Times" stated
that the $557 Million was "a record for the April-to-June quarter". The
Brethren were happy that their pensions were still being paid and that
NS is now back even with CSX who recently split their stock three ways.
Harry Bundy said "I now have three shares of CSX".

At this month's work session at the N&W (and VGN) Historical Society
Archives, Lewis Newton approached me with a film can and asked if I
would like some "home movies" he took from 1958 to 1962 as trainmaster
that includes the last train N&W ran "under the VGN wires". After my
blood pressure returned to a level that allowed me to speak, I respond
"I sure would". Lewis took along his camera when traveling on the Scioto
and Radford Divisions as Trainmaster and shot a lot of the end of steam,
and beginning of diesels. This 400 feet of 8 mm film required me to find
someone who could convert it to DVD. I immediately started searching for
such a person. I found one and last night I showed this precious piece
of rail history video to the Brethren. The DVD shows several great shots
of Narrows Power Plant with rivers of black smoke flowing out of both
stacks, a VGN hopper train complete with a -19 caboose, Alco RS-11s at
Williamson, the dead line of As and Ys in the snow, several meets from
the cab of Southern Es on the "Tennesseeian", Lewis and other rail
officials in a 1960 Chevrolet station wagon high rail, the Abingdon
Branch, and of course the star, the VGN EL- now numbered #239 in VGN
livery complete with crew 'up close and personal' crossing over the high
bridge at Glyn Lyn. This DVD will be made available for the Virginian
Nation in the near future...

My beautiful wife Judi, who has three sons and three grandsons, recently
was overheard explaining the "perils of ceiling fans when little boys
are close by". She said "if you hook a dog leash over a ceiling fan, the
motor is not strong enough to rotate a 42 pound boy wearing Batman
underwear and a Superman cape, but is strong enough, however, if tied to
a paint can to spread paint on all four wall of a 20X20 foot room!"

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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