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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Sep 8 08:43:34 EDT 2011

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with seven of the
Brethren and Friends of the Virginian Railway. We talked about Monday's
Open House at the NS Shaffer's Crossing Diesel Shop. The Roanoke Chapter
NRHS safely gave 654 rides in 21 trips from the Diesel Shop west and
back, on the Chapter's N&W caboose and Jeff Shelton's #514539 N&W
caboose pulled by the Alco T-6 #41. The Open House was a great success
with over 1000 attending. It was like a festival, complete with two
brand new AC diesel locomotives on display (one EMD and one GE), door
prizes, free food, rail vendors, games for the kids including milking a
cow. I showed the Brethren a photo I took last Saturday morning when the
T-6 and N&W caboose were moved out of the 9th Street Yard to Shaffer's
Crossing. The photo shows them at the Silk Mill lead (serviced by the
VGN) waiting at the derail for instructions from NS to come out on the
old VGN. To see this photo go to:

Last night for "Show and Tell" I brought for the Brethren to see, one of
the "crew kits" that I was given from the EMD SD70ACe 4300 HP locomotive
on display at the Open House. This kit contains a toilet seat cover,
paper towels, toilet paper, large plastic bag, custom lens wipe,
grime-free antibacterial skin cleaner, 2 anti-microbial alcohol hand
wipes and 2 giant moist towelettes. This is a far cry from what the VGN
supplied their locomotive crews. Russell McDaniel told me that the VGN
supplied a water bucket before diesels and a water cooler with cups
after. Later paper towels were added.

Passed around was the October "Trains" magazine. Several articles were
discussed including the faster fueling systems of diesels now. Current
refueling is done at an average rate of 350 to 450 gallons per minute.
The new SpillX System, similar to what is done with jet aircraft,
refuels at an advertised rate of 600 gallons per minute. Also in this
"Trains" are articles about positive train control, CSX success, and how
Japanese craftsmen still hand-hammer the aluminum nose cones of their
high speed locomotives. Also on page 64 is a question about N&W running
road engines "long hood first".

The Jewel from the Past is from June 9, 2006: "I brought a copy of
'Norfolk Southern World' of September/October 1983 that had an article
'The EL-C will electrify Roanoke Museum crowds'. Kent Womack, former VGN
engineer on the EL-Cs commented: 'The EL-
Cs were some of my favorite locomotives. They were like nice racehorses.
You couldn't beat them for handling tonnage at faster speeds. I'm glad
one of them has come back to Roanoke'". If only that could be said of
the AGs, BAs, Pacifics, or Trainmasters!

The ebay report this time includes the sale of these VGN items: Negative
of 4-6-2 Pacific in Roanoke May 1955 for $34.53; VGN RWY tall globe for
$127.49; H. Reid book for $39.00; Photo of 2-8-2 #507 in Roanoke in 1957
for $22.00; Oil Can with VGN tab for $168.17; Tall globe lantern marked
"V RY" in bad condition for $271.66; and a VGN RWY "Special Agent" badge
with "Wiley Adams" on it for $249.00.

Then there's this: Clarence lived across the Guyandotte River from
Elwood and Louise. Clarence and Elwood had never met, but over the years
developed a dislike for each other. They were yelling across the river
at each other all the time. Elwood would yell to Clarence, "If I had a
way to cross this river, I'd come over there and beat you up good!"
Finally the state built a bridge across the river right there by their
houses. Elwood's wife, Louise says "Now is your chance. Why don't you go
over there and beat up on Clarence like you said you would?" Elwood
started for the bridge, but saw a sign on the bridge and stopped to read
it, then turned around and came back home. Louise asked "Why did you
come back?" Elwood said "I think I changed my mind about beatin' up
Clarence. You know, when I yell at him from across the river, he don't
look so big. But they put a sign on that bridge that says "Clarence is
10 feet 5 inches".

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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