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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Oct 27 08:35:13 EDT 2011

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with nine of the
Brethren and Friends of the Virginian Railway. Most of the conversation
was about our road trip last Saturday to Mullens for the dedication of
the VGN Ellett-style station as a visitor center, and named for our good
friend Jack Feller. We saw a lot of old friends from the Virginian
Nation and were able to present a donation from the Roanoke Chapter NRHS
to Dewey Houck's Rural Appalachian Improvement League. Attending from
our group were Greely Wyatt, Landon Gregory, Jeff Sanders and yours
truly. I have posted several photos of the event on this site under
"People". Frank, I'm working on your request, and Lloyd, the chinquapin
crop is gone down here for this year.

Speaking of pictures, I passed a photo my good friend Casey Thompson,
Norfolk Southern photographer, took last Sunday near Arcadia, VA of the
NS 30th Anniversary Heritage Train. It consisted of the Roanoke Chapter
NRHS GP30 #522, Conrail GP30 #2233 and Southern GP30 #2594 with 10 brand
new Roanoke-built FreightCar America coal hoppers and Jeff Shelton's N&W
Caboose. To see the outstanding photo go to:

The Virginian connection to this photo is that at the time of the merger
in 1959, VGN had set aside trust money to purchase more EL-C electrics.
After the merger, N&W used this money to buy GP30s instead. I have
posted the Heritage GP30s posing behind the Motive Power Building last
Friday on this site under "Skip's Photos". Several of the Brethren
worked in the Motive Power Building in Roanoke.

The Jewel from the Past is from July 21, 2005: "Keith Sowder came to the
meeting minus his' choppers'. He said that Sunday, he got something
under one plate and took them out, and wrapped them up in a a napkin.
After some 'socializing', he cleaned up and the teeth got thrown away
with some other napkins. He figured the 'one-armed bandit' trash truck
picked them up on Monday. They were then carried to the transfer station
east of Roanoke Shops and the next day NS Trash Train V60 carried them
to the NS Bradshaw Spur, west of Layfayette and Ironto to the landfill.
Keith said 'At least they took their last ride on the old Virginian'".

For "Show and Tell" I took a 12/1/1905 Deepwater Railway ticket stub
that was given to me by good friend Jim Frank who gave it to me in
Mullens last Saturday. Jim also showed all those attending a trunk full
of Virginian artifacts including several rare VGN locks, keys, signs and
rule books. Also shown was last Sunday's "Roanoke Times" Invitation for
Bids for Phase I: Stabilization/Restoration of the Virginian Station in
Roanoke". If all goes according to plan, we will pick a contractor for
this job Tuesday, November 22, 2011...

During our ride last Saturday to Mullens, Greely Wyatt, who was
electrical foreman, electric locomotive expert, champion beagle breeder
and trainer, as well as City Councilman of Mullens in the 40s and 50s,
told us many stories that I will pass on to you. Greely started his
career in Mullens in 1945 as a call boy when he had to "roust" crew
members during all types of weather. Here's one of his stories: Greely
told us about a burley fellow he worked with on the VGN, who was known
for his quick temper and radical responses to situations. Once on a
Friday afternoon, he had to pick up a few items at the local grocery
store. When he approach the check-out, the lines were long, except for
the "10 items or less" line. He immediately got into that one. When it
was his turn, the clerk quickly counted his groceries and told him "Sir,
you'll have to move to one of the other lines, you have eleven items".
This set him off and he immediately picked up a can of soup from his
basket and "hurled" it back into the aisles. "COUNT'M AGAIN, he said...

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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