"Takin Twenty" with the Virginian Brethren by Skip Salmon

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Jan 12 07:06:19 EST 2012

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with six of the
Brethren and Friends of the Virginian Railway. We talked about last
Sunday being Elvis Presley's 77th Birthday, if he has really "left the
Big Building". Since this is near the average age of the Brethren, all
could relate to his career. Several remember in March, 1960, when Elvis
mustered out of the Army and was on his way to Memphis through Roanoke
on the "Tennessean". Landon Gregory remembered being in town and
actually waved to him and "he waved back".

Last Saturday I was asked by a friend to research the Danville and
Western Railway. This line, started in 1891, ran from Danville, VA via
Leaksville, NC (now Eden) to Stuart, VA. They had a manual turntable at
Stuart, and was acquired by the Southern Railway. D&W had 9 steam
locomotives, 122 freight cars, 14 passenger cars and 10 work cars.
Landon Gregory qualified D&W at the Dundee Tower in Danville, while
working for the VGN, and said the short line was also known as the "Dick
and Willie" and "Delay and Wait" Line.

The ebay report this time includes the following VGN items sold: VGN
Annual Reports: 1958 for $115.39; 1957 for $36.00; 1954 for $36.00; 1947
for $36.00 and 1944 for $7.69; H. Reid First Edition hardback with no
dust cover for $18.27; 1914 trip pass for $16.49; 1922 VGN Train Service
Book for $16.49, and VGN Battery Powered Lantern marked "VGN RWY" with a
red light for $69.99 including the battery.

The Jewel from the Past is from October 20, 2005: "I showed the Brethren
a photo of a Virginian Railway 'Safety First' pin that recently sold on
ebay for $305.55. None of the Brethren remembered seeing one like it
before. 'Slick' Inge said the Virginian Safety Department was formed
when C. W. Dowdy was made Superintendent of Safety. He also said that
Dowdy, who was Norfolk Division General Superintendent before Safety,
also caused him to have to work first on the New River Division. Dowdy
had made a policy that no two members of the same family could work on
the same division and 'Slick's" father was already a Conductor on the
Norfolk Division".

Passed around were two photos I took last Sunday at Kumis. The first one
shows the bridge at the east end of Kumis siding at what is now referred
to as "Riverside", V260. This is where the last large wreck happened on
the VGN at 4:13 AM, November 20, 1958, when EL-C #135 ended up in the
Roanoke River. VGN 135-East, loaded coal train, going 33 MPH, failed to
stop to comply with a train order for the meet with VGN-128 West, and
struck the eighth car of 128-West, while it was taking the siding at 6
MPH. The second shot is one I have been trying to get for quite a while.
I mustered up enough courage to "camp-out" on the US 460 Bridge that
divides Roanoke County form Montgomery County, VA above MP V261. I
didn't have to wait very long until I saw the headlights of a coal
train. I had earlier checked the eastbound signal at Lafayette, and it
was a "high green". This shot shows the famous barn and two story house
that have appeared in several famous past VGN photos of VGN electrics
and steam at the same spot. This photo also shows the concrete
cross-ties applied when the siding was lengthened after the merger. I
have posted this photo as "8069 House Kumis" on this site under "Modern

One of the Brethren told of going to a fancy restaurant with a friend.
He looked over the menu and when the waiter arrived, ordered turtle soup
to start the meal. Shortly, the same waiter brought a bowl of turtle
soup to a neighboring table. One look at this soup prompted him to tell
the waiter to change his soup order from turtle to pea. The waiter
yelled to the kitchen "Hold the turtle and make it pea".

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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