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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Apr 5 07:54:36 EDT 2012

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with eight of the
Brethren and Friends of the Virginian Railway. I told them about
speaking to the Shrine Hill Women's Book Club on Monday night this week
about the Virginian Railway and the Restoration of the Virginian Station
in Roanoke. None of the 17 ladies had ever heard of the VGN. After about
thirty minutes telling some of the stories told to me by the Brethren,
and relating information about the old VGN, they were very much
interested in the project. They especially liked the VGN heart-shaped
switch lock and my Hamilton 992B.

For Show and Tell, I took several items: A photo of the latest NS
Heritage locomotive, the Nickel plate #8100 that looked to one of the
Brethren "like a giant GE python snake". Also shown was the May 2012
"Trains" magazine that highlights steam locomotives still in service,
Map of Southern RWY "30 years later", and the new NS Heritage
locomotives. Also taken was my collection of RR post cards with several
showing VGN RWY locomotives and locations.

The Jewel from the Past is from December 19, 2005: "I felt a kinship to
the VGN with their attitude of being part of a family and it 'rubbed
off' on me, a lowly apprentice electrician, who was trying to work and
go to college at the same time. I resented the VGN being called 'that
wooden axle' or 'coonskin' line, because I recall enjoying the
Fairbanks-Morse Trainmasters, which to me at that time, were a 'cut
above' the RS3s, RS11s and GP9s that the N&W had".

The ebay report of VGN RWY items sold this time includes the following
items: 1935 VGN Stock Certificate for 25 shares of VGN stock for $29.99;
Short globed lantern (globe marked "VGN Ry" but lantern not marked) for
$100.00; 1918 article "Dumping at Sewell's Point, 2 cars at a time" in
"Engineering News" for $103.50; "Coal on the Move on the VGN" for $9.99;
Negative of VGN box car #63143 for $9.95 and the "Deal of the Month":
"The Virginian Handbook" for $6.99.

Most of the night we discussed two photos I brought that were given to
me by Bernard Pendleton, whom I have given the new title of "Mayor of
Kumis". Mr. Pendleton, who grew up beside the VGN Kumis siding in
Western Roanoke County, has become a great friend and has shared
memories of the area, and how the VGN was a part of his life. We are
still trying to find the origin of the name "Kumis" and "Penny", as he
is called by friends, is working with us. The first photo, which I have
posted on this site under "Skip's Photos", shows the Mill beside US
11/460 with the Kumis siding in the background. This mill had diesel
engine powering the large grinding wheel that turned wheat into flour
and corn into corn meal. It was shut down in 1946 because diesel fuel
was needed for the War effort. The road beside this mill that crossed
the VGN, was used twice as a detour of US11/460 when VGN wrecks blocked
the busy east-west highway. "Penny" told me today that as a young man,
he helped build the now-famous barn beside the Kumis siding. The second
photo shows VGN crews clearing the right-of-way for the 88,000 volt
transmission power lines from Narrows, VA(mostly with bush hogs and
other hand tools) for the VGN electric locomotives, about 1925. More
from Mr. Pendleton and Kumis later.

I told the Brethren about a special presentation about "The past and
future of the Virginian Station in Roanoke" for the Roanoke Valley
Preservation Foundation at the O. Winston Link Museum May 24, 2012 at 6
PM, where they will be the Honored Guests.

Then there's this: Two lawyers were out hunting when they came upon a
pair of tracks. They stopped and examined the tracks closely. The first
lawyer announced, "Those are deer tracks. It's deer season, so we should
follow the tracks and find our prey". The second lawyer responded.
"Those are clearly elk tracks, and elk are out of season. If we follow
your advice, we'll waste the day". Each attorney believed himself to be
the superior woodsmen, and they both bitterly stuck to their guns. They
were still arguing when the train hit them!

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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