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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Jun 7 08:25:50 EDT 2012

Last night, on the 68th Anniversary of D-Day (NEVER FORGET!), I had the
pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with eight of the Brethren and Friends of
the Virginian Railway. The buzz this week was about the photo I
displayed of the Norfolk Southern Virginian Railway SD70ACe #1069
Heritage Locomotive. This brought back many memories for the Brethren,
seeing the big EMD decked out in their colors! I read to them some of
the comments about this one, made by rail fans: "Finally a VGN EMD;
absolutely, positively the best one yet!; should be called 'eye candy';
all she needs is a pantograph; what I looked forward to the most since
the beginning of the heritage program; classy!; NS just knows how to
make rail fanning better;'Bumble Bee'; Officially my favorite; and 'I
want one'".

For Show and Tell, I took my latest VGN RWY purchase, a short globe 1958
"VGN" lantern. When John Grabarek came up from Salisbury, NC to "Take
Twenty" with us last week, he stopped on his way at an Antique Store
between Rocky Mount and Boones Mill, and spotted it. I followed up and
found out that it is one of the last oil lanterns issued by the VGN
(1-1958 with serial number K4490). This Adlake Kero lantern is obviously
of lower quality than my other short globe versions, but the real deal.
Thanks John for the "heads up". It will be displayed at the VGN Station.

The first day of this month marked the 55th Anniversary of the last VGN
steam locomotive used on the VGN when fire was allowed to go out of the
251, VGN 0-8-0 class SB. H. Reid tells it this way: Engineer John Whitt
and Fireman Winfield Sexton "moved five loads of new steel materials for
the 70-ton hoppers built at a rate of seven daily in the Princeton
shops". After "Takin' Twenty", this crew discovered machinist inspector
Roy Jackson Dobbins, "already choking the fire" on 251. The crew used FM
H16-44 #47 for the rest of the shift...

The Jewel from the Past is from February 16, 2006: "I told the Brethren
about discussing the merger with Louis Newton, who was an N&W
Trainmaster at the time. He said before the merger, N&W crews grouped
Virginian RWY empty hoppers for a once a week transfer back to the VGN
at Gilbert, WV. On December 1, 1959, instructions were issued to
discontinue this operation. Newton also said that for about 10 days,
this could not be done, until all of the former VGN coal tipples could
be modified by N&W forces to accept the N&W hoppers with the 'peaked'
ends. This information helps explain why some suspected that VGN hoppers
did not have 'peaks' to help prevent N&W hoppers from using certain VGN
customer's coal tipples".

Passed around was the July "Trains" magazine. This one has a great map
of the month of N&W/VGN coal operations west of Roanoke. Also
highlighted are the NS Heritage locomotives. Unfortunately the VGN was
not out in time for this. For a web site to see all the current photos
of all of the NS Heritage units go to:

The ebay report this time includes the following VGN items sold: "N&W
and VGN in Color" by H. Reid for $19.51; eight photos and negatives set
for $56.65; Article about Tola, VA Bridge for $15.25; Slide of H16-44
#21 in 1959 for $31.00; Slide of #138 in Mullens in 1958 for $42.38; and
a Slide of #126 and #33 in 1957 for $59.00.

I told the Brethren about a bus trip from Roanoke to Spencer and return
on July 4, 2012 to see all of the NS Heritage Units and June 24 and July
7, 2012 NS Steam (behind 630) excursion trips. We may have a Road Trip
on the horizon.

The "Why was it named Kumis" saga continues: The June 4, 2012 "Roanoke
Times" featured a photo of the Kumis crossing (US 460) in their "100
years ago today" feature.

Then there's this: In the 16th and 17th centuries everything had to be
transported by ship, and it was before the invention of commercial
fertilizers, so large shipments of manure were quite common. It was
shipped dry, but if water got to it, it became heavier and fermentation
began, which produced methane gas, and if someone came below deck with a
lighted lantern...BOOM. After that happened, bundles of manure were
always stamped with the instruction "Stow high in transit" on them so
that any water coming into the hold would not touch this volatile cargo,
and start the production of methane. This evolved the term "S.H.I.T."
(Stow High In Transit)which has come down through the centuries, and is
in use to this very day. You probably did not know the true history of
this word...I always thought it was a golf term.

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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