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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Oct 11 08:07:57 EDT 2012

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with eight of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway. Most of the talk of the night was
about getting our annual invitation from Ronald Mattox to the Reunion of
former Virginian Railway Employees October 27, 2012 at the Uptown Coffee
Cafe in Victoria, VA. At least some of the Brethren have attended this
event since I started meeting with them in 2004. We haven't made it a "Road
Trip" caravan for several years, but this year many want to go, so we plan
to attend as a group. Wis Sowder recalled that most who attended in
"Cornbread's" van the last time he went have 'taken the west bound' since.
I showed them the invitation from Ronald, with the Virginian caboose #342
proudly on display, and Doctor Davis showed us where is mother was born
near the old water tower in the background. Good times and memories will be
shared on October 27, I am sure....

The Jewel from the Past is from May 31, 2006: "I showed the Brethren a
letter to us concerning 'car poleing', where a rail car is shoved along on
an adjacent track by a locomotive,using a wooden pike or pole about 10 feet
long reinforced on each end with a steel ring. 'Cornbread' said he used
this method to move a car once. He said that they had 'jerked' the car and
it did not get to the clear so they poled it. He said after the pole was in
place 'we got the Hotel out of the way and let 'er go!' Seems this was a
rare occurrence on the VGN". I asked the Brethren if any of them remembered
this practice. Wis Sowder said it reminded him of the way they started coal
hoppers moving at the Sewells Point Coal Pier toward the loaders. A manual
device was used to "pinch" a wheel forward, thus starting the car down the
inclined track. Wis said there were Brakeman on each car to man the brakes,
and the starters were called "Pinchers". Landon recalled poleing at Bedford
when was operator there. Cars were moved into a siding this way, when the
track seemed not to be suitable for a locomotive's weight. I believe the
newly painted VGN SA #4, last VGN steam engine left, now at VMT, has a
special carrier and a new pole in place, onboard.

The ebay report this time includes the following Virginian Railway items
sold: H. Reid book for $50,00; VGN RWY paperweight for $24.99; 1928 VGN
Timetable #11 for $179.51 and "The Virginian in Color" for $44.46.

I showed the Brethren a new ad we are using to advertise the Roanoke
Chapter NRHS Fall Excursions to Bristol and Shenandoah November 10 and 11,
2012. Landon Gregory is our Ticket Agent and says that we have plenty of
seats left on this Veterans Day Special out of Roanoke. He can supply you
with information and tickets at 540 774 0611.

Visiting us last night was Chip Oaks, explosion expert in the mining
industry, who is a real rail enthusiast and Friend of the Virginian
Railway. He discussed several items collected over the years that he wants
to donate to our Station cause. Speaking of the Roanoke Station Project,
Phase II is on track and several interviews by local media were on TV and
Radio this week, keeping the VGN, and our project in the news.

Then there's this: A Minister noticed a local lad mowing a lot of lawns in
his neighborhood. One day the boy put a "For Sale" sign on the mower. The
minister asked if the boy would trade the mower for a bicycle that had been
donated to his Church. The boy took it for a spin and agreed to the trade.
After several days, the boy was riding by the Church and observed the
Minister trying to get the old mower started, with a pull rope. The boy
stopped to talk and the Minister asked the boy if he had any suggestions as
to how to start it. The boy answered, "I just give it a good cussin' and it
seems to respond". The Minister said, "I can't do that; I haven't used
profanity for over 40 years". The boy responded, "Keep pulling on that
rope; it'll come back to you!"

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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