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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Dec 6 08:23:36 EST 2012

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with nine of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway. We talked about an interview I had
last Friday with a reporter from the "Roanoke Times" about the progress at
the VGN Station in Roanoke. I showed the Brethren a photo taken from the
air in the mid-1950s showing the VGN Railway Complex at South Yard in
Roanoke with streets and landmarks labeled, before current development took
place. I have posted this photo on this site under "Skip's Photos". It was
given to the newspaper for an upcoming article about our Station, that is
destined to become the gateway site for the City's development in the area.
The photo was used by permission of the N&W(and VGN) Historical Society and
I appreciate their support in all that they are doing to preserve the
history of our beloved fallen flag line. In the interview, I told the
reporter that the Friends of the Virginian Railway are supporting an effort
to possibly make use of it again as an Amtrak Station for Roanoke.

The Jewel from the Past is from July 20, 2006: "I told the Brethren about a
discovery at the N&WHS Archives last Friday at a work session. N&W in 1952
proposed a 'low grade' line from what became the Tinker Creek Connection
after the merger to Thaxton, VA. Plans showed it would have paralleled the
VGN from Demuth past Niagra and continued cross-country near Stewartsville
to Thaxton. This line would have eliminated the eastbound grade and need
for pushers on coal trains at Blue Ridge for the N&W. Of course the merger
eliminated the need to build it past the Tinker Creek Connection. Some said
it would have cost more than N&W's cost of the merger". (Ironically, the
Tinker Creek Connection could now come into play with our wish to make the
old VGN Station the Amtrak one).

Passed a round for the Brethren to peruse was the January 2013 "Trains"
magazine. My favorite story is on pages 10 and 11: "The past creeps forward
to surprise us" is Don Phillip's account of NS Heritage locomotives. "Every
single unit was faithfully painted exactly as it could have been, if its
original railroad had never merged" is Don's reason for the success of this
program. By the way, he lists our VGN #1069 as one of his favorites.

Congratulations to the Mechanical Department of the Roanoke Chapter NRHS
for receiving the prestigious Roanoke Valley Preservation Foundation Award
last week. It was for their restoration of the C&W #662 Baldwin switcher
now displayed at the Virginia Museum of Transportation.

I reminded the Brethren about Saturday's annual running of the Candy Cane
Express at the Virginia Museum of Transportation. The museum fee is $5 for
this special day. We will give rides on one of our cabooses and lounge car
#1148 from 10AM to about 4:30 PM for a $2 fee per ride. This is a great way
to get into the Christmas spirit by riding our Christmas train. Both of our
locomotives are out of service for repairs, so we will be using a leased
MP-15 NS switcher for power. Come join us Saturday or Sunday 1-5 PM, if you

Our good Friend of the Virginian Railway Peter L. Lewis, President of the
Apple Ridge Farm, a camp for kids at Copper Hill, VA (www.appleridge.org)
told me that they have now laid tracks for their two cabooses that will be
used there. Peter claims their "Apple Ridge Railroad" is the "first rail
line" ever in Floyd County, VA!

Then there's this, by request: Yesterday I was at my local Kroger buying a
large bag of Purina Dog Chow for my dog, Ellie May. While in the check-out
line, a lady behind me asked if I had a dog. Because I'm retired and have
little to do, on impulse, I told her NO, I didn't have a dog. I was
starting the Purina Diet again. I added that I probably shouldn't, because
I ended up in the hospital last time, but lost 50 pounds before I awoke in
an intensive care ward with tubes coming out of most of my orifices, and
IVs in both arms. I said it was essentially a Perfect Diet and the way it
works is, to load your pant's pockets with Purina Nuggets and simply eat
one or two every time you feel hungry. The food is nutritionally complete
so it works well, and I was going to try it again. Horrified, she asked if
I ended up in intensive care, because the dog food poisoned me. I told her
no, I stopped to pee on a fire hydrant and a car hit me!

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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