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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Jan 31 06:56:00 EST 2013

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with seven of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway. Most were drenched by the tremendous
rain that hit our area about meeting time.

For Show and Tell I took two items. The first is a 1922 VGN track chart
from the N&W (and VGN) HS Archives, showing the Roanoke Yard and trackage
from mile post 243 to 245 in Roanoke. This chart shows the two main lines
and 15 yard tracks that were active at that time. It also showed the
Roanoke Railway and Electric tracks (Roanoke's street car line) and where
they crossed the VGN two places. The first was at grade where Jefferson
Street crossed the VGN and the other just west of the N&W diamond at the
Walnut Ave interlocking. The eastern crossing is where the street car hit
VGN #3 that time. The second item was something I found in one of my
"stashes", a Roanoke Railway and Electric device for dispensing street car
tokens. This item brought back memories for the Brethren and they recalled
riding the street cars and seeing them cross the VGN coming out of their
near-by motor barn. Most of them remember riding the street cars and
several mentioned that on New Year's eve there were usually several hundred
torpedoes placed on the street car crossing tracks to "celebrate" the New

The ebay report this time includes the following VGN items recently sold:
1914 VGN Public Timetable for $50.00; 1941 Annual Pass for $34.77; Original
slide of EL-C crossing the bridge at Glyn Lyn for $24.95, New River #22
1955 Employee Timetable for $30.00; several H. Reid's books for
$20.50-44.95; VGN in Color for $59.95; "Coal on the Move" booklet for
$45.95; 1933 Gilbert Yard blueprint for $49.98; 50 VGN pencils for $9.99
(DEAL OF THE MONTH);1936 VGN Safety Rule Book for $22.72 and Virginian Tall
Globe lantern for $945.00.

Felix Price, who served as Assistant Power Director at the VGN Power Plant
at Narrows, brought a great 1954 photo of an EL-3A spotting coal cars into
the Power Plant. He said the plant used six or seven full hoppers of coal
each day to keep the electrics running. He said John McKinzie of
Peterstown, WV took the photo and gave it to him. Felix also told the
Brethren about setting up the system for EL-2Bs that were using
regenerative dynamic braking. When the situation was not available to have
them assist another coal train power up Clark's Gap, the dynamic braking
used the New River as a Dynamic Braking grid. Felix said that sometimes
after this operation, there were many dead fish seen in the River and
"they'd never let you do that now!"

The Jewel from the Past is from September 21, 2006: "I asked about high
rail cars being used, as requested on this site by Ed Chambers. Slick Inge
remembered the old Ford Station Wagon used by Superintendents. He said he
recalled the Superintendent riding 'shotgun' while a Trainmaster drove,
with a Conductor being assigned as crew, riding in the back seat with the
other members of the inspection party. Also the question of what type of
shirt was worn by engineers with their overalls, was asked. The consensus
was that most wore a blue denim shirt. Of course engineer 'Double A' Akers'
name came up regarding the white starched cap he always wore with the denim
shirt and overalls".

Then there's this: The "Washington Post" published the winning submissions
to its yearly contest of "alternate meanings for common words. The
following are the Brethren's favorites: COFFEE: The person upon whom one
coughs. FLABBERGASTED: Appalled by discovering how much weight one has
gained. LYMPH: To walk with a lisp. And my favorite BALDERDASH: A rapidly
receding hairline.

Time to pull the pin on this one.

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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