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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Mar 13 16:47:02 EDT 2014

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin Twenty" with seven of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway. Thanks to Landon Gregory for filling
in for me last week, I had a family emergency and could not attend. He
reported that Bob Cohen visited from Baltimore and the Brethren enjoyed his
book very much.

For Show and Tell I took two items. The first was the April 2014 "Trains
Magazine". This issue is centered around the NE Corridor and how Amtrak
will provide rail service there in the future. One of the Brethren's
favorite pages is the inside cover showing showing NS #7650 pulling a stack
train with the caption "Our rails cover 20,000 miles. Our people go the
extra mile". The second item was given me last Saturday by N&WHS Archivist
Joe Shaw who found it recently at the Archives in GOB East. It is an E. H.
Harriman Memorial Certificate given the Virginian Railway by The American
Museum of Safety, October 16, 1957. It states "In recognition of its
outstanding safety performance for the year 1956" and lists the Virginian
Railway in Group B Railroads-Southern District. I asked the Brethren if
they knew of this award and none could remember hearing about it.

The Jewel from the Past is from October 18, 2007: "In response to the
discussion and emails about a runaway and the steam locomotive repair
facilities at Elmore, I invited an old friend to 'Take Twenty' with us last
night. He is Ronald 'Scotty' Hunter. 'Scotty' was a Hostler at Elmore
from 1945 to 1954. He brought photos of the 12-stall steam engine repair
'long house' (versus roundhouse) Shop that was within the 'Y' Elmore
tracks. He also remembered the classification yard at Elmore, complete
with a hump. As for the Elmore runaway, he said when the engine was
shopped, the reverser was left in 'rear' and the throttle left open. When
a fire was lit and steam built up, she 'left the building' and traveled
several miles past Gulf Junction, Mullens and Harmco to near Otsego where
she 'ran out of steam'. He also recalled a famous wreck of th VGN USE #736
nearby. This wreck was the handiwork of one of the New York Central 'swap
crew' Engineers who had a 'lead foot'. I asked him which steam engine was
his favorite and he said the #702, 'she took off like a scarred rabbit'.
He volunteered his 'worst', the AF #610 (one of the locomotives rebuilt
from the triplex #700). He said you could 'fill the sight glass with water
and half hour later it would be half empty'. He didn't think much of the
FM Trainmasters compared with the steam...'they just weren't hot like the
steam locos'". Note: We were able to get Scotty to the photo session with
the VGN Heritage unit before he passed away last August.

Also last night Landon and Gordon discussed the recent rise in NS Stock,
which is now flerting with the $100 per share mark. Landon told us
something I had never heard before. Part of the N&W-VGN merger agreement
in 1959 allowed all VGN employees to take part in a stock purchasing plan
in place for N&W non-contract employees. Landon expressed his thanks last
night because he took part in this offer in 1959.

Because of the large snow storms this winter, the following seems to be
pertinant: Power Outage..."We had an outage at our place this morning and
my PC, laptop, TV, iPad and new surround-sound music system were all shut
down. Then, I discovered that my iPhone battery was flat and to top it
off, it was snowing outside, so I couldn't play golf. I went into the
kitchen to make coffee and then I remembered that it also needed power, so
I talked with my wife for a few hours. She seems like a nice person...

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon

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