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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Aug 28 08:29:05 EDT 2014

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with six of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway.  We signed a Happy Birthday card for
VGN Clerk Robert, "Bob", "Little Abner" Glass who served at Sewells Point
mostly, and still lives in Norfolk.  Wis Sowder and I remembered Wis's
brother Keith talking about working with "Little Abner" and telling about
the collier Captains relationship with VGN Clerks like Bob helping get the
right "mix" of coal for their ships.  Sometimes liquor was offer as a
bribe.  Bob is quite a colorful fellow and visits us often in Roanoke when
he can.  His card has one of the best cartoons on it:  An elderly lady in
her housecoat is standing in front of the refrigerator with a dog on the
door"  "Well tell me Randy.  Has someone eaten all the refrigerator magnets
again?"  "Little Abner" turns 87 on Sunday.

We also signed a Get Well card for former VGN Chief Clerk (also from
Sewells Point) Glen McLain who is in a local hospital suffering from
pneumonia.  Keep Glen in your prayers.

>From several weeks ago report, the now famous new hybrid GE with an EMD
cab, now being overhauled in Roanoke Shops, is causing quite a "stir" among
rail-dom.  The new class for this unusual unit has been designated
C40-8.5W.  A little bird told me that Chuck Sloan, Manager of the Shop,
suggested using the 8.5 designation because of the address for Roanoke
Shops, which is 8 1/2 Street in Roanoke.  Makes sense to me.

Last night someone asked if anyone had a pocket knife.  Immediately Landon
Gregory presented his Uncle Henry and I, my faithful companion Case XX.
 This prompted Raymond East to tell about a VGN Car Peck who was once asked
if he had a pocket knife answered:  "I got my britches on don't I?"  A
conversation ensued about pocket knives and I learned a lot.  The noise
caused by opening and closing is called the "walk and talk".  Seems both
Landon and I have good "walk and talk" in ours....

For Show and Tell I took the Summer 2014 Biz-NS newsletter.  Norfolk
Southern has now modified bi-level auto racks to haul the new higher Ford
Vans (like the one on American Picker TV Show).  Also BMW has a new
assembly plant in Greer, SC and NS handles their transportation needs.
 This caused several of the Brethren to comment on the hot VGN  Ford train
#86 that was dedicated to the Ford truck plant in Norfolk.  The VGN
provided a "just in time" service to this plant and Landon said the VGN
would do almost anything to "get that train to Norfolk on time".

The Jewel from the Past, like those in a 16 jewel Columbus "Railway King"
lever set, hunter case movement in swing rise with stem at 3 O'clock, is
from January 24, 2008:  "  I showed the Brethren a "Ditch/Crossing Light
Functions" decal now on every locomotive in service since 1997, that
operated on pubic grade crossings at speeds greater that 20 MPH, as
required by the FRA.  It reads 'Sounding the horn at anytime will turn on
flashing lights for 30 seconds.  A manual push button located under the
horn valve when pushed at any time will turn on flashing lights for 30
seconds.  A selector switch on the control stand will turn on
ditch/crossing lights continuously either steady on or flashing (for steady
on, headlights have to be on bright, and flashing lights timed out)".  Or
course this impressed the Brethren who had only regular headlights on the
VGN.  Besides, "ditch lights would have looked read 'weird' on an EL-2B".

Then there's this:  One day he first grade teacher was reading the story of
Chicken Little to her class.  She came to the part where Chicken Little
warns the farmer.  She read, "and Chicken Little went up to the farmer and
said "The sky is falling!"  The teacher then asked the class, "And what do
you think that farmer said?"  One little girl raised her hand and said, "I
think he said:  "Holy Crap!  A talking chicken!"

Time to pull the pin on this one!

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon

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