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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Aug 27 08:15:21 EDT 2015

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with five of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway. Most of the conversation was about
the horrible shooting yesterday morning of local TV reporter Alison Parker
and photographer Adam Ward by a former WDBJ-7 reporter Vester Flanagan II.
The incident happened not far from the old Virginian Railway station in
Moneta, VA (near V225).  Roanoke and Moneta were spotlighted on probably
every news network across the nation.

We signed a Happy Birthday card for former VGN Yard Conductor Frank
Breedlove.  Frank is a gentleman farmer now with several farms and real
estate properties and is very proud to wear his VGN RWY cap almost
everywhere he goes.  Frank is now 82.

For Show and Tell I took the Fall 2015 "Classic Trains".  This issue has a
great center fold page 58-59 showing VGN passenger train #4 crossing the
diamond at JK with 13 areas in the 2-page photo numbered with explainations
of each number.  Inclued also is a July 2015 view of the now under
construction Virginian Station.  The Brethren enjoyed seeing their beloved
line spot-lighted in this magazine.

Thanks to all of you who came to Spencer Roundhouse last Saturday and I
enjoyed meeting some for the first time.  One unique vendor at the Show as
a gentleman from Wisconsin who had a Fairbanks Morse collection. He and I
talked of some swaps later.  He was dazzeled when I was able to tell him
about having all of Russell McDaniel's manuals he got when he went to the
FM factory to make the final inspections and accept the Train Masters for
the VGN.  He also was not aware that the VGN TMs were the only ones built,
as far as we know, with Woodward Governors.  More on this meeting later.

The Jewel from the Past like those in a 21 Jeweled Hampton model North
America Railway size 16 with a full plate movement, Wadsworth case, and
double sunk dial, is from October 16, 2008:  "Raymond East recalled
'firing' the VGN 900s.  'I fired that job, and they were great engines.  If
you had good coal, they were easy to fire.  They were scrapped before they
got broke in good'.  Several remembered the giant locos pulling coal trains
out of South Yard going east.  One crew included 'Speed King' Vernon and
our friend 'Nookie' Corning. This discussion also turned to a famous wreck
near Goose Creek where the 903 turned over on her side.  'J. B. Harding was
the Engineer and the cow catcher was hanging off the bridge when she
stopped' remembered Ruf."

I also took the August 2000 "Turntable Times" newsletter of the Roanoke
Chapter NRHS with VGN H16-44 #21 on the cover 'posing ' in the recently
modernized and very clean VGN Roundhouse in Roanoke. Raymond East said
"until the diesels came and they made a spot for their maintenance, the
floors in the Roundhouse were just dirt".  This photo shows new concrete.
The steam structure RH stood  "until after the merger and was soon
determined that this facility was redundant with a more modern Shaffers
Crossing just across town". The cover photo is now on this site undere
"Skip's photos".

Then there's this:  My grandpa swore by adding a spoonful of gunpowder to
his tea every morning.  He said it was a very old remedy to help him live
longer, and it worked.  He lived to the ripe old age of 97.  He left a
widow, two children, fourteen grandchildren, and a fifty-foot crater where
the crematorium used to be!

Time to pull the pin on this one.

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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