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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Dec 10 08:42:33 EST 2015

Last night I had the pleasure of "Takin' Twenty" with five of the Brethren
and Friends of the Virginian Railway. Christmas is in the air and the
restauraunt was full of it with a big party taking our regular section.
Most of the conversation was about this glorious season that is now upon
us.  Raymond, Wis, Gordon, Landon and I were almost overwhelmed by our new
location and the great atmosphere in the place.

I told the Brethren about last weekend's successful "Candy Cane Express" at
the Virginia Museum of Transportation whre we safely gave thousands of
rides on Saturday and Sunday.  As my hair and beard are turning white and
my knees are not what they used to be, I acted as "Conductor" complete with
the black vest, brass buttons (with VGN RY on them of course), gold chain
and RR pocket watch (Hamilton 992 B Railroad Approved).  My assignment this
year was to meet and greet the waiting passengers and see that about 90
were "metered" out for boarding, each trip.  It was somewhat like "herding
cats".  This gave me an opportunity to talk to many who were waiting for
the 15 minute ride, and proved to me that the  love of trains is alive and
well in the Star City of the South.  One older gentleman arrived with his
family on his electric "scooter".  Before boarding, his scooter was placed
in the line with 7 baby strollers and "fit right in".  After the ride, I
asked him if he worked for the railroad. "No, but my grandfather was an
Engineer on the Abingdon Branch".  Later in the day a tour bus from "South
Jersey" arrived and most of the passengers rode our train. They were in
Roanoke to see the Steam Trinity:Class A, J and Y steam engines.  I was
very proud to point to Roanoke Shops and tell them about working in the
very place they were built.  Also they got a "dose" of Roanoke's "Other
Railroad" our beloved VGN!

The ebay sale item this week is one I should have bid more for:  a
Virginian Railway "Safety First" sign that sold for $193.05.  It closed on
Saturday afternoon, and I would like to think this is when I was showing
those Yankees the EL-C #135....

The Jewel from the Past is from November 27, 2008:  We talked about back up
bells on VGN cabooses.  A fellow from Princeton told me at the recent
Bluefield Railfest, that he had one and there were small brass bells on
some VGN cabooses that were sounded when back up movements were made.  lI
know about the back up whistles, but have any of you ever seen or heard of
a VGN caboose back up bell?

I told the Brethren the latest report about Phase II of our Virginian
Station Reswtoration in Roanoke.  We are on schedule to finish in April,
2016, Lord Willing.  Most of the utilities are in and plastering is being
done at this time.  Our Committee is meeting next Tuesday to start planning
the "home stretch" work to complete our project.

Then there's this from last Saturday:  After one run as the passengers were
filing by and I thanked them for riding and wished them a "Merry
Christmas", a small boy stopped in front of me with his Dad.  I bent down
and was about to ask if he had enjoyed the ride, when our eyes locked on
each other's.  There's nothing quite like a 3-year-old's innocent, sincere
and noble stare.  Before I could speak, he said "Are you Santa?"  I told
him "No, but I do know him.....

Time to pull the pin on this one.

Departing Now from V248,

Skip Salmon


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