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

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Thu Dec 10 15:24:12 EST 2015

Hello Skip,

I really enjoy your posts each week.  Thank you and Merry Christmas Santa!

Lee Burns

From: NW-Mailing-List [mailto:nw-mailing-list-bounces at nwhs.org] On Behalf Of NW Mailing List
Sent: Thursday, December 10, 2015 8:43 AM
To: NW Mailing List
Subject: "Takin' Twenty" with the Virginian Brethren by Skip Salmon

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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