Virginia Creeper Whistle

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Sun Dec 18 10:17:48 EST 2016

The "Whistle Machine" ended up at NCTM, where it currently resides. I have insight as I if this is a loaner or permanent donation. The compressor on the setup  is sometimes used along with roundhouse air when firing up the 611. 

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-------- Original message --------From: NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at> Date: 12/17/16  2:12 PM  (GMT-05:00) To: NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at> Subject: Re: Virginia Creeper Whistle 
The Alley "Whistle Machine" was donated to the Watauga Valley RHS&M in Johnson City, TN. There is a N&W whistle on board but I don't know its pedigree. Will assume it went to VMT as a later post claims.
Fred Waskiewicz

On Sat, Dec 17, 2016 at 9:54 AM, NW Mailing List <nw-mailing-list at> wrote:
This is why I often recommend to collectors to sell their railroad items to other collectors and make a donation to their favorite museum.  People make donations to a museum and expect their collection to be displayed.  This is usually not the case.  Most museum can use cash donations more than just "more stuff."   This is just something to consider when planning what to do with your collection.  I have collected builder's and number plates since 1963.  All of my plates will be going back into the hands of other collectors to preserve them for the future.  I also know of cases where donated plates have "disappeared" from museums.  I recently got an email from the Pennsylvania Railroad Museum to be on the look out for one of the Juniata plates from the PRR #460.  They had both of the original plates and now one is "missing."

Ron Muldowney

-----Original Message----- From: NW Mailing List

Sent: Saturday, December 17, 2016 8:30 AM

To: NW Mailing List

Subject: Re: Virginia Creeper Whistle


One thing to remember about larger museums; anywhere between 70-90% of their holdings are in storage and not on display.  A retired Smithsonian employee told me that for them it was close to 95% of the stuff they had. He says there are hundreds of models of ships, airplanes, vehicles, and trains in storage and not on exhibit.  The online list is not likely to show everything sitting in warehouses and basements of the museum buildings.

So maybe they have the whistle; maybe not.

Jim Stapleton

On Dec 17, 2016, at 01:08, NW Mailing List  wrote:

I am curious as to what happened to the FT Nichols whistle after Mr. Lee Alley passed away.

I had the privilege of blowing the whistle several times on Mr. Alley's "whizzle machine".

I have often wondered what became of the whistle after he passed away. I was told that the whistle was donated to the Smithsonian, but do not see it listed in their online listing of exhibits. I have even seen a poorly-worded YouTube video that makes the claim that the whistle was buried with Mr. Alley.

I am just wondering if we will ever hear it blow again.

Thanks in advance.

Jason Hollifield


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Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society and MuseumP.O. Box 432Johnson City, TN 37605-0432

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