Tuesday, January 17, 2012
I obtained another rare piece of Virginian Railway history when I received the GRS type - 2A Train Order Spectacle and Blade. I am told it came from the Virginian's Salem, Virginia station, milepost 251, when it was demolished in the 1970's. The spectacle is cast iron and weighs 85 pounds. In some pictures it appears it was made for four colored lens to give four indications. Actually, the last hole was for another weight to be added if necessary. On mine, the additional weight was not in place and the hole was covered with a thick sheet metal plate. The blade is wood and black on its back side. Assembled, all pieces were six feet in length and weigh 90 pounds, making it a difficult item to lift up a tall pole. Mine is mounted on a wall inside our home in a room decorated to represent the office for an agent-operator at "SA" Salem, Va. The picture shows it in use as a westbound freight train passes the station in November 1959.
Weighing a few hundred pounds, this cast iron stove was used in a Virginian Railway wood caboose of the C-1 class and built between 1906 and 1924. The donor caboose had been purchased from the N&W in 1960, a year after the VGN/N&W merger, and placed beside a private lake in Nottoway County, Virginia. After arriving at our Relic Garden in 2011, it has been repaired, cleaned and treated so it can continue to be useful for many more decades. It addition to cooking outdoor meals it is used by Charlotte as a wood fired kiln for her pottery work.