THE STORY OF THE QUILT SQUARE, THE DINKY - ON THE "A" AND
"W" RAILROAD, BY MT. PISGAH EXTENSION HOMEMAKERS CLUB FOR
HARNETT COUNTY HISTORICAL QUILT, 1989
The Dinky -on the " A" and "W" Railroad
quilt square with the picture of the motor car, locally called the
"jitney" or "dinky", belonged to and traveled on the
A & W (Atlantic and Western) Railroad, which ran its 24 mile journey
twice daily from Sanford to Lillington. The "jitney" served as
a passenger car and carried U. S. mail between the two destinations. It
was operated by gasoline. Stops between Lillington and Sanford included
Summerville, Mamers, Arlington, Ryes, Seminole, Broadway, and Jonesboro
and any place where passengers needed to be picked up. Tickets could be
purchased at the depots. Passenger service was at its height during the
'20's, '30's and early '40's.
story of the railroad and the nostalgic motor car began when the A &
W Railroad was incorporated in 1889 and started in 1903, at which time
two miles of track bad been laid from Sanford to Jonesboro. By 1905 the
line extended to Broadway. It took eight more years to get to Lillington
in 1913. The A & W train carried mostly lumber at first, but later
carried petroleum, fertilizer, and coal. During World War II, it carried
many tons of sand and gravel.
passenger and U. S. Mail Service on the ",jitney" or
"dinky" began in September 1917. It was discontinued about
1950, when buses for the mail and family cars for the people became more
railroad and motor cars were built by Edwards Motor Company of Sanford
(later known as Saco-Lowell) under the leadership of Mr. H. P. Edwards.
He sold the railroad to Mr. E. T.
of Sanford. Operators of the "jitney" and train included Mr.
Paul Kelly and Mr. Fred Weaver. Mr. Kelly was the conductor, and Mr.
Weaver was also conductor and did most of the mechanical work. Depot
agents included Mr. W. R. Cranford at Lillington, Mr. N. D. Bradley and
later his wife, Alice B. Bradley, at Broadway, and Mr. T. L. Riddle, Mr.
Frank Ussry, Mrs. Nan Huckans, Mrs. Pauline Collins, and others in
Sanford. Mrs. Collins worked for the A & W Railroad for thirty-three
years. As a tribute, Mrs. Collins wrote the following poem about the A
& W Railroad.
THE HISTORIC A &
that linger within my mind,
pictures of old trains and tickets I find,
a Short Line Railroad that was built by hand,
a turntable, roundhouse and plenty of land.
coal burning steam engine chugged down the line,
red caboose following not far behind,
murmur of wheels echoes along the way,
freight, passengers and mail each day.
flagging with his gasoline light,
clear on the line, not a thing in sight!
out front for safety sake
beauty that we will always partake.
you rounded the curve at Italy Hill,
started flying and brakes began to squeal,
engines boiler steaming hot,
old gravel pit will be our next stop.
on from Lillington, Mamers and Seminole,
5 miles per hour, a derailment, behold!
Broadway, Jonesboro we begin to slow,
Kelly, the whistle he'll blow!
Old timers recall the day a World
War II corpse arrived
the day Runaway train stopped just in time
bound for Sanford yards
passengers and baggage flying.
Huffer and Ussery labored and saved
the next generation would have it made.
Abandoned 20 miles of track
account business decline
a modern electric diesel and retired.
leadership of Proctor, Joyce and Reeves
were made to meet Sanfordians needs.
flashing light signals as traffic grew
some ATW boxcars to help pull us through.
day has come to bring us up to date
Helms and others purchased old No. 8
it to a Youth Camp where joy still prevails.
shed a tear when carried from our rails.
No. 12 in the square on display,
view it several times a day,
by a Diesel to keep up with the times
jobs faded as business declined.
and old exploit the grandiose sights.
Historic Bell rings day and night!
aboard and reminisce with friends,
as Hal Siler, Lawyer Hoyle and Uncle Sam.
Old Depot on Chatham Street still stands
magazines and spittoon around
The Office Staff
Has a beautiful spacious place
beside the R. R. Track, at last.
people have found the A & W Railroad and its motor car fascinating.
The A & W was featured about the year 1981 in "Rail
Classics" Magazine. A toy corporation took the blue prints of the
old A & IN locomotive and manufactured its replica. The toy
locomotive is complete with sliding doors and the A & W logo.
motor car, locally called the " jitney" or "dinky"
was small, consisting of only one car, but it gave excellent service. It
is a vital and nostalgic part of the history of Harnett and Lee
by: Myrtle H. Sykes, President
Pisgah Extension Homemakers Club
Sanford Chamber of Commerce
Square: Row 1 Number 2
by: Esther Patterson, member
Pisgah Extension Homemakers Club