The "Dinky"

History of the Quilt


Project Description

Evaluations of Accomplishments

Future Plans for the Project

Proposal Letter

Request to Commissioners

Biographies by Homemakers Clubs

Biographies by Friends of the Library


The Dinky -on the " A" and "W" Railroad

The 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.

The 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.

The 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 numerous.

The 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.

Ussry 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.


Memories that linger within my mind,

Hold pictures of old trains and tickets I find,

Of a Short Line Railroad that was built by hand,

Including a turntable, roundhouse and plenty of land.

A coal burning steam engine chugged down the line,

Little red caboose following not far behind,

The murmur of wheels echoes along the way,

Carrying freight, passengers and mail each day.


Brakeman flagging with his gasoline light,

All clear on the line, not a thing in sight!

Cow-catcher out front for safety sake

Adds beauty that we will always partake.


As you rounded the curve at Italy Hill,

Sparks started flying and brakes began to squeal,

Steam engines boiler steaming hot,

The old gravel pit will be our next stop.


Moving on from Lillington, Mamers and Seminole,

At 5 miles per hour, a derailment, behold!

Then Broadway, Jonesboro we begin to slow,

Engineer Kelly, the whistle he'll blow!


Old timers recall the day a World War II corpse arrived

And the day Runaway train stopped just in time

Homeward bound for Sanford yards

Upsetting passengers and baggage flying.


Edwards, Huffer and Ussery labored and saved

So the next generation would have it made.

Abandoned 20 miles of track account business decline

Purchased a modern electric diesel and retired.


Under leadership of Proctor, Joyce and Reeves

Changes were made to meet Sanfordians needs.

Installed flashing light signals as traffic grew

Leased some ATW boxcars to help pull us through.


The day has come to bring us up to date

Senator Helms and others purchased old No. 8

Gave it to a Youth Camp where joy still prevails.

We shed a tear when carried from our rails.


Old No. 12 in the square on display,

Hundreds view it several times a day,

Replaced by a Diesel to keep up with the times

Steam jobs faded as business declined.


Young, and old exploit the grandiose sights.

The Historic Bell rings day and night!

Climb aboard and reminisce with friends,

Such as Hal Siler, Lawyer Hoyle and Uncle Sam.


The Old Depot on Chatham Street still stands

Tariffs, magazines and spittoon around

Alas! The Office Staff

Has a beautiful spacious place beside the R. R. Track, at last.

-Pauline M. Collins


Many 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.

The 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 Counties.


Written by: Myrtle H. Sykes, President

Mt. Pisgah Extension Homemakers Club

Sources: Sanford Chamber of Commerce

Sanford Herald

Personal Knowledge

Quilt Square: Row 1 Number 2

Embroidery by: Esther Patterson, member

Mt. Pisgah Extension Homemakers Club