Memories of the DINKY and Pinson TN
In the fall of 1950, about 5 or 6 weeks after school started Dad moved the family from Henderson TN to Pinson TN. (School started early then because Chester Co schools "let out" five or six weeks for cotton picking.) As the crow flew we were only a long block from the railroad tracks. There was no depot at Pinson as there had been at Henderson but there was a siding that the trains used to allow other trains to pass in the opposite direction. The only freight that I ever saw loaded or unloaded at Pinson were a few loads of freshly cut cross ties that were stacked beside the very short dead end side track waiting to be shipped in a gondola. I remember once seeing three gondolas waiting to be loaded, which was probably all the short spur would hold. [This short side track has been removed many years.]
The Gulf Mobile and Ohio had a local train that ran south every morning and back north again in the late afternoon. "The DINKY" or as some called it "The Local" ran from Jackson TN to Corinth MS. It had one engine, one coach and a baggage-mail car. The Pinson Post Office, which was just across the two lane highway 45 from the tracks got their mail from the Dinky and except for the three local rural mail routes only from the Dinky. The Post Mistress walked out across the highway with a mail bag to send south as the Dinky pulled onto the passing siding and received the mail bag from Jackson each morning rain or shine five days a week from the train and walked back across the highway to the post office. A female postal clerk performed this chore on Saturday mornings. This exchange of mail was repeated on the return trip in the afternoon, except on Saturday afternoon the train mail clerk unlocked the post office lobby, deposited the north bound bag and picked up the Pinson north bound mail bag. [The Pinson post office only had one person working each day plus the three rural mail carriers five days plus Saturday mornings.]
Dad learned that the Dinky was going to be discontinued in a few weeks as they had lost the mail contract and trucks would start bringing the mail. Dad decided since we kids had never ridden on a train that he would take us to the West Tenn County Fair in Jackson TN on the Dinky. Dad did not know that government hearings were required and as per James Lemly's book the GM&O removed local passenger trains from Jackson TN to Meridain MS in 1951. After the mail service ended I never saw the Dinky stop at Pinson again so with no depot Pinson did loose its passenger service when the mail went to the six wheel truck.
That Saturday afternoon during fair week when the Dinky made its usual stop on the passing siding at Pinson we were ready and boarded the train bound for Jackson TN. We four kids with our parents were the only passengers. The ride in the coach was uneventful except it was my first ride (and only ride - except for tourist trains). The tracks out of Pinson goes mainly in woods and fields not far from the Forked Deer River which is crossed just south of Jackson. The Dinky arrived in the south edge of Jackson at their depot (or stopped for us). After attending the fair Dad had prearranged a taxi ride home to Pinson as their was no south bound passenger train until the Dinky ran Monday morning.
The Illinois Central (IC) also used these tracks. The IC never stopped at Pinson, except to sometimes pull onto the passing siding to let another train pass. In those days there was a lot of steam engines and a few diesels passing through Pinson.
Pinson TN also had a GM&O track repair crew. Preston Moore was the foreman for this crew of all Black men except for Mr Moore. They had a open top speeder that they used to go up and down the tracks. Some times the speeder would have one or two trailers behind it usually with one or more rails or ties to replace worn track or defective ties, These small cars and the motor car could be picked up by the wooden handles at each corner and removed from the main track when a train was coming. Once in the early 1950's there was a mix up in communications. The speeder with a trailer with a RR track on it was traveling down the track when a train was coming. The crew jumped off the speeder but did not have time to remove the trailer. The rail that the trailer was carrying wound up in the approaching engine. No injuries were reported and Mr Moore did not loose his job.
The house that Mr Moore lived in sat on the narrow strip of land between highway 45 and the railroad tracks (still there in 2008). There were two other smaller houses that were painted the same color that were rented. I think that these houses had at one time belonged to the RR and had been used to house RR track workers. I think by 1949 all three were privately owned by Mr Moore. The Pinson repair crew was eleminated in the 1950's due to cost cutting or modernization. Mr Moore was not ready to retire, so he managed to get reassigned so that he could complete the necessary years of service for his retirement. For some time he was gone from home during the week until he did retire from the Gulf Mobile and Ohio Railroad.
Copyright © 2008 Glen Peddy