Sunday, January 15, 2012
The Dinky 104
The Milstead 104 "Dinky" Steam Locomotive is a 0-6-0 1905 Rogers Steam Locomotive from Patterson, NJ weighing 94 tons with an overall length of 50 feet. It is one of three left in the world.
Originally owned by West Point Railroad as a switch train, the Dinky was sold to Callaway Mills in 1948 and operated along the 3.3 miles of the Milstead Railroad from the textile mill to the main line in Conyers, Ga. The Milstead 104 hauled bales of cotton to the mill and returned to the main line in Conyers with the finished woven fabric ducking.
In 1960 Callaway Mill closed and relocated its operation to LaGrange, Ga. The Dinky remained in Milstead until 1973 when it was bought by the State of Georgia and located at Georgia Agrirama in Tifton, Ga. A community fundraising effort spearheaded by the Rockdale County Historical Society in 1983 returned the beloved engine to the Conyers area for its final stop. (Transcribed from a sign located at the site of the engine).
I have an interest in locomotives because some of my family ancestors worked on various railroads from Georgia to Texas. The most notable was my great-great-great-grandfather, a locomotive engineer on the original steam-driven Nancy Hanks that ran from Atlanta to Savannah in the late 19th century. When I was a little guy I rode the Nancy Hanks II to visit my grandmother in Savanah, and she would ride the Nancy to visit us. We kept that up until my dad worked long enough for Delta that he could fly grandmother up on standby. It's probably one of the reasons why my dad and uncle made a career in the airline industry, because by the time they decided what to do for a living this nation's train system was in decline and commercial aviation was growing considerably to take its place.