Dinky project nearing completion

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GRAFTON – After years of restoration, a replica of Grafton’s famous Dinky rail bus is nearing completion.

Grafton Mayor Mike Morrow said only a small patchwork needed to be done on the rail bus body. Once this work is completed, it is planned to paint it and reattach the cowcatcher on the front.

Morrow also said the windows will be wrapped in vinyl, bearing photos of former passengers.

“We’re in the final moves and it will be ready shortly,” Morrow said.

Morrow plans to make a big reveal once the Dinky is over, but no date has been set.


Prior to the construction of the Illinois 100, also known as the Great River Road, the Dinky would operate between Grafton and Alton from 1933 to 1953. The original coach is currently on display at the St. Louis Museum of Transportation.

Today, most of the tracks on which the Dinky once traveled have been removed. A small part still exists and provides freight train service to Ardent Mills in Alton.

In 2014, the Dinky Restoration Committee was formed to attempt to properly restore the original. However, the museum refused to return it to Grafton. The group was able to find a decent connection to a train bus in California and it was shipped to Montana where Tracy Kroom, an antique vehicle restorer, repaired the grille and headlights using original parts.

The project, however, was continually shelved over the years until a new committee was formed in 2017.


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