Veteran dinky conductor spends last day on post
He will retire after 17 years of service to Princeton
Every season, Princetonians swarm in and out of campus for holidays, interviews, social events, hopping on the dinky as their first leg of the trip back home or to the City. For the last 17 years, Tom Sparich, a Pennsylvania native, has tirelessly operated this only train serving Princeton, providing directions, checking tickets, and helping riders overburdened by luggage.
The 31-year soft-spoken New Jersey Transit veteran stepped into the dinky for his final shift this Friday. In appreciation for his service, his coworkers had decorated the three carts of the train and collected "thank-you" notes from passengers throughout the week.
The Tab caught Tom during the short waiting period he has between departures. During our short conversation, we learned that Tom often worked 11-12 hour shifts per day, and barely received any days-off throughout his 17 years on the Dinky. The conductor stood firm in his post even on holidays like Thanksgiving and New Years Day. The dinky runs from 5AM to 2AM on weekdays.
"What I really appreciate about this place is that the people here are very nice," Tom told us with a smile. The case isn't the same at other places the conductor had been assigned.
Tom will return home to his wife, 3 children and 7 grandchildren tomorrow, he told us.
The last dinky Tom will operate departs from Princeton station at 1:45AM Saturday morning. Princetonians wishing to sign a card for Tom or send a note of thanks should catch him by then.
Thank you Tom.