Yazoo Delta Railroad

The Yazoo-Delta Railroad (sometimes known as the Yellow Dog) was a branch line that opened in August 1897 between Moorhead and Ruleville, Mississippi. It was extended to Tutwiler, Mississippi, and Lake Dawson and was acquired by the Yazoo and Mississippi Railroad by 1903.[1]

Possible origins of the nicknameEdit

One theory is that the nickname came about because of the initials YD on locomotives.[2]

An alternative is that the nickname applied originally to the Yazoo and Mississippi railroad and that was later applied to the Yazoo-Delta railroad.[3]

Historian Paul Oliver claims that in Rome, Mississippi, "they declared that it was named after a mongrel hound that noisily greeted every train as it passed through".[4]

Blues connectionsEdit

W. C. Handy wrote about his first experience of the blues when he encountered a blues musician in Tutwiler, Mississippi, on this line.[citation needed]

Big Bill Broonzys Southern Blues contains the line "where the Southern crosses the Dog", referring to Moorhead, Mississippi, where the line crossed the Southern Railway.[1]

Scrapper Blackwell's song "Goin' Where the Monon Crosses the Yellow Dog" also references the Monon Railroad in Indiana. The two lines do not actually meet.[citation needed]

In Popular CultureEdit

The Yazoo Delta or "Yellow Dog" Railway plays an integral part in August Wilson's work The Piano Lesson.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b Long steel rail: the railroad in American folksong, Norm and David Cohen
  2. ^ Mule trader: Ray Lum's tales of horses, mules, and men, William R. Ferris, retrieved March 26, 2010.
  3. ^ Where the Southern cross the Yellow Dog: on writers and writing, Louis Decimus Rubin, retrieved March 26, 2010.
  4. ^ Oliver, Paul (1990), Blues Fell This Morning: Meaning in the Blues, Cambridge, p. 67, ISBN 9780521377935