On September 20, 2008 Illinois Railway Museum presented a day dedicated to the Railway Mail Service and Railway Post Office cars.

Back in the day, mail was not only carried by rail but in some cases was sorted enroute aboard Railway Post Office cars or cars with an RPO compartment. Since some trains didn’t stop in smaller towns they would pick up the bag of outgoing mail that was on a stand called a mail crane. An iron hook deployed from the RPO car would make the grab. Mail being delivered to the town would be simply kicked out the door at the same time.

Retired employees of the USPO Railway Mail Service are doing the honors here. Because the train is not turned at the end of the demonstration railway they were also making catches on the reverse moves.

(Note the video footage is not necessarily in order shot.)

The car is CB&Q 1923, combination baggage / RPO. Built by ACF in 1914. Power are two F7’s, Metra 308 (ex-C&NW 414) and MILW 118C.

BTW, the car on the end of the train, the “Inglehome” belonged for a time to Univ. of Illinois’s Illini Railroad Club which called it “Chief Illini.”

September 20, 2008