Express Agents in 1910

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Subject: Express Agents in 1910

Bluefield Daily Telegraph
November 20, 1910

There is one place on the Norfolk and Western field where the express agent, station agent, telegraph operator and freight agent, who was all one man, made so much money out of the express that it was commonly said that his job was good for $300 per month. Of this sum he did not get more than $50 from the railroad company and he saw to it that express was the chief business.
As long as his ten per cent is coming the express agent does not care much how long the passenger train is held while express is being shifted. All he is after is that ten per cent. He makes it, too, in spite of the fact that the freight rates are cheaper than express rates.
Many a passenger who has stood on a station platform wondering why it took so long to get the train started could readily have known why it was if he had seen all the express being shifted, much of which was being shipped at $1.00 per hundred and out of which the express agent was getting ten cents. The delivery of telegraph messages is another source of profit to the ticket agent, but in small places this does not amount to much, but there are places where it amounts to five and six dollars a month.
There was an unwritten agreement among agents and operators -- he who filled out REA's complicated
end-of-the-month reports received the 10% commissions for the entire month. The assigned agent-
operators usually scheduled vacation to be in place on the last day of the month meaning the extra
man filling in got NADA. H.W.Bundy

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