RPO Protection

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at nwhs.org
Fri Nov 20 02:03:22 EST 2015

Date: Wed, 18 Nov 2015 22:26:17 -0500
Subject: RPO Protection

I just got finished my Arrow and something in Mr. Newton's story has me curious.  He mentioned that on a trip into Cincinnati he was on a train where the RPO car had to be set out because of a hot box.  I'm curious if he remembers what had to be done to protect the mail service?  Did all of the pouched mail have to be moved to a different car to continue its trip into Cincy?

Rick C Stone
NWHS #0001

November 20, 2015

Good morning, Stoney:

There are two scenarios I am aware of if a working Railway Post Office (RPO) was set out of a train with a hot journal or other mechanical defect which prevented safe train operation.  If there were two working RPOs in the train consist, the car would have been secured from the inside on all doors except one side door that would be fastened with a LA lock.  The crew of that car would have "locked out" all of the mail inside but left it in the car except for a few working pouches to make connections, then continued the trip in the remaining operating RPO car and the Postal Inspectors would be notified at the next station by telephone or telegram.  The Postal Inspectors would monitor the car until it could be taken to a terminal for unloading.

The more likely situation is that there was only one working RPO and it had to be set out.  The crew stayed in the car on the siding with doors secured.  They continued to work the mail for as long as the battery power for lights or daylight allowed.  When a car repairman fixed the problem so that a local freight or other train could move the car to the closest terminal, the mail was transferred and the crew relieved to deadhead to wherever they needed to be.

Best wishes to all for Thanksgiving,


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