Topics

moderated Mail on passenger trains....

George Eichelberger
 

The Southern Railway Presidents' files in the SRHA archives include many pieces of correspondence, PUC filings, responses and ICC Dockets on discontinuing passenger trains

While everyone is probably familiar, to some degree, about why passenger trains were cut off due to lack of passengers, revenues and expenses, the SRHA Presidents' files discuss three other topics that had large roles in the process. The impact on US Mail and Railway Express services on the trains or routes being dropped and how contracts and revenues from those services affected train-off data and arguments are heavily documented.

Although each case was somewhat different a recurring theme was that the Southern wanted OUT of the passenger business (particularly under DW Brosnan's administration but continued under Graham Claytor) but wanted to maintain mail and express revenues. One concept was to combine REA shipments with the railroad's "package" (LCL) services in local freight trains. (A TIES article on Southern's package services is being prepared, anyone with information on the subject is invited to help.)

That idea fell apart with the demise of the Railway Express Agency and the loss of LCL business. (REA is also well documented in the archives, mostly at the overall business level rather than detailed operations.) Southern's alternative, to operate trucks parallel to passenger train routes could generate more paper than killing passenger services because trucking companies saw that as "the camel's nose in the tent" insofar as railroads getting into the trucking business. The Post Office would agree to operate “Star” routes and REA would attempt to schedule truck routes along the same route. (An example of correspondence about mail on SR passenger trains is attached.)

US Mail coming off passenger trains may have had a larger role in the development "Piggy-Back" (PB) and containerized services than we realize. Moving mail out of labor intensive RPO and storage mail cars and into containers (sometimes on the same passenger trains) is discussed in several train off files. Once the concept of moving mail in containers took hold, the focus changed to improving how the containers were moved, including the idea of solid PB trains and interchange between railroads to better meet PO demands. Mail via PB became a strategy for the Southern to use to eliminate passenger routes and quickly became a prime concept in the development of piggy back services.
 
All of these topics are well represented in the archives files and could become important TIES (or commercial magazine) articles. The February archives work session will be Friday and Sat the 14th and 15. If anyone is interested in researching passenger train-offs, REA, RPO and mail services or piggyback services on the Southern, join us at the archives!
 
Ike
 
PS Weather permitting, we can visit newly arrived NS business car No 8 at East Chattanooga, probably on Saturday.

Carl Ardrey
 

And here is Charleston Division brief file on discontinuance of RPO's on trains 35, 36, 135, and 136 in 1949.
CEA

On January 31, 2020 at 9:47 AM George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote:

The Southern Railway Presidents' files in the SRHA archives include many pieces of correspondence, PUC filings, responses and ICC Dockets on discontinuing passenger trains

While everyone is probably familiar, to some degree, about why passenger trains were cut off due to lack of passengers, revenues and expenses, the SRHA Presidents' files discuss three other topics that had large roles in the process. The impact on US Mail and Railway Express services on the trains or routes being dropped and how contracts and revenues from those services affected train-off data and arguments are heavily documented.

Although each case was somewhat different a recurring theme was that the Southern wanted OUT of the passenger business (particularly under DW Brosnan's administration but continued under Graham Claytor) but wanted to maintain mail and express revenues. One concept was to combine REA shipments with the railroad's "package" (LCL) services in local freight trains. (A TIES article on Southern's package services is being prepared, anyone with information on the subject is invited to help.)

That idea fell apart with the demise of the Railway Express Agency and the loss of LCL business. (REA is also well documented in the archives, mostly at the overall business level rather than detailed operations.) Southern's alternative, to operate trucks parallel to passenger train routes could generate more paper than killing passenger services because trucking companies saw that as "the camel's nose in the tent" insofar as railroads getting into the trucking business. The Post Office would agree to operate “Star” routes and REA would attempt to schedule truck routes along the same route. (An example of correspondence about mail on SR passenger trains is attached.)

US Mail coming off passenger trains may have had a larger role in the development "Piggy-Back" (PB) and containerized services than we realize. Moving mail out of labor intensive RPO and storage mail cars and into containers (sometimes on the same passenger trains) is discussed in several train off files. Once the concept of moving mail in containers took hold, the focus changed to improving how the containers were moved, including the idea of solid PB trains and interchange between railroads to better meet PO demands. Mail via PB became a strategy for the Southern to use to eliminate passenger routes and quickly became a prime concept in the development of piggy back services.
 
All of these topics are well represented in the archives files and could become important TIES (or commercial magazine) articles. The February archives work session will be Friday and Sat the 14th and 15. If anyone is interested in researching passenger train-offs, REA, RPO and mail services or piggyback services on the Southern, join us at the archives!
 
Ike
 
PS Weather permitting, we can visit newly arrived NS business car No 8 at East Chattanooga, probably on Saturday.