Burlington mail car model
This model is an example of a car with a thirty-foot Railway Post Office (RPO) apartment on the Burlington Railroad. The distribution cases inside were arranged in a 'U' fashion across the bulkhead between the Railway Express Agency and RPO sections. There was a small creep door under the distribution table below the distribution cases that allowed emergency passage between the two sections. It was secured from the RPO-side of the opening.
This heavyweight steel-body car is typical of rail car design following the 1912 Steel-Car Act until the introduction of lighter-weight, stainless-steel sheathed cars in the 1930s. Many prototype cars continued in regular use until the late 1960s.
The Burlington car would have belonged to the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy (CB&Q) railroad. The CB&Q ran through about a dozen states, mostly in the Midwest and Northwest, and is possibly best known for the introduction of the stainless steel Zephyr passenger train cars in the 1930s. Burlington merged with the Great Northern, Northern Pacific and Spokane, Portland and Seattle railroads in 1970, forming the Burlington Northern Railroad.
In 1918 the United States Railway Administration assumed management of the nation’s railroads. During World War I, the nation’s railroads were very important to the government. The American Railway Express Company was founded the same year with the consolidation of four express delivery companies: the Adams, the American, the Southern, and the Wells Fargo Company. American Railway Express—or ARE—was technically formed as a partnership with the United States government. The name was changed to Railway Express Agency, Inc. in 1929.
Johnson, C.E., and B. Litt. Scranton. Railway Express Services & Classifications. Pennsylvania: International Correspondence Schools, 1953.
Garrett, Klink, and Toby Smith. Ten Turtles to Tucumcari: A Personal History of the Railway Express Agency. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2003.