Baltimore & Chicago fast train car model
This model of a wood-body Railway Post Office (RPO) car represents a car from a 'Fast Mail' train. It is an HO-scale model, which stands for Half-O gauge. Each HO-scale model is 1/87th of the full-size prototype.
The actual car would have been part of a train that ran over the Baltimore & Ohio tracks in the 1880s. The route between Baltimore, Maryland, and Chicago, Illinois, included stops at Washington, D.C., Grafton, West Virginia, and Fostoria, Ohio. The 'Fast Mail' trains often pre-empted all other trains on the line. They held to expedited schedules that the Post Office Department arranged over several railroads. First originated in 1877, they operated during the 1880s into the first decade of the twentieth century. These trains carried no passengers, consisting solely of locomotive, at least one storage mail car and RPO car, and a rider coach or caboose for the train crew. The 'Fast Mail' designation disappeared, but similar trains known as 'Solid Mail' trains, which sometimes also carried express in separate cars included in the train, continued in operation until the 1960s.