Did Amtrak ever use mail hooks?

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

desertflyer

Lead Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Jul 29, 2013
Messages
320
Location
San Francisco
I am trying to remember if Amtrak ever used mail hooks or delivered mail bags out of moving trains to remote places. Was this something Amtrak ever did?
 

denmarks

Train Travel Enthusiast
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 21, 2003
Messages
623
Location
Chico, CA
I am pretty sure mail hooks and catcher pouches ended their use way before Amtrak was formed I think it ended in the 30's,
 

NS VIA Fan

Conductor
Joined
Sep 24, 2011
Messages
1,975
Location
Nova Scotia
Union Pacific ordered 9 Stainless Steel RPO's from Budd in 1963 complete with the mail bag hook attachment on the door....... but I don't think they made it to Amtrak 8 years later in May '71.


Six of the cars went to VIA and were rebuilt in 1993 as Baggage Cars. You can still faintly read United States Mail Railway Post Office on their sides.
 

Devil's Advocate

‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎‏‏‎ ‎
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
12,797
Location
EOTL
Nope, it was still in use in the 50s when I was a boy growing up on the SP Line in Texas.
I wish I could have seen that. You ever posted any photos of those days?

I've been through a mail car at the California State Railway Museum. No way was it Amtrak vintage.
Neither were most of Amtrak's baggage cars. 😅
 

zephyr17

Engineer
Joined
Jul 22, 2009
Messages
5,359
Location
Washington State
Only Railway Post Offices used the mail hooks. Storage mail never did.

Amtrak handled quite a bit of
storage mail over the years, but not in recent years.

The Post Office terminated almost all remaining RPO lines in 1967 (the "great mail off" that greatly contributed to the demise of railroad passenger service), well before Amtrak.

I think there remained an RPO line into the 1970s on the Northeast Corridor that continued under Amtrak. I do not know whether it involved mail hooks.
 

AmtrakMaineiac

Streetcar Motorman
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 2, 2021
Messages
154
Location
Lubec, ME
I think there remained an RPO line into the 1970s on the Northeast Corridor that continued under Amtrak. I do not know whether it involved mail hooks.
The New York and Washington RPO was run by Penn Central and continued into the Conrail era. I forget when it was discontinued. I don't know if they actually sorted mail on it or if it was just closed pouch. Amtrak did not run this train.

I do remember Amtrak had a mail train that ran NYC to Boston via Springfield for a while in the 1990s? IIRC it only carried passengers in one direction mail only in the other.
 

jphjaxfl

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Nov 24, 2005
Messages
1,244
Location
Jacksonville, FL
I worked for the Post Office in Jeffersonville, IN is 1966 through 1968. We still received mail from the Chicago, Logansport and Louisville RPO from PRR Train 94 and 95 The Kentuckyian and other connecting RPOs, The Chic, Log and Lou RPO Was discontinued in May, 1967, but bulk mail continued for a while. The Sleeping Car was discontinued almost immediately after the RPO and a year later the train was discontinued.
 

AmtrakMaineiac

Streetcar Motorman
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 2, 2021
Messages
154
Location
Lubec, ME
An update to my previous post. The RPOs lasted until 1977 under Conrail and did sort mail enroute. The last in the US to do so.
 

Just-Thinking-51

Very bored and cranky pundit
AU Lifetime Supporter
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 17, 2009
Messages
2,360
Location
USA
RPO was about sorting mail enroute. Big machine do that now. The change of air mail to ground mail is what the USPS is doing. Team truck are hard to find, but using intermodal can be quicker than a single driver, or not. The big problem is the regional set up of the post office. Your post office may look like my post office, but the behind the scenes there two different companies with completely different problems and solutions.
 

AmtrakMaineiac

Streetcar Motorman
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 2, 2021
Messages
154
Location
Lubec, ME
RPOs would not work in today's USPS. It's all large automated sorting centers located out in the burbs near major highways and not downtown as it used to be. That is why the NY Post Office was available to become Moynihan station.

The whole USPS system has been in financial trouble as a result of Congressional action to fund generous pension payments. Put the blame where it belongs.
 

AmtrakMaineiac

Streetcar Motorman
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 2, 2021
Messages
154
Location
Lubec, ME
Isn't it more a case of Congress NOT funding the retirement benefits?
Sort of. Basically what happened is Congress mandated that the USPS had to create a fund to pre-fund its pension costs for 75 years into the future, something that no other private or government organization has ever been required to do. This basically caused an organization that would have otherwise broken even to now be in serious financial difficulty.
 
Top