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"HEAD END/DEAD END"
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   Author  Topic: "HEAD END/DEAD END"  (Read 5776 times)
HARRY FOSTER MALONE ESQ
Former Member
Re: "HEAD END/DEAD END"
 
« Reply #780 on: Jul 7th, 2012, 5:42pm »
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Earlier, I'd quoted Mr. Lundy, as saying that the railroads could be find thousands of dollars for not providing the mail cars needed, or for interfering with the transport of the mail.
 
Mr. Lundy continues (referring to the last statement made)......
 
"........to a lot of people, that's only a sentence, it doesn't mean a hoot. To an experienced railroad man or trucker, it was the most serious charge you could prefer against him.  We were trained to believe that the public places a tremendous amount of confidence in that mail box on the corner, and, if that confidence is lost, boy, you're in a bad state of affairs........."
 
"H.F.M."


« Last Edit: Jul 7th, 2012, 5:43pm by NH_FL9_2017 » Logged
George_Harris
Historian
Posts: 3814
Re: "HEAD END/DEAD END"
 
« Reply #781 on: Jul 7th, 2012, 9:14pm »
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on Jul 7th, 2012, 5:42pm, HARRY FOSTER MALONE ESQ wrote:       (Click here for original message)
.......to a lot of people, that's only a sentence, it doesn't mean a hoot. To an experienced railroad man or trucker, it was the most serious charge you could prefer against him.  We were trained to believe that the public places a tremendous amount of confidence in that mail box on the corner, and, if that confidence is lost, boy, you're in a bad state of affairs......

Absolutely.  As said, my aunt was postal clerk in the Olive Branch MS post office, which at that time was postmaster, one clerk, and two rural  carriers post office, so I got quite a few stories from her.  
 
On one occasion when the southbound KC Florida Special's RPO grabbed the mail bag, the catcher hook managed to punch a hole in the mail bag when it caught it.  It scattered mail over about 4 miles of track before they managed to get it pulled in.  That same afternoon, two postal inspectors came out and walked the track from OB south looking for scattered mail and picking it up.  I do not know whether any people from the Frisco were involved or not.  Given the relatively casual view toward protection of people on the track that had a need to be there, there may have been none other than, "Hey, don't be stupid and get hit by a train."
 
By the way, there were also very specific instructions on filling the catcher pouches.  I do not remember much of what they were, but it included positioning the mail by destination and wrapping together in separate packets and putting on top at least the first couple of towns down the line.  Remember, the mail cranes were at every place that had a post office along the track, which could be as close as two miles, although I think the average was more on the order of 3 to 4, but either way, when you grabbed a bag you had only 2 to 3 minutes to open a bag, get the mail for the next town out, into the bag for the next town, get it closed and kicked out the door at the same time as you have the catcher hook out to catch the bag off the crane.   And do it again, and again, and again.  
 
At least on the Frisco's trains, you knew that you were going to get a few breathers while sitting in sidings, and you were dealing with a maximum speed of 70 mph.  To have been a clerk on the City of New Orleans would have been the true top gun job.  No breaks at all and a line that was double track, with a 79 mph speed limit that was commonly ignored if the train was at all off schedule.


« Last Edit: Jul 7th, 2012, 9:30pm by George_Harris » Logged
HARRY FOSTER MALONE ESQ
Former Member
Re: "HEAD END/DEAD END"
 
« Reply #782 on: Jul 7th, 2012, 10:19pm »
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George:
 
Thanks for your input; greatly appreciate the RPO information you provided....quite fascinating indeed!
 
IMHO, I think it is most important to keep in mind, that, back in the heyday of the RPO, pride in one's job was quite strong, and knowing that you were doing a professional job well-done was a great reward unto otself.
 
In the days before calculators and other electronic aids, a quick mind was a tremendous asset on the work field, most certainly in the railroad mail sector.
 
This was NOT an area in which to indulge in idle daydreaming or trying to take a shortcut.......speed, diligence, and a professional attitude were the hallmarks of that era.......
 
"H.F.M."


« Last Edit: Jul 7th, 2012, 10:20pm by NH_FL9_2017 » Logged
HARRY FOSTER MALONE ESQ
Former Member
Re: "HEAD END/DEAD END"
 
« Reply #783 on: Jul 7th, 2012, 10:50pm »
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All:
 
George's mentioning about the operation of catching "mail on the fly" prompted me to post another account of Mr. Lundy's working on the RPO's......
 
".......we had to catch mail on the road. I'm sure you've seen pictures of this operation. When we had the steam engines, you'd make sure you had your goggles on. If you got a cinder in your eye and weren't wearing your goggles, you went to the hospital, and didn't get anything of you were off the job. You'd face your back to the direction of the train and pull the catcher down......."
 
"........it had a handle on it and you'd catch the mail and pull it in. You'd have to look out every now and then to see your reference points. There might be a certain house and you'd know that there was only about 30 seconds from there........"
 
".......every now and then, the guys might hook the side of a freight car, or something like that. If you missed a catch, you'd fill out a report. You'd say it was snowing, even in the middle of August, or that it was raining so hard that you couldn't see, or that the sun was in your eyes, at night, no less......."
 
"H.F.M."


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HARRY FOSTER MALONE ESQ
Former Member
Re: "HEAD END/DEAD END"
 
« Reply #784 on: Jul 7th, 2012, 10:59pm »
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Photo link caption for this 1964 view tells us that this is NYC Train #222, "throwing mail at speed", at Geneva, Ohio.......
 
http://rr-fallenflags.org/nyc/nyc-mail.jpg


« Last Edit: Jul 7th, 2012, 10:59pm by NH_FL9_2017 » Logged
HARRY FOSTER MALONE ESQ
Former Member
Re: "HEAD END/DEAD END"
 
« Reply #785 on: Jul 7th, 2012, 11:08pm »
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Undated photo of a NH RPO catching mail "on the fly"......
 
http://rr-fallenflags.org/nh/nh-postal.jpg


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George_Harris
Historian
Posts: 3814
Re: "HEAD END/DEAD END"
 
« Reply #786 on: Jul 8th, 2012, 2:08am »
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on Jul 7th, 2012, 10:19pm, HARRY FOSTER MALONE ESQ wrote:       (Click here for original message)
IMHO, I think it is most important to keep in mind, that, back in the heyday of the RPO, pride in one's job was quite strong, and knowing that you were doing a professional job well-done was a great reward unto otself.

Another significant difference:  At that time airconditioning was a rarity, also even central heat was much less common.  In addition, growing up with the concept that getting hot/cold and dirty was a normal and acceptable part of work, including work that required significant skill and education to do properly.


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HARRY FOSTER MALONE ESQ
Former Member
Re: "HEAD END/DEAD END"
 
« Reply #787 on: Jul 8th, 2012, 10:00am »
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George:
 
Agreed 100%.
 
Recall, back in the day, the railroad engineer was a true American icon, the larger-than-life hero idolized by boys 5 to 85.
 
These stalwart men (and their ever-vigilant firemen as well) take us back to a long-lost era when raw, physical effort drove America's railroads.
 
Too, it was very much a time when WORK was WORK; ANY job that was honest and brought in honest money was something well worth striving for.
 
The men who toiled in the RPO's, as you correctly stated, worked in an era innocent of such now-commonplace niceties as air-conditioning, and yet, that never gave them an excuse to shirk in their duties.
 
Think of the quick minds needed......the great capacities of memory required to be able to sort hundreds.....thousands.....of pieces of mail CORRECTLY and with tremendous speed and ease.
 
The railroaders of old, through the 1960's, were indeed hard-working, responsible men whose tremendous labors and contributions to the American labor market are all too frequently forgotten today, in this age of electronics and hi-tech gagetry.......
 
"H.F.M."


« Last Edit: Jul 8th, 2012, 10:02am by NH_FL9_2017 » Logged
HARRY FOSTER MALONE ESQ
Former Member
Re: "HEAD END/DEAD END"
 
« Reply #788 on: Jul 8th, 2012, 12:18pm »
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All:
 
Just came across the following......
 
http://eiu.edu/~eiutps/clerks/001.php


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HARRY FOSTER MALONE ESQ
Former Member
Re: "HEAD END/DEAD END"
 
« Reply #789 on: Jul 8th, 2012, 12:30pm »
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Also of interest......
 
http://homepages.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~mcclell2/homepage/railpo.htm
 
http://www.apwu.org/about/history.htm


« Last Edit: Jul 8th, 2012, 12:31pm by NH_FL9_2017 » Logged
HARRY FOSTER MALONE ESQ
Former Member
Re: "HEAD END/DEAD END"
 
« Reply #790 on: Jul 8th, 2012, 10:30pm »
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Interesting bit of historical info on Boat Railway Post Offices.....
 
http://www.ask.com/wiki/Boat_Railway_Post_Office


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HARRY FOSTER MALONE ESQ
Former Member
Re: "HEAD END/DEAD END"
 
« Reply #791 on: Jul 8th, 2012, 10:44pm »
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Head-end/RPO "action" shot and vintage postcard view featuring the historic car ferry CHIEF WAWATAM.
 
Note "U.S.MAIL" on her flanks.......
 
http://www.boatnerd.com/pictures/historic/perspectives/chiefwawatam/ChiefWawatamPCard-jb2a.jpg
 
http://www.boatnerd.com/pictures/historic/perspectives/chiefwawatam/chiefwawa-rb645.jpg


« Last Edit: Jul 8th, 2012, 10:47pm by NH_FL9_2017 » Logged
HARRY FOSTER MALONE ESQ
Former Member
Re: "HEAD END/DEAD END"
 
« Reply #792 on: Jul 8th, 2012, 11:29pm »
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Transporting mail via rail through the streets of Boston......
 
http://www.flickr.com/smithsonian/2550273913/


« Last Edit: Jul 8th, 2012, 11:31pm by NH_FL9_2017 » Logged
HARRY FOSTER MALONE ESQ
Former Member
Re: "HEAD END/DEAD END"
 
« Reply #793 on: Jul 9th, 2012, 10:27am »
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Interesting page (w/photos): "THE OCTOPUS MOVES THE MAIL"........
 
http://www.streetcar.org/blog/2006/05/the-octopus-moves-the-mail.html


« Last Edit: Jul 9th, 2012, 10:28am by NH_FL9_2017 » Logged
HwyHaulier
Historian
Posts: 3434
Re: "HEAD END/DEAD END"
 
« Reply #794 on: Jul 9th, 2012, 12:06pm »
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on Jul 9th, 2012, 10:27am, HARRY FOSTER MALONE ESQ wrote:       (Click here for original message)
Interesting page (w/photos): "THE OCTOPUS MOVES THE MAIL"........
 
http://www.streetcar.org/blog/2006/05/the-octopus-moves-the-mail.html

HFM -
 
A picky critique of this item, but I am not up to bickering with the writer! BALTIMORE also had U S MAIL CARS,  
with "hub" at Downtown Main Post Office. Photos and text in Farrell, and other sources...
 
............................Vern.....................


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Ticket Agent serving...Pacific Stage Lines...Washington State System...Mt. Hood Stages...Pickwick Stages...Transcontinental & Western Air Lines.... Admitted Gold Bug..... Observant Orthodox Mossback..... H.M.R.A.O. Curmudgeons......
HwyHaulier
Historian
Posts: 3434
Re: "HEAD END/DEAD END"
 
« Reply #795 on: Jul 9th, 2012, 12:13pm »
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HFM -
 
A picky critique of this item, but I am not up to bickering with the writer! BALTIMORE also had U S MAIL CARS,  
with "hub" at Downtown Main Post Office. Photos and text in Farrell, and other sources...
 
Ancient History Aside? ESPEE had a quite simple Corporate Mission. If it moved in California, and otherwise wasn't  
bolted down, it wanted a piece of any movement. May not have extended to Hot Stoves!
 
............................Vern.....................


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Ticket Agent serving...Pacific Stage Lines...Washington State System...Mt. Hood Stages...Pickwick Stages...Transcontinental & Western Air Lines.... Admitted Gold Bug..... Observant Orthodox Mossback..... H.M.R.A.O. Curmudgeons......
HARRY FOSTER MALONE ESQ
Former Member
Re: "HEAD END/DEAD END"
 
« Reply #796 on: Jul 9th, 2012, 12:35pm »
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on Jul 9th, 2012, 12:06pm, HwyHaulier wrote:       (Click here for original message)

HFM -
 
A picky critique of this item, but I am not up to bickering with the writer! BALTIMORE also had U S MAIL CARS,  
with "hub" at Downtown Main Post Office. Photos and text in Farrell, and other sources...
 
............................Vern.....................
 
 

 
Vern:
 
Agreed!
 
And, of course, streetcars moved the mails in our Nation's Capital as well, many eons ago.
 
I've discussed street railway/interurban mails earlier in this discussion; that, of course, is a subject unto itself......
 
"H.F.M."


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HARRY FOSTER MALONE ESQ
Former Member
Re: "HEAD END/DEAD END"
 
« Reply #797 on: Jul 9th, 2012, 12:55pm »
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"CITY & SUBURBAN RY." mail car, Baltimore..........
 
http://www.davesrailpix.com/btc/htm/btc183.htm


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HARRY FOSTER MALONE ESQ
Former Member
Re: "HEAD END/DEAD END"
 
« Reply #798 on: Jul 9th, 2012, 1:03pm »
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All:
 
Just came across this page (w/links) on street railway RPO's.......
 
http://web.presby.edu/~jtbell/transit/RPO.html


« Last Edit: Jul 9th, 2012, 1:06pm by NH_FL9_2017 » Logged
HARRY FOSTER MALONE ESQ
Former Member
Re: "HEAD END/DEAD END"
 
« Reply #799 on: Jul 9th, 2012, 1:09pm »
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More on street railway mail services and rolling stock......
 
http://www.postalmuseum.si.edu/exhibits/2b1c4_streetcar.html


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