Hearts West

International Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Philately

The Railway Mail Service

A permit to ride in the car, signed by the superintendent of the division of the service, is necessary to allow us the privilege; and it is also required of clerks belonging to other lines. This rule is necessary, in order that the clerks may perform their work uninterruptedly and correctly; and also to exclude unauthorized persons the car is fitted up with a carefully-studied economy of space, upon plans made under the supervision of the superintendent of the division, or chief clerk of the line. Occupying one end of the car are cases of pigeon-holes, or boxes, numbering from six hundred to one thousand, arranged in the shape of a horse-shoe, for the distribution of letters. These boxes are labeled with

Interior of a Railway Post-Office.

Interior of a Railway Post-Office.

from mail apartments. After a hasty exchange of salutations with the four clerks, the “clerk in charge” notes our names on his “trip report,” and we are assigned a spot in the contracted space, where, we are assured, we will be undisturbed, at least for a while. The trip report mentioned is used in noting connections missed, and other irregularities that may occur. The interior of the names of the post-offices on the line of road, connecting lines, States, and prominent cities and towns throughout the country. A long, narrow aisle passes through the centre of the car, on both sides of which are racks for open sacks and pouches, into which packages of letters and pieces of other mail matter are thrown; on the sides above are rows of suspended pouches, with their hungry mouths open.

Edited & adapted by Laurel O’Donnell.
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This page was last updated on 12 May 2006