>> I have a question about railway postal operations:
>> In addition to RPOs, where mail was sorted on
>> board the train, there were also many trains
>> where mail was simply carried. Mail was
>> carried on fast passenger trains and was
>> profitable for the railroads. But in the
>> late 1960s the post office pulled the mail off.
>> That sudden loss of business hurt many trains
>> and the railroads ceased running them. Would
>> anyone know where I could find out more
>> information about the Post Office's decisions
>> in that era? (I wrote the Postal Service but
>> got only a very general booklet in response.)
> The increasing use of jet engines in commercial
> airlines at about that time may be at least
> partially to blame.
It was almost totally to blame. In later recollections the president and CEO of the Santa Fe Railroad said he could see the future of passenger trains when jet airline service came to the Chicago-Oklahoma City route. Within a week passenger loadings on the Texas Chief dropped so drastically that the train ceased to be profitable.
That left a lot of additional volume that was,
> and still is, ideally suitable for carrying
> relatively dense, easily handled, and regularly
> scheduled freight -- like regular mail, (Of
> course, this also helps in accounting for the
> unpleasantly overcrowded airline passenger
> accommodations that prevail today.)
Probably not a major factor in crowding. Southwest Airlines for a long time wouldn't carry U.S. mail because the Postal Service's contract are so demanding and rigid that they are not always compatible with passenger needs and conveniencee. Much of the overnight mail is now carried by FedEx air under contract. But a grezt deal of mail is still carried by train, in containers or trailer moving on fast inter- modal trains whose schedules are not a great deal slower than passenger train wer in earlier years.
Much of the mail is now carried by truck.
Wes Leatherock email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org