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Look out for the mail bag!

September 27, 2013

If someone talked about dangers from the mail today, you would probably think about anthrax and ricin scares.  You might think more about the ever-present threats of email scams and malware. But back in the days when mail was delivered by rail, the Railway Post Office delivered mail without stopping at many stations. The transfer of mail would be done at high-speed, sometimes at night. The outbound mail would be delivered through the use of a catcher arm which would be raised by the mail car on the train and would catch the mail bag hung at the station.  The mail destined for the station would be thrown off the train by the clerk. Too short of a throw, and the mail could get sucked back under the train. Too hard of a throw and you risked hitting something else – like the station. For the pedestrian, you certainly wanted to make sure you weren’t in the way of that mail bag being thrown!

The National Postal Museum has a good description of Mail by Rail in the US.

This was taken at the Danbury Railway Museum. I posted an interior shot of the mail car here.

DSC_1756-EditProcessed in LR, PSE, Topaz ReStyle and Topaz Detail.

From → Photography

One Comment
  1. Interesting backstory to go with a fine photo.


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