Fast Mail Trains - Page 2

The Postal Cars of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company

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About the 1st of July last, the officers of the New York Central Railroad announced their willingness to run a mail train from New York to Chicago in twenty‑six hours. This proposition from the Central road was at once accepted by the department, and almost immediately afterwards came a similar proposal from the Pennsylvania Railroad, which was also gladly accepted. Specifications and plans for the new equipment necessary to carry out this undertaking were furnished each road, and the construction of postal‑cars was immediately begun.

The 16th of September was fixed upon as the date for the inauguration of the new enterprise, and on that day the two special trains started from the city, each carrying a large mail, post office officials and invited guests.

The New York Central train left the FortySecond Depot at 4:15 A.M. and the Pennsylvania Central train started from Jersey City at 4:30 AM.

The rivalry between the two roads led to some little dissention and resulted in the Pennsylvania Company dispatching a "limited mail" on September 13th. The officers of the road state that when they offered to run a fast mail train and newspaper train to Cincinnati and St. Louis, the Post Office authorities accepted the offer, and requested the Company to have its cars ready by September 12th. This gave the Company only thirteen days in which to build the cars. The work was accomplished by the prescribed time; but the Post Office authorities, on being informed that the New York Central Railroad cars were not ready, declined to send any mail matter until the 16th. The Pennsylvania Railroad Company was not willing to wait until the New York Central Railroad should be ready, and accordingly sent out its first train.

         The limited mail train left the Jersey City depot at 4:45 A.M., consisting of a locomotive and three cars. The first of the cars was the baggage car which contained 25,000 copies of daily newspapers published in New York for distribution at Philadelphia and intermediate places. Besides these there were 2,500 copies for the West. Following this car came the postal‑car, and behind this was a car containing several New York journalists, Samuel Carpenter, the General Eastern Agent of the road, and  George W. Barker, the Division Superintendent.

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