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August 2006 - Page 21

Baggage or express wagon with fenced-in sides and solid rubber tires. Photos show this type of wagon in service for Railway Express Agency, although railroads also owned some of this type wagon.

Chains spanning the end stanchions permit end loading of parcels or large objects.

Arrangement of drawbar and front suspension of baggage wagon. sleeping cars. Under the baggage check arrangements made by the railroads, passengers could turn over their baggage to the baggage master or stationmaster at the point of origin and receive a metal disk with their check number. A duplicate number was fastened to their trunk or suitcase. After debarking, they would present their tags in the baggage room and receive their cases. This service was included as part of the passengers fare, and the weight and size limit for free handling of checked baggage was usually printed in timetables. Handling checked baggage was a function of the railroads, and Railway Express was forbidden from handling passenger baggage as stated in their contract with the railroads. There was an escape clause, however, which permitted Railway Express to handle checked passenger baggage if so requested by a railroad. This was employed by Pennsylvania Railroad in their New York City operation, and REA was permitted to handle passengers baggage between trains and local destination addresses. Express Express traffic was handled by either Railway Express Agency, or in some cases by a local express company in cooperation with REA. Trucks were used to pick up and deliver parcels in the area surrounding the railroad station with one or more routes originating there. The drivers would await the arrival of scheduled trains to pick up or send out large parcels and sacks of small packages. In many cases the station agent, a railroad employee, could have part of his salary paid by REA for which he would act as a Railway Express agent. Where this arrangement was used, drivers would not have to

Baggage express wagon with drawbars, brakes and steering at both ends. wait for trains as the station agent would pick up and set out sacks and packages at train time. Mail Mail trucks picked up and delivered the mail to local post offices. From most post offices there was a truck route to deliver mail sacks to the local railroad station for loading on trains. A postal employee always stayed with the mail until it was put into mail cars on the train.

Platform Wagons
The baggage, mail and express parcels all had to be placed ready for loading in advance of train arrivals so as to prevent delaying departure. To meet this need, the baggage wagon was devised and later standardized. While these wagons had four wheels, a platform and a steering tongue to haul it, there were some interesting variations. The baggage agent, station agent or a railroad-employed helper would load passengers checked luggage and trunks onto a wagon at the baggage room and roll it out to the platform to wait at the spot where the doors of the baggage car would open. No records in the contracts reviewed so far seem to address the use and ownership of platform wagons. Various other vehicles were used on train platforms, such as the two-wheeled X-frame carts that could be moved about easily by balancing their loads on both sides. Two-wheeled box-bodied carts sacks, as well as common hand trucks, were often used by the Post Office for transporting mail.



Added November 17, 2010 - Share