“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Broadnax in Brunswick County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)

Rolling Post Office

Rolling Post Office Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 30, 2016
1. Rolling Post Office Marker
Inscription. Until about 1967, the U.S. Postal Service used the railroads to handle mail on designated routes. The mail was handled in special railroad cars usually moved on passenger trains, designated as Railway Post Office (RPO) cars. The RPOs were actually post offices on rails and staffed by postal employees. Mail was sorted en route on the moving train. Sorted mail pouches were delivered to stations when the train made a stop or thrown off as the train passed.

The operation of handling mail as a station without stopping was called “mail-on-the-fly.” It was used where the exchange of mail was too small to justify the stopping of a train and allowed trains to exchange mail without slowing down. At the station mail was placed in a heavy canvas catcher pouch, which the station agent hoisted to the arm of the mail crane located beside the tracks.

As evidenced by the postcard above, a mail route operated on the Atlantic & Danville corridor probably through the 1940s when the Southern Railway operated passenger trains over the railroad. Handling of mail over the A&D ended with termination of passenger service by the Southern Railway in 1949.

Top to Bottom:
1932 postcard shows the cancellation stamp for a mail route on the N&D Railroad William E. Griffin Jr.
Rolling Post Office Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, April 30, 2016
2. Rolling Post Office Marker
Catcher pouch waiting for pick upWilliam E. Griffin Jr.
Interior of a Seaboard Air Line Railway postal car where the clerks sorted the mailWilliam E. Griffin Jr.
Train Official operates the catcher arm for mail deliveryWilliam E. Griffin Jr.
SAL No. 4 in Bracey, VA Wiley M. Bryan
Erected by Tobacco Heritage Trail.
Location. 36° 43.05′ N, 78° 0.55′ W. Marker is in Broadnax, Virginia, in Brunswick County. Marker is on Tobacco Heritage Trail 1.3 miles east of Railroad Street, on the left when traveling east. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Brodnax VA 23920, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 5 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The American Thoroughbred in Brunswick (approx. 0.6 miles away); Broadnax (approx. 1.2 miles away); Mecklenburg County / Brunswick County (approx. 1.6 miles away); Tobacco As a Way of Life (approx. 3 miles away); Bridges of Brunswick County (approx. 3.6 miles away); You are Traveling Through the Scenic Meherrin River Watershed! (approx. 3.7 miles away); Brunswick County, Virginia (approx. 3.9 miles away); Staunton River Raid (approx. 4.5 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Broadnax.
Also see . . .  Tobacco Heritage Trail. (Submitted on May 1, 2016.)
Categories. Industry & CommerceRailroads & Streetcars
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 75 times since then. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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