The Last RPO

NW Mailing List nw-mailing-list at
Tue Mar 21 06:58:22 EDT 2017

> Jimmy Lisle saw this about an RPO mailing on another forum:
> Jerome Crosson - NWHS member, formerly New Jersey, now St. Peters, MO,
> said:
> I have many memories of the RPO service.  For 35 years, my father was an
> RPO clerk on the PRR, New York to Pittsburg.  On occasion, he would take me
> to the "off limits" location in Penn Station where clerks worked the mail
> on dedicated mail trains - only 'deadhead' passenger cars on mail trains,
> so no public access.
> The last official RPO run was at night, Penn Station to Washington.  I
> worked near Philly; had the wild idea to go to Penn Station that night and
> somehow talk my way onto the final run, so there would be a "J. Crosson"
> making the last run (my dad had passed away a couple of years previous).
> Didn't do it, and still wonder if I could have been on board, New York to
> Philly.
> I now volunteer at the St. Louis MOT - the mascot "Owney" is featured
> among the kids' activities at the museum.  We have a couple of RPO cars -
> there is thought of cleaning one up and providing public access to add to
> our visitor tours.


Hello, Jerome:

Thanks for your recollections.  There was a rider (club) car on the last
run from Washington to New York and think that there was also one for the
southbound trip for staff and reporters.  If you couldn't have ridden in
the RPO, there's a good chance you could have talked your way onto the
rider car.  These were Conrail-operated trains, not Amtrak.  Ordinarily,
they had a caboose for the train crew that was adapted to passenger service.

I've attached a couple of 1954 New York and Pittsburg RPO schedules.  I'll
welcome hearing from you off-list.  I visited the St. Louis Museum of
Transport about ten years ago and can share a couple of stories with you
about the RPO equipment there.

Best wishes,

Frank Scheer
f_scheer at

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