RPO models

nw-modeling-list at nwhs.org nw-modeling-list at nwhs.org
Sat Sep 30 01:19:24 EDT 2006

Date: 9/29/2006 07:21:58 -0700
From: BRUCE GRUNDY <vjsisbest1 at yahoo.com>
To: fscheer at railwaymailservicelibrary.org
Subject: Favorite railroads

Hi Frank and thank you for your response to my earlier
message. I am a member of the N&W and the C&O
Historical Societies and those are the RR of most
interest. The car I want to build and detail is an
O-scale Walthers kit. Walthers stopped making O-scale
kits around 1980. A friend of mine is a dealer in RR
"stuff", mostly old models and primarily O-sacle. He
recently purchased over 20 Walthers kits from an
estate sale (all in original boxes and some as old as
the 40's and 50's) One of the cars I want to buy is a
postal car which I will try to describe to you.

The kit is shown in my 1980 Walthers catalog. It is
60' long with 2 doors on each side directly over the
trucks. There are 3 windows, close together, next to
each door toward the center of the car. Or, 3 windows
the the right of the door to left and 3 windows to the
left of the door on the right. I cannot find any
history on a RPO that fits this discription. Neither
N&W or C&O had this door and window style. (my
research has not turned up any info) The car can be
assembled using an arch or monitor type roof, which
increases the number of RR that might have had this
RPO. The catalog says that the GN, NP, and Milw Road
used this style with a monitor roof and arch roof cars
ran on the UP and the IC. Understand also, I want to
do this car using RR colors other than Pullman Green.

Now that you know all this, can you help? I do expect
to have to pay for any pictures you can supply, that
is not a problem.

It may also be of interest to you to know that I built
a RPO about 2 years back. I did it in tuscan red and
lettered is as N&W, Lots of undercarrage detail
including air cylinders, water tank, battery boxes,
generator set, roof vents, air hoses with glad-hands,
catcher arms, and more including security bars in the
windows. It really finished nice and I get a lot of
complements on it. It looks just like any RPO pictured
in my RR book collection. I am in the process of
building a "stage" so I can take pictures of my cars.
If I ever get to where I can, I will forward a print
of the N&W RPO to you. I also have 10 section Pullman
and a 10 & 6 sleeper streamlined car in tuscan red and
lettered N&W. The sleeper displays the "Powhatton
Arrow" logo. All my cars are O-scale and are 16" to
20" long and are all desplayed around my home.

Sorry for all the verbage...I get a little carried
away when I get on the subject.

All the best
Bruce Grundy

Bruce Grundy
VJS Brokerage LLC
Cincinnati, Oh
Phone: 513-753-1405
Fax: 513-753-1439

September 30, 2006

Hello, Bruce:

The Walthers model you described is a 60-feet length
center-case Railway Post Office car. Class Me 60-feet
cars were the N&W’s first steel body RPO car purchase,
in 1914. The floor layout had distribution cases
located in the center of the car. An advantage of
this car is that most clerks in a RPO worked at
distribution cases. The ride quality for clerks
standing in the center of a car was better than nearer
ends over car trucks.

Car 1100, representative of class Me, and some
drawings are included as file attachments. If these
can't viewed, please contact me and I'll try attaching
them to a new message.

The class Me car plans show side and floor-view plans.
Note that window arrangement differs for each side.
These should correspond to the Walthers model.

There are several possible reason for elimination of
the center-case cars. First, there are not as many
separations in the letter "pigeon-hole" cases as in an
end-layout. In this reference, "end" means a case
placement close to the side doors at one end, not
strictly at the end of a car where the bins, lavatory,
and clothes closet are located.

Second, the center-case layout has U- or L-shaped
cases. This either put two, three, or four clerks
shoulder to shoulder at angles, or resulted in one or
two clerks having to pivot their bodies while casing
mail. The end layout with a "wing" case on either
side allowed clerks to face the case and sort mail
without twisting, side-to-side movement.

A final disadvantage of a center-case car is that
there would have been much more
up-the-aisle/down-the-aisle passing of pouches between
the case and pouch racks than having the cases move to
one end. Passing pouches interrupted distribution

If you customize the Walthers kit to a good
representation of N&W's Class Me cars, I hope you can
write step-by-step instructions of your modeling
efforts. I've never built this car, but there are
many N&W modelers that might embark upon it if they
had guidance. These Walthers kits can be found at
train shows; even if partially completed or finished,
they can be reworked to a nice representative head-end
car from the N&W's 1910s-1930s passenger operations.

Good luck and let me know how your work goes, Bruce.
Have a nice Autumn in the meantime!

Best wishes,

Frank Scheer
f_scheer at yahoo.com

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