Railway Mail Service RPO Routes in New England

Like New England long-haul passenger service , New England RPO routes tended to be multi-railroad. Almost all of the interline routes corresponded to one or more named trains, most often overnight runs. Most of the routings are pretty straightforward except for the multiple-railroad aspect. This often resulted in pooled equipment, and sometimes even clerks of one country working in equipment belonging to the other country.

The RPO routes I list below had remained fairly stable through the war years, but eroded fairly quickly as the 1950s continuted. All routes using the Rutland ended by 1953, and the B&M's "Mogul Country" branches were sold or became freight-only by 1956. The Boston & Troy was discontinued with passenger service in 1958. Most remaining RPOs via the B&M were discontinued next year, as the railroad wound down its Boston-based mail and express terminal operation. Bangor & Aroostook RPOs ended with passenger service north of Portland in 1960, but the Maine Central continued to run mail and express service between Portland and Bangor into 1963. The last of the northern New England RPOs was the St. Albans to Springfield car on the Ambassador in early 1967. Boston & New York survived into the mid-1970s.

The basic route data is primarily from Mail By Rail by B.A. Long with W.J. Dennis, Simmons-Boardman 1951. The book also lists Highway Post Office routes and boat routes, but I've omitted them from the table. Car assignments and other details are drawn from photos of train consists in a wide variety of books.

Alphabetic Listing of New England RPOs, Circa 1951

I've been told that as of 1952, all but one of the daily Bangor & Boston RPOs ran via Brunswick ("Lower Road"). I don't know how it or the Portland & Boston were divided between the alternate B&M routes. The Portland & Boston could have existed to serve the Western Division (via Dover and Haverhill), given that it included a branch route from Dover to Intervale, NH. This would imply that Bangor & Boston ran via Portsmouth, NH and the Eastern Division (until the segment north of Portsmouth was abandoned in 1952).

Maintained by

James B. VanBokkelen (jbvbRemove_This@ttlc.net)