DeliveryMail, Express & Merchandise Service
is a new book by Kalmbach Publishing
. Authored by Jeff Wilson, this well researched and excerpt presented book introduces model railroaders to that essential business of railroads, and how to model it, "From package handling to delivery - and everything in between".
Express, Mail & Merchandise Service describes rail express service and merchandise traffic on railroads from the early 1900s through 1960s when railroad personnel handled packages and merchandise — everything from baby chicks and cornflakes to money and machinery — and got them to their final destination. A wonderful historical reference for modelers and railfans alike.
Mail, Express & Merchandise Service
This book covers:
Depots, freight houses, and terminals.
Dedicated trains, special cars, and delivery vehicles.
Train operation and car movement.
And much more! - Kalmbach
is part of the Model Railroader
series of hobby books. It is a standard softcover format with 95 pages of content, and catalogued as ISBN 978-1-62700-378-0
company item number is 12802
ContentMail, Express & Merchandise Service
is written by Jeff Wilson, an author and modeler who has penned dozens of books and articles for Model Railroader
during his 10 years on the MR staff, as well as many other publications. Shipping by freight is explained through seven chapters:
History of express, merchandise, and mail service 4
Railroad LCL traffic 11
Railway Express Agency 19
Head-end cars and merchandise equipment 37
Depots, freight houses, and transfer terminals 53
Train and car operations 70
Moving mail by rail 82
Thanks and acknowledgments 95
The text is interesting and educational to read. Mr. Wilson does a fine job of explaining how anything from a post card to an automobile was transported by railroads. In History of express, merchandise, and mail service
and Railroad LCL traffic
he introduces the first express companies, starting with William Hernden in 1939, and agencies before rail, i.e., the Pony Express. More than trains are presented - everything from trucks to handcarts. Even early "intermodal" containers are discussed.
Model railroads spanning many decades can host the Railway Express Agency, and the chapter of that name is very informative. Amazing scenes of REA trucks servicing trains and planes are intriguing.
Modelers will be gratified by Head-end cars and merchandise equipment
. Those varied from standard rolling stock, to purpose-built and modified cars of both passenger and freight designs. The physical plant is covered in Depots, freight houses, and transfer terminals
. From huge terminals to whistle stops, this is a fascinating chapter. (Of course, that can be said of the other chapters.)
How all that came together to get a pair of shoes from Boston, Massachusetts to Ely, Nevada, is explained in Train and car operations
and Moving mail by rail
. Amazing objects like Missouri Pacific Speedboxes are covered, as are better know mail cranes.
Express, Mail & Merchandise
is an informative book whether one is a historian who cares little about trains, or a focuses operations-oriented model railroader.
Graphics, Photographs, ArtworkKalmbach
possesses an immense collection of photographs to draw from and liberally populate their books with photos. This book continues that trait of their books. Despite advertising 160 color photographs on the book's page at the Kalmbach
site, the vast majority of photos are black-and-white. There are several color photos spanning the decades and they enhance the gallery even more. Photos illustrate everything including interiors of vehicles and buildings, they also present portraits of specific and general rolling stock. Included is an original map illustrating Illustrated
Fast Mail Routes in the 1950s.
Many sidebars and tables are included:
1. LCL carloadings, 1928-1971
2. AAR head-end car classifications
3. Express cars in service: Baggage express cars; Total passenger cars (5-year increments, 1915-1960).
4. Express reefers-major owners, 1933, 1940, 1947, 1955, 1961.
5. Converted troop cars in express service
6. LCL in refrigerator cars
7. Missourri Pacific Kansas City LCL cars, mid-1950s: inbounds and outbounds by railroad, and truck service.
8. Express/mail train consists: Union Pacific train 6 and train 17, 1950.
9. AAR mail car classifications
10. Highway Post Office
This gallery of photographs and graphics are worth obtaining the book.
ConclusionMail, Express & Merchandise Service
is a book that should be on the shelves of even casual model railroaders. It features exceptional photographs and expert information. It spans the era from the first trains through recent memory when the mail came off in favor of airplanes and trucks. It shows how easily and authentically one can model these operations on even small, basic layouts.
This book is an excellent resource for model railroaders and historians. I have no complaints and recommend this book.
Please remember to tell Kalmbach and retailers that you saw this book here - on