Re: Railway express agency (was LCL)

Dennis Storzek <destorzek@...>

On Thu, Aug 8, 2019 at 08:34 PM, Douglas Harding wrote:

REA shipments were express shipments, handled in baggage cars. LCL was handled in freight cars.


Doug has it right; LCL and Express don't mix. LCL was a freight tariff, the cheapest way to ship heavy, bulky items that didn't fill a car. It was more expensive than carload rate, but carload rate didn't do the store that needed to ship ONE stove to a customer much good. It wasn't particularly fast, but in the days before trucks, was as fast as any other method.

Express was premium service. In the days before FedEx and air freight, if it absolutely positively had to get there quickly, it went express. Express moved at passenger train speed, because it moved on passenger trains. While REA owned their own cars for large shipments, they also leased space in the baggage cars of at least one train on every possible route. Very common in the Midwest were mail & express cars, a 15 or 30 foot postal apartment, with the rest of the car dedicated to express and whatever baggage there was. The RPO clerks handled the mail, and the baggage man handled the express, with his salary partially paid by REA. Where LCL and express finally came together was in the freight room of the small local depots, where both waited to be claimed.

Dennis Storzek

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