Re: Railway express agency (was LCL)

Charles Peck

The REA shipments that I remember were flowers and live day old chicks. 
For Valentines Day lots of small town florists would be getting boxes of roses. At the REA building back behind Louisville KY Union Station there would be fragrant carts of boxes to be distributed to this local and that.
Springtime also brought boxes of live chicks, 100 to the ventilated box.  They had to be kept warm and delivered within 48 hours as I recall.  I saw baggage carts stacked high with chicks.  PEEP  PEEP PEEP!
I recall being told that these shipment were often COD, cash on delivery.  If not picked up in 24 hours, the agent was authorized to sell the chicks for the REA charge.  Better than disposing of dead chicks. 
Chuck Peck 

On Fri, Aug 9, 2019 at 12:19 AM Dennis Storzek <destorzek@...> wrote:
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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