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also briefly outlines high speed rail’s track, alignment, signaling, and power distribution needs and discusses Maglev technology. After the introductory material, the wide

variety of HSR equipment used in Japan, France, Germany, Belgium, Britain, Switzer- land, the United States, Denmark, Russia, Italy, Spain, China, Korea, and Taiwan is de- picted and described. Each class of equip- ment merits a spread which consists of data and text on one page and a good photo of the rolling stock on the facing page. While the au- thor’s native Australia does not have true high-speed rail, he discusses several HSR proposals and devotes considerable space to Australian HSR-capable equipment. The last few pages cover recent develop-

ments in HSR equipment, including articu- lated trainsets. Bear in mind that all di- mensions and speeds are given in metric form. There’s a lot of material here and any- one who has an interest in high speed rail will find it useful. —WALT LANKENAU


Mail by Rail Revelation Video P.O. Box 129, Tallmadge, OH 44278; www.revelationvideo. com. 63 minutes, DVD only. $29.00 postpaid (overseas, add $5.00); Ohio residents add sales tax.

The United

States Postal Service’s cur- rent fiscal pro- blems are in the news. Con- versely, it is quite an educa- tion to learn

about the vast manpower and resources that were once involved in shipping and sorting the mail on trains. First class postage was just a few pennies, too. This DVD contains eight chapters of varying quality which ranges from a very good 1956 b&w training film on how to be a Railway Post Office clerk to lineside movie clips of various RPO’s in ac- tion decades ago, to current video of a re- stored RPO in action. Amtrak’s 1999-2000 Century Express also makes an appearance. Throughout, detailed narration on the histo- ry of mail carriage by rail in this country ac- companies the images. Subtitles denote some locations and train numbers and tell who is stuffing the pigeon holes. It is quite a story — 113 years of operation, 10,000 rail routes, 30,000 employees, over 200,000 rail miles and 4000 RPO cars at the peak. As air- planes, regional sorting centers, and Inter- state highways appeared, the handwriting was on the wall. It all ended in June 1977, when the last working RPO ceased to run on a Penn Central mail train on the Washing- ton to New York route. The 20-minute training film Men and

Mail in Transit covers every aspect of an RPO clerk’s duties from setting up the car interior (sack hangers, distributing table, pigeonhole labels) to how to sort mail, to how to pick it up on the fly, as well as how to toss out the sacks. The film shows how to do things safely, the archaic systems that kept track of things, the stress caused by having to sort mail before reaching the next station, and more. Most of the film was shot inside an RPO, but also aboard E units on the Bal- timore & Ohio and along the line as well. A good sampling of mail crane action is in-

cluded here and throughout this DVD. Next up are a variety of passenger trains

around the country, featuring the RPO’s in their consists. The timeline of RPO use is covered in the narration with interesting statistics. Remarkably, this way of life still exists in a few places overseas, and a few clips show such operations in China, the United Kingdom, and Hungary. A fair amount of time is devoted to the

end of RPO’s on the Santa Fe Railway. A bit of company-shot film and much amateur film shot circa 1967 shows the final RPO runs between Kansas City and Albuquerque on trains 7 and 8 and the Chief, Nos. 19 and 20. Most of this film was shot aboard the cars and shows the clerks doing their thing, while some nice trackside runbys around Kansas City show the entire trains with clips of meets, stations, and the general rail- road scene of the era. The image quality of this chapter is not up to standard in terms of exposure, camera technique, sharpness, etc., but the content is very rare, with abun- dant subtitles and extensive documentation. Another chapter with varying image qual-

ity and a wide variety of clips and still im- ages covers a dog named Owney, a mutt who used to ride RPO’s around the country. It’s quite a little tale, no pun intended; Owney even got his own stamp. Apparently famous in mail circles, the story of this man’s best friend is well covered at the National Postal Museum, part of the Smithsonian. The last days of RPO service on the Erie

Lackawanna’s east end are covered in some detail, as this is where the producer lived at the time. Various clips are shown, including the EL’s m.u. electric RPO routes. We next see the Cleveland Union Terminal opera- tion via 1950-vintage movies which show- case the CUT electric motors that later went east to the New York Central opera- tion out of Grand Central Terminal. A pot- pourri of clips that show Reading, New Haven, Chicago & North Western, Milwau- kee Road and Burlington RPO’s in service is next, followed by modern day video covering bits of a ride on Canada’s Algoma Central (which delivers mail via rail in remote areas of Ontario). Fairly extensive coverage of the Illinois Railway Museum’s 2011 RPO week- end demonstrates all the techniques on an RPO that shuttled back and forth. On- board as well as trackside footage is skill- fully edited into a flowing presentation of postal techniques. The quality of the imagery in this program

varies from well-shot and edited modern video to some substandard as well as good amateur movies with varying transfer quali- ties, to the professional training film. Foot- age came from the Association of American Railroads, the Library of Congress, and 11 railfans. Some of the movie transfers appear to have been done years ago, but the subject matter, along with the informative narra- tion, overcomes any visual deficiencies. This program presents a topic not yet cov-

ered and likely will appeal to a variety of viewers old and young. It is certainly solid Americana and suitable for the education of school kids. For those interested in more in- formation on the topic, additional sources are suggested in the DVD enclosures, and the producer would like to know about any additional information, stories, film and video on RPO activities. He suggests that we share this DVD with our letter carriers, and I will do just that. — TOM KELCEC

Erie Lackawanna Historical Society Two New ELHS Exclusives


Maitland Tower

Erie Crossing Shanty

The Maitland Tower kit builds into a model of the tower's initial configuration and can be modified to represent a number of other Erie west end towers. Maitland also broke up the block between Glen Echo and Cold Springs on the Dayton Branch and was used by the DT&I to issue trains orders. This served to extend the tower life more than anything else and remained in service well into the Conrail years. Crossing Shanty not included

Member price $5200

plus $8.95 s&h (US Funds Only)

Non-member price $6500


This kit builds into a model representing crossing shanties located throughout the Erie west end.

Member price $1400

plus $8.95 s&h (US Funds Only)

Member price HO $5000

plus $8.95 s&h

Non-member price $1750

★ ★ STILL AVAILABLE ★ ★ DL&W Vestal, N.Y. Station

(US Funds Only)

HO $5000 N

Member price $3800 (US Funds Only)

$8.95 s&h Books from

Erie Lackawanna Historical Society Erie Steam Locomotive Diagram Book Book No. 2 (1944)

Erie Passenger Equipment Diagram Book Book No. 76, May 1952

DL&W Locomotive Classificaton Diagram Book Revised July 1st 1939

DL&W Classification of Freight Equipment Corrected to May 1, 1952

Erie Lackawanna Passenger Equipment Diagram Book, Book No. 15, Issued Aug. 30, 1966.

Erie Lackawanna Freight Equipment Diagram Book, Book No. 78, Updated May 9, 1975

plus $8.95 s&h (US Funds Only) (Book prices are non-member. Please allow 4-6 weeks delivery) Dealer Inquiries Welcome

Order from: ELHS, Department RF Jay Held, 10-10 ELLIS AVE, FAIR LAWN, N.J. 07410 No phone calls will be accepted For information send SASE

N.J., PA & Ohio res. add sales tax. Outside US extra s&h.

ELHS membership at $35 per membership cycle. Cycle includes four issues of our magazine “The Diamond” and four newsletters with modeling

information. Separate check please. Send to: ELHS c/o Randy Dettmer, 290 W. Prospect St., Hudson, OH 44236


$32.00 $24.00 $30.00 $21.00

$32.00 $32.00

Non-member price HO $6500


Erie Waldwick Interlocking Tower HO & N plus


Non-member price HO $6500 $4800

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