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Mail Cranes - Another Riddle!

Posted: Sat Jun 02, 2012 2:57 pm
by Luke
The Northern Ohio-AC&Y operated passenger “mixed” trains for some 50-years until July 1951, primarily to handle U.S. mail under contract. To minimize train stops and starts, mail cranes were positioned at many "flag stop" stations to pick up mail “on-the-fly.” In 1928, five unique “Columbian” steel mail cranes were acquired and installed at Rushmore, Sycamore, Chatfield, Litchfield and Sharon Center replacing older wood mail cranes. The original wood-type mail cranes remained at Copley, Fairlawn and likely other flag stop stations. Curiously, not one of these mail cranes had ever appeared in any AC&Y depot photo. Its a vexing mystery of which there is no doubt an answer?

Re: Mail Cranes - Another Riddle!

Posted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 9:21 am
by West End
Bob,

I think the answer is simple. They were installed and used for a very short time. They were retired and removed rather quickly. How much mail traffic was the AC&Y really moving to towns like Rimer and Vuaghnsville anyway?

Chris

Re: Mail Cranes - Another Riddle!

Posted: Sun Jun 03, 2012 1:22 pm
by Luke
Chris,
Yes, it's possible the mail cranes at flag stop stations were removed, although there are other clues. Mail crane retirements took place in 1950 under AC&Y-AFE-A-353 coincidental with loss of the US Postal Service contract. Also, the two ex-Mississippi Central RPO's (#262 pictured) acquired in 1943 had doorway mail catchers. Photos show the earlier RPO's also equipped with this device. Lastly, the Bill Hanslik story on Litchfield (Spring 1999 AC&YHS NEWS) mentions that AC&Y's legendary station agent Bill Baish ran the U.S. Mail route (service). That seem to indicate that mail to/from Litchfield was still handled on the mixed trains. This may be one riddle for the ages? REL