C&O 15-Foot Apartment RPO (Mail & Express) Car
(In use 1930-1955)
3-D printed accurate sides for use in building an accurate C&O Steel 15-Foot Apartment RPO Cars – Called “Mail & Express” cars by C&O.
These six cars were built by ACF in 1930 to replace old wooden/composite cars that were being used mainly on branch line trains that had the smallest authorization for Railway Post Office equipment. The 15-foot RPO apartment (where just one clerk worked) was installed in the 70-foot cars, the remainder being available for storage mail, express, and baggage. They made an ideal car for branch line use. A few mainline trains also had only 15-foot RPO authorizations, so they were sometimes seen on the name trains as well. In another example, the Big Sandy SD locals had these cars in use into the mid-1950s.
The Post Office (Railway Mail Service) called them “Apartment RPOs,” but C&O’s official designation was “Mail & Express” cars. This nomenclature applied both to the 15-foot cars such as these and the larger 30-foot apartment cars.
The modeler can use this car on branch lines or mainline trains and sitting around terminals where branch line trains started/ended their runs.
The car sides are 3-D printed from drawings and photos in the C&OHS collection and are the first accurate designs available. Modelers can use “donor” parts from kits made by Bethlehem Car Works, Walthers, Athearn, and others.