| Railways | Airmail
may be slow, but they
can't be beaten
in terms of low cost and versatility. At the beginning of the 20th
century, cars and trucks were starting to replace stagecoaches that were
previously used to transport mail over long distances.
the 1930's to the 1970's, a common vehicle for transporting
mail was the "Highway Post Office". This was
a bus on which mail could be sorted, much like in mail cars on trains.
However, since the use of railways was in a decline, post office buses took over
much of the work.
By the middle of the 1950's,
mailmen were realizing that there was simply too much mail to carry around in a
single bag. Their mail bags were spilling out over the top because they
were so full. It soon became apparent that they would also need motor
vehicles to help them deliver the mail.
There has been an endless
variety of mail delivery vehicles, from jeeps to station wagons. Many
modern mail trucks are powered by electricity. The problem postal services
have always faced with mail trucks is trying to find one that can hold a lot of
mail, travel in all kinds of weather, and still be extremely cheap and very
compact. A perfect solution is difficult to reach.
For mail transport across long
distances, it isn't quite as hard to find the right vehicle for the job, because
normal trucks can be used. Unlike mail delivery trucks, these trucks don't
have to be custom designed. Postal services employ large fleets of mail
transport vehicles, ranging from small trucks to 18-wheelers.
first became practical for use in mail delivery during the 1830ís. Steam
locomotives had advanced enough that they could travel in excess of 30mph, and
countries such as the United States realized that railroads could be put to
great use in the postal service.
Small experimental routes were established first, but by
the 1840ís trains were carrying mail between major cities. One of the great
advantages of delivering mail by train was that it could be sorted while en
route to its destination. Up until that time, all mail was sorted in
distribution offices. However, sorting mail on the train reduced the time it
took to deliver mail by eliminating the need to stop at those distribution
offices. Although at first these mail cars were only equipped for sorting
letters, they were eventually able to sort other types of mail as well.
|Sorting mail inside the mail car
on a train.
Postal services would continue to use railroads to
deliver mail for over a century, but by the 1960ís, other more efficient means
of mail delivery had been developed, such as airmail, and railroad mail service
rapidly declined. However, railways still play a major part in the postal
system in some countries like India.
Sorting Machines | Packet Sorting Machines
| Segregating, Facing and Canceling Equipment | Transportation