What is a "Fast Mail Express"?

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I read somewhere that the Fast Express was a "high profile" run for a railroad. What exactly is a "Fast Express" or "Fast Mail Express"? What kind of cars (and how many) comprise a Fast Express and what kind of steam locomotive headed these for the Southern RR. I'm mainly interested in the 1925-1935 era. Thank you for your assistance.

-- John B. Hill (clanhill@mindspring.com), December 04, 2002


Many railroads had trains with a name like that. It is not as if there was any one format for such a train.(any more so, than, say, for a "streamliner").

They were nearly always overnight runs, heavy on mail traffic and very light on passenger traffic. A typical fast mail express might have say, 12 or 14 mail cars and one pssenger coach. Some had no passenger facilities at all and would not necessarily be listed in the timetable.

The rails were the prime carrier of the U. S. mail at one time so getting the mail to large cities very early in the morning(no need for dining cars, etc) was significant.

there was no particular kind of power just fot hem, either steam or diesel.

-- bill haithcoat (bhaithcoat@ajc.com), January 20, 2005.

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