Barney and Smith Railroad Post Office and Baggage Car

“Mark” (short for post mark) was built in about 1903 by the Barney and Smith Car Co. of Dayton Ohio, for the Detroit and Machinac Railroad. It ran between Bay City and Mackinac on the east side of the state of Michigan. The car was built as a combination baggage and railway post office. The baggage end would haul luggage much like the belly of an airline jet does now. The mail end was not only used to ship mail like the big trucks do today, but also mail was sorted while the train was moving.

Mail bags were snatched from poles placed at the depots along the route while the train kept on moving, and mail for that particular depot was throne out on to the platform. No minutes were lost which kept the train on schedule.

After it was no longer needed for passenger service, it was used for maintenance work by the railroad probably hauling supplies and tools. We think perhaps the roof was starting to leak, and in 1964 it was pushed into the round house in Tawas City Michigan where it sat until we rescued it in the fall of 2006.

Additional Reading
Please also check out the article “1903 RPO Car Comes to St. Johns” in the News Archive Section of this website.