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Railway Free Use

 
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
519 Posts
Posted 08/17/2012   12:02 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add Scouter to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
I saw an eBay item that was marked in the stamp area "Railway Business Only - It is unlawful to use this envelope without stamp for private business. Penalty $100.00" This was from the 1930's but there is no permit or prepaid information - was this something the RR's paid to get free use or did they get free use for a while?? Just curious.
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Pillar Of The Community
2361 Posts
Posted 08/17/2012   12:10 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add doug2222 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
It might have been Official Business of this agency:

"The U.S. Railroad Retirement Board (or 'RRB') is an independent agency in the executive branch of the United States government created in 1935 to administer a social insurance program providing retirement benefits to the country's railroad workers."

RRB is similar to Social Security, and no doubt had the franking privilege. Just a guess.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
519 Posts
Posted 08/17/2012   12:15 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Scouter to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I think this was from the New York Central electrical engineer group.
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Bedrock Of The Community
United States
12128 Posts
Posted 08/17/2012   2:12 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add wt1 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
You've asked a very interesting question. I don't know the answer, but since "a picture is worth a thousand words" here are images of the envelope in question:





The printed corner references NYCS (New York Central System) and G-76. Does G-76 correspond to a government authorized printing? That may be the question we need to respond to in order to provide a definitive answer.
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Valued Member
United States
389 Posts
Posted 08/17/2012   3:36 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add dlawson281 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
G76 is Permit Number used on US govt penalty covers. I think each Govt dept had a differant #.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
1293 Posts
Posted 08/17/2012   3:46 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Trainwreck to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I believe the U.S.P.S. uses Permit no. G-10. I found a recent example of Permit no. G-76 from the Bureau of Land Management.

Hasn't the penalty for private use always been $300.00?

Regards, Robert
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
2547 Posts
Posted 08/17/2012   4:02 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Russ to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Here is a similar example with 2 cent postage attached. It reads "RAILROAD BUSINESS - The use of this envelope to avoid payment of postage on private matter of any kind is punishable, under U.S. Postal Laws, by a fine of $100."

With numerous railways having RPO contracts it is possible that when used for official RPO business that postage was not needed>

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Edited by Russ - 08/17/2012 4:04 pm
Pillar Of The Community
United States
1128 Posts
Posted 08/17/2012   4:37 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ncbuckeye to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Back in the "olden golden days of railroading", it was common for a railroad company to send business material in the train cabs or via thee porter on passenger trains. I do remember on at least several occasions when I was small going with my grandfather (a station master on the DL&W railroad) out to an engine where he stuck a forked stick up to the engineer who placed an envelope on it for grandpa. I would imagine that the US postal office could not tell the railroad that they could not use their own equipment for business communication use, but could require that such comminications had to be only for business use.
This would be no different than what we did before I retired from a large bank. We had courier service between various banking centers to carry business related letters and documents (envelopes had the bank name, etc. on it), but we could not use the courier service to send personal communications, even to another bank employee.
Is this the answer? I don't know - my grandfather is long gone so I cannot question him! My input is plausible, but not verifiable.
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Bedrock Of The Community
United States
12128 Posts
Posted 08/17/2012   5:08 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add wt1 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
It seems to me there is a fine line to be drawn on Penalty Mail Envelopes as we know it and the Railroad example shown in the above scan.

Penalty Mail is, in fact, phrased "penalty for private use $300".

However, in the railroad example shown above it states "it is unlawful to use this envelope without stamp for private business - Penalty $100".

It seems to me the railroad example leaves open the idea that one may use their envelopes for mail, as long as a stamp is affixed to pay the required postage, which is much more lenient than the Penalty Mail warning which prohibits use of the envelopes for anything but official government business.
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
1128 Posts
Posted 08/17/2012   6:02 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ncbuckeye to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I just got off the phone with my neighbor across the street who is a USPS employee. She said that penalty for private use messages on envelopes is "between the company or government agency and the user of the envelope, whether employee or otherwise". She said the postal employees make no determination as to whether such an envelope is being used for personal use or not. As long as there is postage on the envelope or the company pays for it, they are happy.
So - wt1, your comment

Quote:
It seems to me the railroad example leaves open the idea that one may use their envelopes for mail, as long as a stamp is affixed to pay the required postage, which is much more lenient than the Penalty Mail warning which prohibits use of the envelopes for anything but official government business


... I totally agree with you. This sounds like the railroad is saying that one can use the railroad's envelopes for personal use so long as the user pays the postage.
My neighbor also stated that if you reuse a business envelope that has a bar code on the bottom, be sure to cross it out. It has the original sender information and the envelope could be returned to that location!
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Pillar Of The Community
United States
3980 Posts
Posted 12/31/2018   11:02 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ikeyPikey to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
.
Bumping because, frankly (pun), I'd never seen a Railway Penalty envelope before.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chica...fic_Railroad ... Chicago, Milwaukee, St Paul and Pacific Railroad (MILW)

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey





I-7-44-A-1000M // FORM 1510


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