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Question: Does An Rpo Cancel Imply That The Cover Was Mailed On A Train Or At A Train Station?

 
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United States
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Posted 08/05/2022   7:52 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this topic Add Mainer to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
Hello - A novice's question: I have a number of covers from my grandfather with RPO cancels from the Montreal-St.John line from the early 20th century. I'm just wondering, if an item has an RPO cancel does that mean it was mailed by someone while on the train? At the train station? Or did other mail get those postmarks while in transit.

Thanks for your help.
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United States
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Posted 08/05/2022   7:54 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I believe that it means the mail piece was carried on the train, not that it was mailed on a train.
Don
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Australia
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Posted 08/05/2022   8:00 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Bobby De La Rue to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I agree with Don.

It means the article was cancelled on the train en-route to its destination.

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Author of "The De La Rue Stamps of NSW" and "They Carried The Mails: The Conveyance of Post Office Mail in the Central West of NSW in the 19th Century"
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Posted 08/05/2022   8:12 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Railway Post Office (RPO) postmarks were applied to:

1) Letters deposited through the RPO car's letter slot or handed to the Railway Postal Clerk if standing in the doorway;
2) Letters deposited into a street letter collection box mounted on the depot platform that was marked "train mail" or similar endorsement;
3) A misdirected letter was endorsed "MISSENT" and the RPO receiving that letter postmarked the letter on the front, then redirected the letter for proper dispatch; and,
4) Special Delivery letters were back-stamped with the RPO postmark if a clerk on-board sorted that letter.

Letters mailed in a city or town received that Post Office's postmark, not a RPO postmark. Mail with un-canceled stamps were not postmarked in a RPO car; that obliteration to prevent re-use was the destination post office's responsibility.

From Linn's:


Quote:
Mail moved by rail fell into three classifications.

Closed-pouch mail was sorted and postmarked at a post office and shipped as freight. It was not processed by the RPO.

Initial-terminal mail delivered to the RPO at the beginning point of the line was sorted and postmarked en route by the RPO. Processed mail was bagged and off-loaded at the appropriate stations along the line or passed on at the end of the run for forwarding.

Between-terminals mail was picked up at stations after the train began its run. This mail was sorted, postmarked, and if appropriate, off-loaded while the train was en route. At stations where the train did not stop, mail pouches were hooked at speed from small cranes. On some trains, passengers could mail letters or postcards by dropping them through a special slot in the mail car.


https://www.linns.com/news/postal-u...railway.html
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Edited by rogdcam - 08/05/2022 8:15 pm
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Posted 08/05/2022   10:00 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Parcelpostguy to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Letters mailed in a city or town received that Post Office's postmark, not a RPO postmark.


In the USA, and the question was about Canada, RPO Terminal Post Offices were attached to the ground and did not move. Mail presented there received an RPO cancel. Due to chain of command authority, the RPO Terminal Post Offices were NOT part of a city's post offices as the local city postmaster had no authority over any RPO including Terminal Offices. This was so well enforced, that a letter mailed at the town's RPO terminal post office did not qualify for the discounted "drop letter" or "local letter" reduced postage rate as it was not part of the city delivery geographic drop nor local region.
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Canada
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Posted 08/05/2022   11:23 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add No1philatelist to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Regarding the Canadian mail cover noted- did the front of the cover have a a regular cancellation and the RPO on the backside? Can you show an image?
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Posted 08/05/2022   11:32 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add John Becker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
Can you show an image?

Amen! It's so much better to talk about a specific item than to deal in lengthy what-ifs.
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Posted 08/06/2022   07:26 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Mainer to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks everyone for the great feedback and discussion. Here's one of the covers. My grandfather was the eldest son of Halifax collector and dealer Henry Hechler and this is a cover from a letter he wrote to his mother. The cancel is faint but it is a CPR Mont & St.John cancel, July 1900. At this time my grandfather had left Halifax and started working at the bank in Lac-Mégantic, PQ. He would have taken this line to travel between Halifax and Lac-Mégantic. So my question was triggered by the idea that he was writing a letter home while on the train.

On the reverse is the receipt postmark in Halifax and his return address.
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Edited by Mainer - 08/06/2022 08:03 am
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Posted 08/06/2022   8:54 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add No1philatelist to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Another Heckler cover. Have seen many of his famous creations/ items up for auction in Halifax over the years. Henry was a very prolific dealer. Eastern auctions just recently, about 2 yrs., sold a substantial part of the collection that was in his granddaughters possession.
It is possible to have been posted on the train, and its possible that the mailcoach in Canada had a mailslot for deposit, or it was handed in by favor to mailcoach personal. Whichever method would most likely have obtained the same result. Only the sender knows for sure.
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