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OPERATING RPO CARS

First class trains do very little work on the layout other than run interference to the freight trains or have quick station stops. You can add extra chores such as switching out diners, coaches, sleepers and RPO cars at various locations. I have added an extra element of excitment by perfecting action of catching a mail bag on the fly. It took a little trial by error to make this happen.

 On our Railroad, the station agent is responsible to get the mail sack positioned on the crane. The fellow on the right is checking his watch for the expected arrival of the East Bound Fast Mail.
On our Railroad, the station agent is responsible to get the mail sack positioned on the crane. The fellow on the right is checking his watch for the expected arrival of the East Bound Fast Mail.
 The mail crane is swung out into position for the "catch".
The mail crane is swung out into position for the “catch”.
 The catching hook is hanging down when not being used as the prototype ( you don't want to snag tunnel portals, bridges and other object close to track side).
The catching hook is hanging down when not being used as the prototype ( you don’t want to snag tunnel portals, bridges and other object close to track side).
 In our case, the hook is raised manually when the train is stopped at some location (station stop town or crew change). The hook is designed to stay up when you lift it up and move it ahead a fraction on an inch. The forward tip of the arm has the tip bent up and locks into another pin bent over and attached to the car body to receive it.
In our case, the hook is raised manually when the train is stopped at some location (station stop town or crew change). The hook is designed to stay up when you lift it up and move it ahead a fraction on an inch. The forward tip of the arm has the tip bent up and locks into another pin bent over and attached to the car body to receive it.
 The magnetic bag stays on the steel pin without falling off. When I do this at speed, the hook will slide back that fraction on an inch and the hook will fall down.
The magnetic bag stays on the steel pin without falling off. When I do this at speed, the hook will slide back that fraction on an inch and the hook will fall down.
 This is how it looks when the hook falls down. Not to far down the line, someone in your train crew has to remove the mail bag so it doesn't snag objects close to the right of way. Where will that bag be placed? See that open door on the next car back! I plan to have a bag kicker that will toss the bag on the platform near the mail crane. After all, mail is received and picked up at each location. It only requires two mail bags to keep this cycle going.
This is how it looks when the hook falls down. Not to far down the line, someone in your train crew has to remove the mail bag so it doesn’t snag objects close to the right of way. Where will that bag be placed? See that open door on the next car back! I plan to have a bag kicker that will toss the bag on the platform near the mail crane. After all, mail is received and picked up at each location. It only requires two mail bags to keep this cycle going.
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