Why is there no REA mentioned in railroading

wisconsinjimmy May 8, 2014

  1. wisconsinjimmy

    wisconsinjimmy TrainBoard Member

    As I look through the different sites and webs also the suppliers I do not find any mention of Rail Road Express Agency which I worked for until they closed shop in Mpls, Mn. ?
  2. JNXT 7707

    JNXT 7707 TrainBoard Member

    Google "REA railroading" or something similar. There are tons of stuff out there. What exactly are you looking for?
  3. BoxcabE50

    BoxcabE50 HOn30 & N Scales Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    There have been railroad cars and vehicles done for modelers. So such manufacturers have not completely forgotten. As for the general public, almost forty years are now gone since REA folded up. Just another gap (of too many) in the US educational system of today. Where past history is disdained, or simply not taught.
  4. fitz

    fitz Staff Member

    Somewhere here on this site is a discussion, in the New York Central fallen flag forum, concerning real REA employees like my late father and other members' relatives, showing them at work. My dad spent 37 years with the REA and I have a lot of memories of the company. The real forerunner of UPS, FedEX, etc. After I post this I am going to go into Railimages to find a few of the photos in that old discussion and post them here. Be back.



    That's my late father on the right in the second photo. Both taken at Little Falls, NY on the New York Central.

    Attached Files:

    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2014
  5. wisconsinjimmy

    wisconsinjimmy TrainBoard Member

    Thanks guys it was a great help, just wish I was real flush with the world as there is a hat for $145.00 which has his year pins 18 and 20, I used to wear one of those cool.
  6. montanan

    montanan TrainBoard Member

    I tend to agree with you. REA was a very important part of railroading. I grew up in the 50's, with relatives working on the railroad. We lived in a rather rural area, and REA brought in the goods. Long haul trucking was not in the picture yet, and there was no Fed Ex or UPS back then. The chances are that no matter what we had, most of it was probably delivered by REA. If it wasn't delivered directly to us, it was delivered to merchants of all kinds for retail sales. Almost everything, clothing, tools, furniture, machinery, parts, some food items and most everything we take for granted now was handled by REA. Not only did they have their own vehicles for delivery and pick up, in some cases they worked with small local trucking companies to take up the slack. I vividly remember seeing the REA vehicles going about their business every day. I model the transition era and REA is a part of my railroad.
  7. pacbelt

    pacbelt TrainBoard Member

    Nice, rich piece of History - thanks!!

    Sent from my XT897 using Tapatalk
  8. wisconsinjimmy

    wisconsinjimmy TrainBoard Member

    I am retired now and my railroad pension was converted over to SSI I have no idea why but I might have taken that one in the shorts. REA gave me my start in the truck driving business and I truly miss peddling freight, I delivered a piano one time and got my butt chewed by the union for hiring some winos to help unload it. What is a guy supposed to do. I would work the Mpls-St. Paul area delivering and pickup then come in and unload on the cross dock. As my rail gets more towards the scenery end I am going to get an REA terminal
  9. bnsf971

    bnsf971 TrainBoard Member

    I use the "If They Don't Ask, I Don't Tell Them" method. My supervisors have learned to just smile and not ask...
  10. BarstowRick

    BarstowRick TrainBoard Supporter

    My now departed dad was a short timer REA agent, out of Barstow and over in Mojave, Ca. He would work the mail trains and other passenger trains that carried mail and REA packages. No pictures to show off and I have no idea why. Seems the family has pictures of everything else but...

    He said of Mojave it was cold over there during the winter.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 22, 2014
  11. wisconsinjimmy

    wisconsinjimmy TrainBoard Member

    Back when I worked for REA I believe they were still a gov't agency or at least I thought they were, I have no photos of that era although my family was not into photos in a big way so I never got into photography in fact I did have me a brand spanking new 69 Ply Road Runner and never got a picture of it
  12. Randy Stahl

    Randy Stahl TrainBoard Supporter

    REA was never government. REA was owned by the railroads much like trailer train. Beginning in 1929, sixty nine railroads organized the REA and bought the American Railway Express. In time each railroad that provided express service had an ownership percentage that appeared to be based on the amount of business. For example , the Bangor and Aroostook owned one share.

    The US government was most responsible for wiping out the REA by ruling that REA couldn't compete by using aircraft or trucks. With the demise of passenger trains that left the REA with no way to pay the bills.

    One by one the member railroads pulled out of the service. By 1975 REA was dead, its place taken by a local concern that was expanding to take REA business. UPS.
  13. r_i_straw

    r_i_straw Mostly N Scale Staff Member

    This is from January 16, 1962. A friend of mine gave it to me. He shipped a footlocker from Corpus Christi to Hartford, Wisconsin.

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