Great Northern RPO #42

GN Railway Post Office car #42 one of 6 built by American Car and Foundry in 1950 for the Mid-Century Empire Builder. These cars were designed to run as the first car in the consist, right behind the locomotives, so they sported wrap-around striping on their front ends.

RPO cars were owned by the railway, but leased to the Postal Service and were staffed by postal employees. Since they had no vestibules, workers entered through the side mail doors as the end doors to the train on one side, and locomotives on the other side were usually locked for security. The car was usually staffed by 11 people, and they had minimal comforts on board — a toilet and kitchenette with one hot plate heated with train-line steam.