Downtown 1958

Downtown 1958

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Railway Express Agency

That big diamond logo on the wall of the old CN&W depot was for the Railway Express Agency, or REA.  REA was a national monopoly set up by the Federal government in 1917. Rail express services provided small package and parcel transportation using the existing railroad infrastructure, similarly to how UPS functions today using the road system. The US government was concerned about the rapid, safe movement of parcels, money, and goods during World War I and REA was its solution to this problem. REA concentrated solely on express refrigerator service from 1940 on, but business declined dramatically due to the increase in refrigerated motor truck shipments. REA ceased operations in 1975 after a decades-long decline in revenues.  By this time, overall rail express volume had also decreased substantially to trucking companies and large volume shippers like UPS and FEDEX. 

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