(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved. Contact us for information about using this image.
As early as 1835, mail was moved by railroads. By the 1880s, specially equipped mail cars were built that sorted the mail collected along the route. This system was used until the 1960s when trucks replaced the Railway Mail Service. To speed pick-ups, a system was developed to allow trains to get the mail without stopping. In this photograph, Albert M. Thompson is standing on the mail platform at the Deerfield, Massachusetts, station in the 1940s. Over his shoulder is the bar that raises a signal for the mail train, telling it that there is mail to pick up. He his holding the mail pouch taut so that as the train passes by a postman can catch it using a special hook.