Canal Zone RPO

RAILWAY MAIL SERVICE (RMS)

Regular mail service on the "Panama R. R." began about January 1, 1905, and ended May 15, 1954. There was one exception on January 28, 1955 - in conjunction with the anniversary celebration of the completion of the railroad, a special mail car was attached to Train No. 1. Until the construction of the Boyd-Roosevelt Trans-Isthmian Highway in 1945, the railroad was the only fast and scheduled connection across the Isthmus.

On each train there was a mail car with postal workers who processed the mail there. The even train numbers went north (Ancon-Cristobal), and the odd ones went south (Cristobal-Ancon). There were four first class trains each day, numbers 2 through 9.

There was a branch line on the west side of the canal north to Bas Opispo. It crossed the canal on a trestle as a bridge near Paraiso. The trains also carried mail cars numbered 32 to 39. Postmarks of these trains are rare.

Recently a timetable from 1909 was found with trains numbered 20 to 30, which ran only on Sundays.

Source reference:

L. P. Entwistle, The Postal Markings of the Canal Zone, second edition

Postage paid commercial postcard with postmark RMS-1b to Entwistle. Postmarked September 22, 1909 and train number 6. Addressed to Haymarket, Virginia.
Postage paid commercial cover with postmark RMS-3 to Entwistle. Postmarked 16 December and train number 8. Addressed to Cristobal, C.Z.
Reverse: Cristobal arrival postmark dated 16 December 1914.
Postage paid commercial cover postmarked RMS-4 to Entwistle. Postmarked April 12, 1929 and train number 2. Addressed to Clarksville, Iowa.
Reverse: arrival postmark from Clarksville, Iowa dated April 19, 1929.
Postage paid airmail commercial cover postmarked RMS-6 to Entwistle. Postmarked 09 December 1941 and train number 3. Addressed to Upper Darby, Penna.
Postage paid airmail commercial cover postmarked RMS-6 to Entwistle. Postmarked July 16, 1941 and train number 5. Addressed to Eatonville, Washington.
Reverse: arrival postmark from Eatonville, Washington dated July 19, 1941.
Postage paid airmail commercial cover postmarked RMS-6 to Entwistle. Postmarked December 13, 1931 and train number 6. Addressed to New Martinsville, West Virginia.
Postage paid commercial cover with postmark RMS-2 to Entwistle. Postmarked December 05 (1913) and without train number. Addressed to Ancon, C.Z.
Reverse: arrival postmark from Ancon, CZ with date 05 December 1913.
Postage paid collector's cover postmarked RMS-6a to Entwistle and first day cancel. Postmarked January 28, 1955 and train number 1. Addressed to Westport, Conn. Postmark of special train celebrating the anniversary of the completion of the railroad.
Copyright J├╝rgen Kuseler 2021