Railroad Postmarks (RPO) from Bangor, Maine

A Brief History of Railroads Maine

Railroad technology was first developed in Great Britain, and included Richard Trevithick’s steam locomotive of 1804 and George Stevenson’s locomotive “Rocket” of 1829.

In addition to the standard gauge (width) lines, narrow gauge railroads also had a special role to play in the state.

The first railroad companies in Maine were chartered in 1832 and 1833, and, after some initial difficulties, the first line of tracks was completed in 1836 by the Bangor & Piscataquis Canal & Railroad from Bangor to Old Town. This became the second railroad in New England after the Boston & Lowell Railroad, which began operations in 1835.

After a century of expansion, little was done to enlarge the rail network in Maine. The peak year of railroad mileage in the country was in 1920, and in Maine in 1924 with approximately 2,380 miles. From the 1920’s onward, the abandonment, and in most cases, the removal of track was the norm in Maine. A line was built to connect the South Portland Shipyard to rail early in World War II. Not until the 1970’s, 80’s, and 90’s was any significant work done on Maine’s railroads. Interestingly, American railroads today carry more freight than was moved in the first Golden Age of railroading.

The Northern Maine Junction in Hermon, just west of Bangor, links the north-south Bangor and Aroostook with the east-west Maine Central system.

Short line narrow gauge railroads were built to move wood from forests to mills. A few connected local communities, such as one connecting Wiscasset to Albion running along the Sheepscot River. Another in northern Franklin County ran from Farmington to Rangeley, and from Strong to Kingfield and Bigelow. Others connected Bridgton with the Maine Central Railroad, and Monson with the Bangor and Aroostook Railroad.

Source references:

My interest (RPO of Bangor)

My interest is in the postmarks of the rail lines to and from Bangor, Maine. Except those to Boston.

As far as I could gather from the literature so far ("The United States Railway Post Office Postmark Catalog 1864 to 1977" by the "Mobile Post Office Society, Inc."), there were not many. Therefore, covers with these postmarks are not often offered.
Normal letters/postcards were cancelled with these postmarks, only if they were posted in an RPO! I have read that they are therefore much rarer than those from "fixed" post offices.

I show here some of the covers I could acquire so far. Detailed descriptions will be added from time to time as from time to time, when I have more information.

Commercial cover with RPO postmark "BANGOR & BAR HARBOR". Postmarked December 23, 1907. Addressed to Bangor, Maine.
Large image of the RPO postmark.
Commercial cover with RPO postmark "BANGOR & BUCKPORT". Error in the postmark. Must actually read "BUCKSPORT". Postmarked July 24, 1889. Addressed to Mancester, Mass.
Large image of the RPO postmark.
Commercial cover with RPO postmark "CALAIS & BANG", Trip 122. postmarked August 09, 1949. addressed to Berkeley, California.
Large image of the RPO postmark.
Commercial cover with RPO postmark "VAN BUREN & BANG," Trip 8. Postmarked September 07, 1929. Addressed to Boston, Mass.
Back of the letter with information of the sender.
Large image of the RPO postmark.
Commercial cover with RPO postmark "VANCEBORO & BANGOR," Trip 8. Postmarked July 09, 1929. Addressed to Boston, Mass.
Large image of the RPO postmark.
Copyright Jürgen Kuseler 2022