EIU Teaching with Primary Sources
Preparation, Schemes and Exams
Before Boarding a Train…Preparation, Schemes & Exams Railway Post Office (RPO) clerks were considered the elite of the mail service. RPO clerks were held to the highest level of accountability and took great pride in their work. This level of performance meant spending time off studying schemes to learn exact locations of thousands of towns, villages and connecting communities.
Entrance and regularly scheduled exams called for clerks to sort 100 cards by route and location in two to three minutes demanding 95% - 97% accuracy. Some clerks sorted 600+ pieces of mail per hour into pigeon holes on a speeding train. RPO clerks memorized the names and locations of 5,000 – 10,000 post offices; this was before zip codes were established in 1963. Working in ever-changing roles, RPO clerks developed superior memorization and learning techniques and skills.
Mastering the intellectual facet of the job equipped RPO clerks for the physical demands on the train.
In their own words...Click the screen shot to watch the video in a new window.