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The general service is much the same as indicated in the last annual report. Some slight changes have been made, as follows: On May 24 of the present year the Boston and Albany railway post-office train, No. 49, was changed to leave Boston at 7 p. m. instead of 6 p. m., arriving at Albany at 1.40 a. m. instead of 1.15 a. m. By this change a decided advantage was secured to the New England section of the country, and particularly to the business community of Boston, as the 7 p. m. departing railway post-office secured an accumulation of business mail of that day which was lost when the train left at 6 p. m. This train connects at Albany with the fast mail leaving New York at 9 p. m. No change has been made in the arrival of these connections at Chicago, which is still 12.335 a. m., making a direct connection with the fast mails north and west via the Chicago and Miuni apolis and Chicago and Burlington railway post offices leaving Chicago at 3 a. m.
During the present year a change of schedule was made by the Wabash Railroad Company, by which connections at Toledo from train No. 7, New York and Chicago for Saint Louis, was broken. This is a very important connection, being the p. m. accumulation of mail from New Eng. land, the East, and New York City, and would have resulted in great delay to the mail and serious consequences to the public. Upon the matier, however, being presented to the general manager of the Wabash company that company agreed to take the railway post-office connection from train No. 7, leaving Toledo at 5.20 p. m., on an accom: modation train for a certain distance of the route, after which the postal car was run as a special to overtake the fast train, leaving Toledo about 2 p. m., arriving in Saint Louis at 8.20 the following morning. This arrangement has been very satisfactory to the Department and is a decided benefit to the people through the entire Southwest.
The Washington and Charlotte railway post office was changed to leave Washington at 11.15 a. m. instead of 9.10 a. m. This change took effect on April 5, and is of great advantage to the people of Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and all New England, as it expedites mail from these points for nearly the entire South. By this arrangement the fast mail connection leaving Bostou at 6 p. m. arrives in Washington at 10.50
Under the previous schedule there was no direct connection for New Orleans by this arrival at Washington, as the Washington and Charlotte railroad post-office had departed (9.10 a. m.); but by changing the Washington and Charlotte to leave at 11.15 a. m. this important connection from the entire eastern country for New Orleans was secured at Washington, so that mail leaving Boston at 6 p. m. arrives in New Orleans the morning of the third day, thereby advancing all mail between Washington and New Orleans fully twelve hours; and as by the change the mail arrives in the morning, instead of, as heretofore, in the evening, the gain to New Orleans is virtually one business day.
Arrangements have been perfected with the Pennsylvania Company by which the morning mails from Saint Louis are considerably advanced. The railway post office train leaving Saint Louis at 9 a. m.connects at Columbus, Ohio, with the limited train via the Pennsylvania Railroad between New York and Cincinnati. At Cumbus the railway post-office cars are transferred from the regular train to the fast train, and reach Pittsburgh in time to connect with the fast express train on the Pennsylvania Railroad, by wbich city mail for New York and Philadelphia is forwarded, reaching New York at 6.55 p. m. instead of 9.35 p. m.
On May 25, 1885, the railway post-office car on the Boston, Spring. field and New York was changed to leave New York at 9 instead of 8 a. m. The object in view in making this change was to secure the con. nection from Jacksonville, New Orleans, and Washington, via the New York and Washington railway post office, for New England. Previ. ous to the change the railway post office was run from New York to New Haven and there cut off, to be taken up by train leaving New York at 11 a. m., and arriving at Springfield at 3.02 p. m. and Boston at 6 p.
By changing the railway post office to leave New York at 9 a. m. all Southern connections were made, and it arrived at Springfield at 12.45 p. m. and Boston at 4.40 p. m. Thus, for mail leaving New York an hour later, an earlier arrival is secured at Springfield and Boston, and all mail for that portion of the route between New York and New Haven, which under the old schedule was delayed when connection was missed at New York, is now, by this change, served by the railway post-office on trip east instead of, as formerly, on trip west, being the difference in delivery between morning and evening.
Under the act of Congress approved July 1, 1882, this service was reorganized and its clerical force placed upon a civil service footing, so far as it could be done without further Congressional action.
A new system of examination under the new order of things was deemed to be unnecessary as the plan then in operation had been tested for over twelve years and found to fully meet the requirements of this service.
In explanation of the system of examinations referred to, I may be permitted to state that the duties of a postal clerk are of such a nature as to render any theoretical examination before appointment of but very little value as a test of competency. The appointee is, therefore, not required to undergo any preliminary examination, but is at once set to work in a railway post-office car, and his daily record, together with the periodical examinations on the practical workings of his office, will fully and clearly, as well as quickly, demonstrate whether his services are likely to prove of value or not.
Any young man possessing a good constitution, quimpaired eyesight, a retentive memory, and an ordinary education, if he be not afraid of hard work and sees fit to apply himself, cau readily pass to the regular service; but if he does not possess these qualifications, a failure is almost inevitable.
This plan of securing efficient clerks is perbaps as good as any that can be devised. It enables the Department to select bright, active young men, who are physically as well as mentally qualified for the arduous duties they will be called upon to perform. The service is also enabled to secure men living on, or contiguous to, the lines to which they will be assigned, which experience has shown to be a great advantage.
After an applicant has received his probationary appointment and reported for duty, a course of study is marked out for bim that will be of service in any work to which he may be assigned. He is required to be thoroughly conversaut with all of that portion of the Postal Laws and Regulations relating to this service, in order to act promptly in cases of einergency. He must learn the location of each post office on the route over which he runs, as also those on connecting lines in the neighboring States, and how to get their mail to destination in the quickest time. This, of course, involves an accurate knowledge of rail. road schedules and connections. He is examined about once a month during his probationary term, and, at the expiration of that period, a full report of these examinations, together with his other qualifications, such as eyesight, memory, disposition, social habits, morals, &c., is made to the general superintendent, and it is then decided whether he shall be given a permanent appointment or retired from the service.
If continued in the service his studentship is by no means ended; in fact, if assigned to any one of the larger lines of the country, it is but commenced, and the appointee must look forward to several years of constant application before he can hope to attain the higher grades. I think I can safely say that it requires fully as much mental, and more physical, labor to become a first-class postal clerk than it does to become proficient in any other trade or profession.
Years of patient and assiduous labor and study bave served to train up in the service a corps of energetic and faithful employés whose places could not be satisfactorily filled without the expenditure of an equal amount of time and labor in the preparation of their successors. The retirement of these skilled clerks could not but be followed by disas. trous results to many of the commercial and social interests of the country, which depend in a great ineasure upon the prompt delivery of the mails.
In view of these facts, I cannot close this annual report without reminding you that, while in other and less important branches of the public service the tenure of office of employés is covered by the civilservice law, the Railway Mail Service remains outside of its protecting influence, and to earnesily recommend that some action be taken by the Department in the matter, to the end that Congress may be prevailed upon to extend the benefits of that law to this service, and thereby insure the retention in office of postal clerks so long as they continue to render meritorious service, comply strictly with all the instructions of the Department, abstain from undue interference in political matters, and conduct themselves in a gentlemanly manner.
With a view to bringing this important matter to the attention of Congress, I have the honor to submit the following draft of a bill which embodies iny ideas as to what is required in the premises, and with the hope that it may receive favorable action :
A BILL for the appointment of railway postal clerks, and for other purposes. Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That appointmerits of railway postal clerks shall be made for a probationary term of not less than three nor more than nine months, npon recommendations that are satisfactory to the Postmaster-General; and he shall, in each probationary appointment, designate the particular period for which the appointment is made: Provided, That the person applying shall make a written application (in his own band-writing) stating his age, physical condition, including eyesight, and his occupation for five years prior to the date of such application.
During the probationary period the clerk so appointed shall, from time to time, be examined upon the practical workings of his office; and if at the expiration of the probationary period named in his appointment he shall have made a satisfactory record he shall receive a permanent appointment, which he may hold uutil he severs his connection with the service voluntarily, or is removed for one or more of the causes hereinafter named; and the particular cause or causes shall be specified in writing, and a copy served upon such person, or left addressed to him at his usual place of residence: Provided, Tbat the Postmaster-General shall have anthority in all cases, when in bis judgment the public interest requires it, to summarily suspend the appointee in question pending the investigation; and if found guilty of the charge or charges he shall be removed from his ottice; otherwise he shall continue in the same.
The causes for which removals may be made are infidelity to the Government, intemperance, inattention to or neglect of duty, incapacity for the duties of the office, disobedience of official instructions, intentional disrespect to officers of the same or other Departments of the Government, intentional rudeness of language or behavior towards persons having official business with him, or toward his associates, or conduct unbecoming a gentlemen.
The charges upon which any railway postal clerk may be removed shall be made in writing and be signed by the person or persons presenting the same. These charges, together with full specifications, shall be referred, in all cases of complaint for removal, to the General Superintendent of Railway Mail Service, who shall inquire into the same, find the facts, and report in writing, with his conclusions thereon, to the Postmaster-General, who may thereupon order further investigation, or direct the suspension, removal, or reinstatement of said clerk, as the findings, in his opinion, may warrant.
In conclusion, I desire to express my thanks to all connected with this service for the efficient and able manner in which they have performed the duties allotted to them during the year that has passed. The service has never passed through a more trying period, nor has it ever been more manfully sustained. Perfect discipline has been maintained by the officers and prompt and willing obedience accorded by the clerks, for which both are entitled to unstinted praise and commendation.
General Superintendent. Hon. A. LEO KNOTT,
Second Assistant Postmaster-General.
Abbottsford, Wis., and Saint Paul,
125026 (part) 25061
Aberdeen and Lexington, Miss Addison, N.Y., and Pike Mills, Pa 3 Adrian, Mich., and Fayette, Ohio
Chippewa Falls, Wis., Saint Paul, Minn. (Minn., St. Croix
Grosvenor, Mich., Fayette, Ohio (L. S. and M. S.)..
6052 (part) 624036 (part)
York, N. Y.
Albany and New York, N. Y.....
Albany and Thomasville, Ga ...
2 145. 35 Albany, New York, N. Y. (N. Y. C. and H. R. R. R.).
Syracuse, Rochester, N. Y. (N. Y. C. and H. R. R. R., Aub.
Rincon, V. Mex., El Paso, Tex. (A. T. and S. F.)
15018 (part) 27001
38006 (part) 39004 39003
Albuquerque, N. Mex., and Nee.
Alexandria and Round Hill, Va
Alexandria, Round Hill, Va. (W. and W.)
Allentown and Pawling, Pa
2 43. 82 Allentown, Emaus Junction, Pa. (E. P. Branch P. and R.) 8073 Emaus Junction, Perkiomen Junction, Pa. (Perkiomen)
8056 Alton Bay and Dover, N. H.
1013 Annapolis Junction and Annapo. 3 21. 09' Annapolis, Annapolis Junction, Md. (A. and E. R.)
10007 lis, Md. Arcadia and Cherryvale, Kang .. 7 81. 69 Arcadia, Cherryvale, Kans. (K. C., Ft. S. and G.)
33024 Weir Junction (n. o.), Weir, Kans. (K. C., Ft. S. and G.) 2233043 Asheville and Charleston, N.C.. 3 71. 65 Asbeville, Asheville Junction (n. 0 ), N. C. (W.N.C.)..
(part) Asheville Junction (n. o.), Charleston, N.C. (W.N.C.).
13016 Ashland and Menasha, Wis..... 6 251. 55 Asblaud, Menasha, Wis. (Wis. Cen.)..
(part) Ashland and Richardson, Ky... 5 50. 33 Ashland, Richardson, Ky. (Chattaroi).
20027 * Balance of route, Chippewa Falls to Eau Claire (10.80 ! 9 142 miles covered by New York and Chicago R. P.O.
miles) covered by closed pouches. See Table Co. Double daily service, except Sundays, when half round This line was reported last year as the Abbottsford ! trip is performed. 1 chief clerk to superintendent's and Eau Claire, Wis. R. P. O. Increased distance run ottice; 1 clerk to superintendent's office; I clerk to this year 94.69 miles. 1 car in reserve.
dormitory New York P. O. ; 5 clerks to transfer duty, ? 1 reserve car.
Albany, N. Y. ; 6 clerks to transfer duty, New York, N. 3 Runs on route 6052, Adrian to Grosvenor, Mich. (7.60 Y. ; 2 clerks to transfer duty, Troy, N. Y.; 1 clerk to miles).
transfer duty, Castleton, N. Y. * Shown in report of New York and Chicago R. P. O. 10 117.50 miles covered by New York and Chicago R. P. O. See New York and Chicago R. P.O.
11 One reserve car. 2 helpers between Albany and Syra. • Balance of route (43.57 miles) covered by Trenton and cuse; 1 clerk detailed to superintendent's office; 2 Adrian R. P.O.
clerks detailed to transfer duty, Rochester, N. Y.; 2 ? 1 reserve car. I helper Albany to Maryland and return, cierks detailed to transfer doty, Syracuse, N. Y.; 1 70 miles.
clerk detailed Buffalo and Suspension bridge. Trains 8 Reserve cars.
21 and 2 become 3 and 30 at Syracuse.