R.E.A. Delivery Truck

Railway Express Agency

Delivery Truck

Built by:

International Harvester – 1945

Model:

K5-21

Capacity:

1-1/2 Tons

Donated by:

Chuck & Carol Conrad – 2007

The Railway Express Agency was America’s premier  door-to-door package delivery service for much of the 20th Century – much like U.P.S. or FedEx today.  R.E.A. delivery trucks, like the one here at Travel Town, could be seen on city streets and rural roads throughout the country.  The Railway Express Agency would ship almost anything; from live chickens to military weapons!  Virtually all of America’s railroads took part in the shipping process, with packages moving aboard regularly-scheduled passenger trains to and from cities and towns along the way.  The REA company was formed by the U.S. Government during World War 1 to consolidate wartime shipping operations.   After the War, the company was owned jointly by 86 railroads in proportion to the express traffic handled on their lines.  Here in Los Angeles, Union Station served as a busy transfer hub for the REA operations, with thousands of packages being exchanged daily between long-distance trains, local Pacific Electric interurban cars, and highway delivery trucks.

L.A. Union Station was a-buzz with Railway Express Agency business in May 1951, as seen in this photo by Travel Town volunteer, Alan Weeks.

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More Interesting Information:

BEFORE: 1945 R.E.A. Truck at the time of its donation to the Foundation in 2007.

Our Railway Express Agency truck was donated to the Foundation by a family in Glendale, who had purchased it in the 1960s for use in moving their home furnishings from Oregon to Glendale.  The previous owner had used it as a camper for he and his three sons.   After sitting motionless on a residential driveway for over 40 years, the vehicle was completely restored by Foundation volunteers and is now operational and used for an occasional parade, demonstration or other educational outreach exhibition.  It has a 6-cylinder flathead engine and rides on vintage-style tires, generously provided by the Coker Tire Company.

AFTER: On the "Red Carpet" on Hollywood Boulevard.
The R.E.A. Truck alongside Santa Fe 3751 at the 75th Anniversary of L.A. Union Station in 2014.
1920s REA ad poster by artist Robert E. Lee. Library of Congress image LC-USZC4-6605