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Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Drop your letter in boxes on trains and it could reach the next morning

Enthused by the positive response to ‘letter boxes’ introduced on three Railway Mail Service (RMS) coaches, the Karnataka Circle of India Post is planning to introduce them in other trains in the State.

Letters and postcards posted in these boxes can be delivered the next morning at specified locations, which otherwise takes at least two days.

The letter boxes are being reintroduced after a gap of over three decades, when it was discontinued in 1984.

At present, the boxes have been put on Rani Chennamma (Bengaluru-Kolhapur), Chennai Mail (Bengaluru-Chennai), Hubballi-Vijayawada, and Netravathi (Thiruvananthapuram-Mumbai LTT) trains. It would be extended to at least four more trains, including the Udyan Express.

Chief Postmaster General (Karnataka Circle) Charles Lobo re-introduced letter boxes on Rani Chennamma on February 13, a day before Valentine’s Day.

Mr. Lobo said the step was taken to encourage the waning letter-writing habit and to ensure speedy delivery of articles such as invitation and greeting cards.

Mr. Lobo told The Hindu that the postboxes were part and parcel of mail trains since 1854 where RMS staff working on board the trains used to sort the letters and arrange delivery. After the practice was discontinued in1984, dedicated RMS coaches were withdrawn and in their places India Post got either half a coach or a quarter of the coach. Since the speed of trains too increased, it was difficult to sort letters on board.

Mr. Lobo said letters would be delivered at limited destinations where RMS facility is working in railway stations, including Bengaluru, Hubballi-Dharwad and Belagavi for Rani Chennamma; Bengaluru and Chennai for Chennai Mail; Mangaluru and Goa for Netravathi Express; Hubballi-Dharwad and Bagalkot for Vijayawada passenger train, among others.

The consigner has to visit the station to post the articles in the letter boxes on the specified trains and the system helps in cases of urgent deliveries, he said.

Extension of the facility to trains with non-RMS coaches would depend upon the response from the Railways.