Rare Truck! 1941 Studebaker Railroad Express

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Once upon a time in America, Railroad Express was the primary shipper of small packages in the United States. This company was originally founded by the United States government in 1917 to insure timely delivery of goods, using the railroad infrastructure, and trucks for local delivery. During World War I the US Railroad Agency (USRA) took over the nation’s railroads. Under the USRA, almost all the existing delivery companies in the US were merged together to form American Railway Express, Inc.

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In March of 1929, American Railway Express Inc. became the Railway Express Agency (REA), which was owned by all 86 railroad companies in America in equal proportion to the express traffic each line carried, so that no one railroad or even a group of railroads could control operations of the agency.

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REA was able to remain profitable even after long haul trucking took away most of its parcel business by moving into refrigerated train transportation, but by 1969, the company was pretty much at the end of its run, and finally disappeared into bankruptcy in 1975.

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Railway Express utilized many different brands of trucks over its long history. Not many of them were Studebakers, however, and the truck for sale here on craigslist in central New Jersey is definitely rare and should be rescued and restored as an example of American transportation history. The seller of the REA truck here does not have much to say about it, other than it is restorable, and that it does have a motor and transmission. The truck is not running and has bad left rear wheel (not sure what that means exactly), but it still rolls, so bring your trailer and get ready for a big restoration project. Maybe some of our readers can identify this Studebaker more fully. Regardless of the details, it is just an absolutely cool truck, and I would love to see what it looks like when it has been redone.

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Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Although a little before my time ( all I remember is brown delivering packages) REA was huge. It was the UPS or FedEx of the day. They must have had a “bid” deal for trucks, as mentioned, they used all brands. I read, the interstate highway put an end to REA, making UPS more cost efficient. This is probably a M-15 3/4 ton ( M-15A had dual wheels and 1 to 1.5 ton) These used the flathead 169ci. 6, and 4 speed crash box ( no synchro’s) transmission across the board. Not sure what one would do with it. I’d probably use the back as storage and make a pickup out of it. I suppose you could restore it as a REA truck, but then what? One of my favorite style Studebaker trucks, just not sure I’d enjoy driving a box on wheels around. Cool find.

  2. leiniedude leiniedude Member

    She would make a cool roach coach.

  3. geomechs geomechs Member

    I’ve always liked this style of Studebaker. Like Howard says, it’s a question of what you would do with it. Storage? It would make a cool truck to carry your parts to various swap-meets, but it wouldn’t do you much good if it was a long haul; 45 translates to a lot of time on the road. One thing it would do is attract attention.

  4. Scotty G Staff

    Talk about a great, fun project! Nice find.

  5. Rick

    Ratrod mini-camper with a modern drivetrain…

  6. Rick in Denver

    Hello,

    You say this is for sale on Craigslist in NJ? It is also for sale on Craigslist in Denver. I smell a scam.

  7. guggie

    I really must be old ,I can remember these trucks as a young boy !! I thought it was ugly then and really haven’t changed my mind on that too much . It is a cool truck !

  8. Peter Hollinshead

    The company was properly known as Railway Express Agency, and its dark green trucks with the red diamond logos could be seen at every railroad station in the United States, moving packages from passenger trains to consumers and businesses. The major city rail stations and terminals had large adjoining REA buildings. It truly was a forerunner of FedEx.

  9. Shannon Tucker

    Also one here in Houston for sale showing the exact same pics as above… wondering about a scam too Rick in Denver.

  10. Steve

    That truck was originally posted down in Austin… I talked with the owner several times and the price got down to 1,500.. I do have a NOS engine for this truck if someone is interested. By the way… Railway Express had gobs of Studebakers in service, as well as the more prevalent Fords and Chevrolets. Dodge, Reo and Internationals were also popular. It seemed an express agent in a particular community could order whatever make he wanted. More or less depending what service facilities were nearby. Check our Railway Express Agency page on Facebook.

    • Tim Andrews

      Anyone know it this one is still available?

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