Beginning on February 3, 1998, the USPS launched a series of souvenir stamps entitled "Celebrate the Century" stamps mark the start of the twenty-first century. Part of the promotion for this endeavor was the creation of the Celebrate the Century (CTC) Express, a traveling railway museum tour with a specially outfitted four-car Amtrack train, and related educational programs. The CTC Express toured for eighteen months from March 11, 1999 to November 10, 2000, visiting 100 cities in 42 states. Part of the CTC Express included this restored Rail Post Office (RPO) car.
This RPO car (Southern Railway car #36) was loaned to the Postal Service for the "Celebrate the Century" project by James Bistline, a noted rail historian. The car was fully operation and in service until the 1970s. For the Celebrate the Century tour the car was restored to historically accurate condition by Northern Rail Car at Mr. Bistline's expense, and donated to the National Postal Museum after the end of the train's nationwide tour. For more than a century the Railway Mail Service was the core of America's postal network. From the mid-ninteenth to mid-twentieth century trains carried the majority of packages and letters, providing mail delivery and pick-up to rural towns where passenger trains did not stop.
This car was built in 1926 by the Pullman Company and used until the RPO service ended in 1971.