So many of the South Kensington envelopes were produced that stocks bought in anticipation of prices rising soon were sold off and they began to be used for 'ordinary' correspondence. As late as 2015 complete packets of 50, with wrapper band, were still available and being 'broken up' for individual sale. These envelopes sold for 1/- at the Museum and unused examples are generally selling today from £5 to £12. The value of One Shilling from 1890 is about £5.80 today.
Such a cover was sent to the rural town of Vernon, B,C., Canada in 1915. Apparently the contents were of some importance as the sender applied a wax seal and three 1d stamps [SG 358] to pay for the 2d added Registration Fee.
Of interest to the Postal Historian is that this cover was not cancelled along its journey, except by the RPO handler and the Vernon receiving mark. No entry into Canada or cross transit markings are seen. At the time of the mailing, CPR's trancontinental sevice left Toronto as Train 95 with through cars then being coupled onto Train 1, The Imperial Limited, at Winnipeg and continuing out to the Pacific Coast.
Christopher Anstead of the BNAPS RPO Study Group sent me this information about the RPO portion of the cover's travels.
The transcontinental stops at Sicamous near Vernon. Westbound CPR Train 1 arrives at Sicamous at 17:59. Mail bound for Vernon would have been sorted, bagged and unloaded at Sicamous. CPR train 806 leaves Sicamous the next day at 10:15 calling at Vernon at 12:30 on its way to Penticton arriving at 18:30.
As the Canadian Pacific mainline was still building out to Vancouver, a 46-mile shortline was chartered to run out from Sicamous. It would run south to Okanagan Landing. Then with various stops along the way, sternwheelers continued south from Okanagan Landing onto Kelowna and Penticton. Just 5 miles northeast of the Okanagan Landing and on the Railway was the town of Vernon, the destination for this cover.
The name given to the shortline was The Shuswap and Okanagan Railway.
Surveying and clearing began at Sicamous in April 1890 with Enderby being headquarters for construction. On April 14, 1890 laying of rails began at Sicamous and grading was completed to what would become Armstrong on May, 12, 1890. June 1891 brought right of way clearing just outside of city Vernon. Although construction was still underway on the south end of the line trains began operating over north end of S&O in July 1891. Rails reached Enderby on July 2. On July 10, 1891 the S&O entered an agreement where after completion the railway would be leased to the CPR for 25 years. CPR had to operate and supply rolling stock for the S&O during this period. CPR would pay 40% of gross earnings to S&O shareholders. Excitement in Vernon grew when in August 1891 rails reached Armstrong, 15 miles of Vernon. Finally on September 12, 1891 at 4pm the rails of the S&O reached Vernon. The S&O was inspected for use on October 1, 1891. In 1892 CPR built a shipyard at Okanagan landing.
Eventually the CNR [Canadian National Railway] built down from Kamloops into the Okanagan region through Lumby Junction and south to Kelowna. This was accomplished by agreements for CNR usage of portions of the leased CPR tracks of the S&O Railway. Car floats were used for both railways to transfer further south to Penticton.
At Penticton both lines had 'connections' with The Kettle Valley Railway ... otherwise known as "McCulloch's Wonder"