Trolleys to the Casino: Mail and Express
The RPO service was discontinued after the last trips on Monday, January 31, 1910 and thereafter the EH&A carried the mail in closed pouches on its passenger cars between Exeter and Smithtown the year round and between Hampton Village and Hampton Beach from June 1 to September 15 annually. The railway was penalized for missed mail trips and old correspondence discloses that at times when the tracks were blocked by snow and ice and the trolleys could not run, a horse and sleigh were pressed into service to carry the postal matter. Passengers might not have transportation - but the mail had to get through.
After the discontinuance of the RPO service, the former mail car was used to carry freight shipments between Exeter and Hampton Beach, making two round trips daily except Sunday during the summer months. The business appears to have been conducted in a rather haphazard way, the rates assessed being left more or less to the judgment of the man in charge of the car. He recorded amounts received in a memorandum book and on small slips of paper, which accompanied payments when they were turned in to the cashier.
Attempts to introduce more efficient and businesslike methods in conducting the freight business were made during 1912 by the railway's auditor, Herbert A. Gidney, who urged the issuance of a formal tariff of commodity rates and the use of printed forms, but his recommendations were not adopted. The freight business was neither extensive nor particularly profitable and it possibly was felt by the railway management that the costs of preparing the tariff and forms would be just another expense and would not lead to increased revenue.
By 1914, the EH&A had adopted the policy of leasing the mail car during the summer months to one of the railway employes, A. M. Bryant, who paid the company five cents (later six cents) per mile for its use and carried the railway's freight and that of the Exeter & Hampton Electric Company between Exeter and the Hampton car barn free of charge. There is no record of the frequency of service offered but it is known that during the summers of 1915 and 1916, one trip to Hampton Beach continued on to Portsmouth junction and Little Boar's Head to connect with a daily freight trip operated between Portsmouth and North Hampton by the Portsmouth Electric Railway.
After the summer of 1917, the lease arrangement was terminated and all regular operation of the freight car was discontinued. The railway continued to handle such items as bundles of newspapers on its regular passenger cars for several years thereafter but the revenue was inconsequential.
Some revenue was derived during the summers of 1917 and 1918 from the sale of gravel to the state, which was making improvements to the Lafayette Road between Smithtown and Hampton Village. The gravel was taken from a railway-leased pit off Winnacunnet Road and hauled to the construction site by the EH&A. Later, in 1919, another pit was opened on Exeter Road, Hampton, and a spur track, built with second-hand materials, was extended into this new gravel source. The principal customer again was the state, which was improving the road between Exeter and Hampton Village. In effect, the railway, by hauling the gravel, was contributing to its own downfall but the EH&A management took the logical stand that the highway projects were going to be conducted anyway and if the company could earn a little cash money by helping out, it was going to do so.