The men and women that worked on T.P.O,s were mostly PHG,s (postman higher grade) and are drawn from the large sorting offices of London and the Provinces. That meant there was no direct recruitment and all staff had to serve a period of time in a sorting office before they were able to apply for T.P.O duties. The duties on the T.P.O could be quite strenuous on both mind and body and was not suited to all people. The irregular hours, continual night work and days away from home and family could soon wear down the strongest of people. If a PHG felt that he or she could put up with the above working environment they were well on the way but they would still have to cope with the sometimes constant working and tight deadlines with no breaks on route.
The average T.P.O sorter could sort up to 2000 letters per hour at 99% accuracy when working against the clock. This compared to a much lower figure of a static well-lit sorting office.
T.P.O workers put the increased work rate down to pride and team spirit, if the mail failed into a particular station there is a feeling of failure and defeat.
Unfortunatley 85% of the staff that worked on TPO,s left the bussiness on January 10th 2004.
With this Royay Mail said goodbye to hundreds of years of experience and also goodbye to the only unit they had that actually worked as a team at very high performance.
Above is a cat that I rescued and adopted from Carlisle. It travelled all night sitting in this sorting plan, quite happily watching all around it.