|BC554B||Post & Go - Royal Mail Heritage - Mail by Rail, - Machine Stamps, unsigned||£25.00||Limited Availability|
|BC554||Post & Go - Royal Mail Heritage - Mail by Rail - Bureau Stamps, unsigned||£30.00||Limited Availability|
|BC554BS||Post & Go - Royal Mail Heritage - Mail by Rail, - Machine Stamps, signed by Peter Johnson||£30.00||Limited Availability|
|BC554S||Post & Go - Royal Mail Heritage - Mail by Rail - Bureau Stamps, signed by Peter Johnson||£30.00||Limited Availability|
|BC554A||Post & Go - Royal Mail Heritage - Mail by Rail - Bureau Stamps, unsigned with Stampex postmark||£18.50||Sold Out|
Issue Date: 15/02/2017
Issue Name: Post & Go - Royal Mail Heritage - Mail by Rail
Producer: Buckingham Covers
2017 heralds the new edition of Post & Go and February will see the celebration of mail travelling by rail with the stamps depicting the Travelling Post Office; Bag Exchange, loading, sorting and on the move. Also including the Night Mail and the Underground Mail Rail. This fantastic cover features an image of a rarely seen underground mail rail, and is postmarked with a London W2 postmark.
The Travelling Post Office
The first Travelling Post Office journey took place on 20 January 1838; a suggestion was made by a Post Office surveyor, George Karstadt, that there could be a special railway carriage for sorting mail as the train travelled to the next destination. In order to achieve this, a horsebox was converted into a mail railway carriage. As this proved effective, special trains were developed which would be needed to carry the mail, these trains became known as Travelling Post Offices or TPOs. This was a system which was used widely across the British Commonwealth, including the Army Post Office which had its own specialised TPOs.
The first special postal train was owned by the Great Western Railway, which made its inaugural run on 1 February 1855 from Paddington Station to Bristol. Apparatus was developed in 1866 for picking up and dropping mail bags at the stations without stopping. The Post Office also developed an underground railway which was first opened on 1 December 1927. The tunnel spanned east to west beneath London and carried parcels 6.5 miles below ground between the Eastern District Office and Paddington and reopens as part of the new Postal Museum in 2017. Post often travelled by rail overnight, inspiring the classic film ‘Night Mail’ in 1936, which documented the nightly run from London to Scotland. ‘Night Mail’, produced by John Grierson, featured the verse by W H Auden. During World War II, the post continued to be transported via the railway despite the Blitz and through the blackouts. Many postal workers put their lives in danger, travelling through the most dangerous bombed areas in the centre of London.
1963 saw the Travelling Post Office operating with 49 mail trains, it also became the subject on 8 August that same year of one of the most notorious robberies in history, The Great Train Robbery, in which over £2.6 million in used banknotes were stolen.
Royal Mail made an announcement of the closure in November 2002. The last Mail Rail journey took place on 30 May 2003.
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Peter Johnson is author of three books about the Travelling Post Office, including Mail by Rail.