Buckingham Covers - First Day Covers

125th Anniversary of the Brighton Pullman

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125th Anniversary of the Brighton Pullman £35.00 Limited Availability

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  • 125th Anniversary of the Brighton Pullman
  • Image by rail artist, John Wigston
  • With a Brighton postmark (5th December, 2006)

Issue Date: 05/12/2006

Issue Name: 125th Anniversary of the Brighton Pullman

Producer: Buckingham Covers


We commissioned leading rail artist, John Wigston, to paint the illustration for our Brighton Pullman cover. Probably the most famous electric train of all, the all-Pullman Brighton Belle had its origins in the steam-hauled services of the LB&SCR which first introduced Pullman cars into its trains in 1875. In 1881 the railway put into service the first British all-Pullman train, the "Brighton Pullman Limited" which consisted of four first class Pullman Drawing Room cars connected by open end balconies and with a buffet (though they soon added ordinary coaches to the train as well).


  • 125th Anniversary of the Brighton Pullman
  • Image by rail artist, John Wigston
  • With a Brighton postmark (5th December, 2006)


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The Brighton Pullman
It was Winston Churchill who paved the way for the Brighton Belle. As Chancellor of the Exchequer, he announced in 1929 that the railway passenger duty on first and second class fares would be abolished - provided these sums were used by the railway companies to fund improvement and development schemes, a strategy which would reduce Britain's growing levels of unemployment.
In 1930, the Southern Railway Board decided to spend an estimated £2 million to electrify the lines to Brighton and Worthing from the existing limit of suburban operation at Coulsdon in Surrey. Work began in 1931.  In the interest of flexibility of train operation, it was decided to continue to use the existing 660 volt third rail DC system already in use on some 1,285 km (800 miles) of track. Colour light signalling would be introduced, enabling twenty two manual signal boxes to be closed. Power was taken from the national grid at three locations at 33,000 volts AC and distributed to eighteen sub-stations. Each sub-station contained a rectifier to convert the AC current to 660 volts DC.
It was all completed by October 1932 and the first public train ran on the 1st January 1933. This was a new type of electric railway offering fast non-stop express trains as well as intermediate stopping trains. While new but traditionally designed stock would be employed for stopping trains, it was decided that a higher specification for express trains would be needed. The power cars would be of all steel construction, equipped with four English Electric 225 h.p. motors. These express units - assembled in sets of six cars - were the model for the Brighton Belle. The Southern Belle had been steam hauled; when the decision to electrify the line was taken, it was clear that its continued existence would depend upon the construction of an electric Pullman train.
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