Norvic Philatelics - GB New Stamps and Special Postmarks

Great British Railways I - 19 August 2010

On the 50th Anniversary of the building of British Rail’s last steam locomotive Evening Star Royal Mail take a look back at the glory days of steam power.  

The stamps illustrate locomotives from the five companies that were collected together into British Rail in 1948, the Great Western Railway, London Midland and Scottish Railway, London North Eastern Railway, Southern Railway and the Northern counties Committee of Northern Ireland together with the British Rail Class 9F locomotive Evening Star.

This is the first in a series of stamp issues to celebrate British locomotive heritage. From 2011 a series of miniature sheets will commemorate classic locomotives of the UK.

Three of 6 new british stamps showing vintage steam locomotives.
Three of 6 new british stamps showing vintage steam locomotives.
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Set of 6 stamps:

1st Class – LMS Coronation Class Coronation at Euston Station, 1937

1st Class – BR Class 9F – Evening Star at Midsomer Norton, 1962

67p – GWR King Class – King William IV photographed near Teignmouth, 1935

67p – LNER Class A1 – Royal Lancer (location unknown), 1929

97p – SR King Arthur Class – Sir Mador de la Porte at Bournemouth Central, c.1935–39

97p – LMS NCC Class WT – Engine No 2at Larne Harbour, c.1947

This year marks the 50th Anniversary of the building of British Rail’s last steam locomotive,the 9F Class Evening Star, and a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the locomotives of the ‘Big Four’ railway companies.

The steam locomotive has long been more than a piece of machinery; symbolising an age of unprecedented mobility and British industrial prowess, when the locomotive rapidly became a powerful marketing tool.The engine that first secured the future of steam locomotion was of course Stephenson’s Rocket, at the 1829 Rainhill Trials in Merseyside, which won the crowd’s imagination as much with its bright yellow paintwork as the stunning top speed of 29mph.

By the end of the 19th century, numerous private railway companies competed fiercely across the British Isles. Their best passenger trains were by world standards fast, comfortable – and needed to be filled if money was to be made. In 1923 with profits diminishing due to the increasing competition from cars, buses and lorries, over 120 private railway companies were merged into the Big Four: the London, Midland & Scottish (including the Northern Counties Committee (NCC) in Northern Ireland), the London & North Eastern, the Great Western and the Southern Railways.

After the Second World War the Big Four became British Railways (BR) in 1948, with the Ulster Transport Authority (UTA) taking responsibility for most routes in Northern Ireland. In March 1960, Evening Star brought to an end over 130 years of steam-locomotive building for Britain’s mainline railways, leaving Swindon Works in a blaze of publicity in 1960, destined for a working life of only five years. This year also marks the 175th Anniversary of the GWR.

Brief descriptions - stamp by stamp

1st Class – LMS Coronation Class
The streamlined Coronation Class locomotive Coronation of the London Midland and Scottish Railway at the platform in London’s Euston Station in 1938.  Introduced at the height of the 1930s streamlining craze and named in honour of the accession of King George VI, a Coronation was displayed at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. The streamlining was removed in the 1940s to save on maintenance.

1st Class – BR Class 9F
Evening Star, the last of the British Rail Class 9F locomotive is shown here at Midsomer Norton in 1962.  The 9F was designed to pull heavy freight trains. But a few, like Evening Star, were used on passenger services, particularly on the steeply graded Somerset and Dorset line.

67p – GWR King Class
The photograph shows the Great Western Railway’s King Class locomotive – King William IV near Teignmouth in 1935.  The Kings were the GWR’s star locomotives, equally at home on heavy holiday trains and crack business expresses. Publicised as the UK’s most powerful express steam engine, the sleek lines of King George V wowed crowds when touring the USA in 1927.

67p – LNER Class A1
The stamp shows the London North East Region Class A1 locomotive, Royal Lancer photographed in 1929. The LNER’s first standard design for long-distance expresses, the A1s included the Flying Scotsman, the first UK steam engine officially to reach 100mph. Modernised from the 1930s the class was still hauling important passenger trains in the early 1960s.

97p – SR King Arthur Class
Named after a character from the legends of King Arthur the Southern Region King Arthur Class locomotive, Sir Mador de la Porte, was photographed at Bournemouth Central Station between 1935 – 1939.  The King Arthurs proved to be fine locomotives capable of handling the Southern’s heaviest express trains. Displaced by more modern engines from the 1940s, they hauled secondary services into the 1960s.

97p – LMS NCC Class WT
A London Midland and Scottish Northern Counties Committee Class WT – Engine No 2 shown here at Larne Harbour, circa 1947.  Based on a standard LMS design but built for the wider Irish track, the WTs were the last new steam locomotives delivered to the NCC. Widely known as ‘Jeeps’, they were a highly successful engine used on both passenger and goods trains.

Technical details:

Designed by Delaney Design Consultants the six 41mm x 30mm stamps are printed in gravure by De La Rue Security Print Ltd.  Perforations are 14 x 14½ in sheets of 25/50 and phosphor is 'all-over'.
Photographic credits:  LMS Coronation Class – Coronation at Euston Station, 1937 © Milepost 921/2–; BR Class 9F – Evening Star at Midsomer Norton, 1962 – photograph by Ivo Peters, copyright Julian Peters;
GWR King Class – King William IV photographed near Teignmouth, 1935© STEAM – Museum of the Great Western Railway, Swindon; LNER Class A1 – Royal Lancer (location unknown), 1929 © Getty Images; LMS NCC Class WT – Engine No 2at Larne Harbour, c.1947 © Milepost 921/2–railphotolibrarycom; SR King Arthur Class – Sir Mador de la Porte at Bournemouth Central, c.1935–39 ©
All images are by kind permission of Royal Mail, Copyright 2010. This webpage is copyright Norvic Philatelics 2010.

Products issued

Mint set
Royal Mail FDC
Presentation Pack
Set of 6 Stamp Cards

Special Postmarks
Postmarks available for the day of issue will be shown here These may not be to scale. These postmarks cannot be obtained after the date of issue.

Official Bureau first day of issue postmark for Great British Railway stamps. Official Swindon first day of issue postmark for great british locomotives stamps. Official Swindon first day of issue non-pictorial postmark for great railway locomotives stamp issue. Swindon postmark showing British Railways logo - lion with wheel on crown. Crewe postmark showing heritage centre nameplate.
Ref FD1033
Philatelic Bureau Official Postmark
Ref FD1034
Swindon Official Postmark
Ref FD1034NP
Swindon Official non-pictorial Postmark
Ref L11829
Great British Railways Swindon
Ref N11833
Great British Railways, The Crewe Heritage Centre
postmark showing arms of London Midland Scottish railways. postmark showing the Arms of the Great Western Railway. postmark coat of arms of Southern Railway.
postmark showing arms of the LNER.
Postmark showing railway locomotive.
Ref L11823
Euston, NW1 showing badge of London Midland Scottish Railway
Ref L11824
Paddington, W2 showing badge of Great Western Railway
Ref L11822
Waterloo SE1, showing badge of Southern Railways
Ref L11821
Kings Cross, N1, showing simplified badge of the London and North Eastern Railway
Ref L11827
King Arthur Close, London SE15
Postmark showing railway locomotive.
Postmark showing railway locomotive.
Postmark with text as below.
Postmark illustrated with Phil Stamp hiding behind loco wheel.
Postmark showing railway viaduct.
Ref N11834
BR Class 9F Locomotive, York
Ref L11826
King Class Locomotive, Swindon, Wiltshire
Ref N11832
Home of the Steam Engine, Vulcan Foundry, Newton-le-Willows
Ref N11831  York  Ref L11825
Balcombe West Sussex
Postmark showing steam locomotive. <<<<
Ref M11839
Railway Road, Birmingham
Postmark showing A4 class steam locomotive. <<<<<
Ref M11839a
Evesham (Shows A4 class locomotive.)

This page updated 9 August 2010

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2010 stamp issues
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7 Classic Album Covers
7 Olympic Games retail book 1
26 Business & Customised Smilers MS
2 Girl Guide Centenary
25 350th ann of the Royal Society
25 Olympic Games retail book 2
1 Castles of Wales
11 Battersea Dogs & Cats Home
23 House of Stewart
30 Machin & Country Definitives
30 Festival of Stamps retail advertising book
13 Endangered Mammals
6 Accession of George V*
8 The King's Stamps* &
London 2010 Souvenirs *
Britain Alone (1940)*
* London 2010 Festival of Stamps issues
18 Halley's Comet Commemorative Sheet
15 House of Stuart
15 Endangered Mammals Retail Booklet
8 British Grand Prix Commemorative Sheet
Olympics & Paralympics II
& Olympic Games retail book 3

10 London Eye Commemorative Sheet
19 Great British Railways I
19 Retail booklets: 12x2nd, 6x1st
15 Battle of Britain - Spitfire Generic Sheet & Retail booklet
16 Medical Breakthroughs
17 Faststamps: Bird pictorials
12 Children's Books
12 Olympic Games retail book 4
26 Special Delivery Machins
28 Remembrance: the National Arboretum
2 Christmas - Wallace & Gromit


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