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.
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.
1st Class – LMS
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
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.
97p – SR King
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
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.
Royal Mail FDC
Set of 6 Stamp Cards
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.
| 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
| 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
| Ref N11834
BR Class 9F Locomotive, York
King Class Locomotive, Swindon, Wiltshire
Home of the Steam Engine, Vulcan Foundry, Newton-le-Willows
|Ref N11831 York
Balcombe West Sussex
Railway Road, Birmingham
Evesham (Shows A4 class locomotive.)
This page updated 9 August 2010
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