Norvic Philatelics

Classic Locomotives of Northern Ireland: Miniature Sheet & retail booklet 18 June 2013

Following on from the Great British Railways, issued 19 August 2010, and the England and Scotland miniature sheets and stamp booklets, this is the third of a series of Miniature Sheets that illustrates steam locomotives in use in each of the home countries. as Royal Mail move across the Irish Sea for Classic Locomotives of Northern Ireland.  

Classic Locomotives of Northern Ireland Miniature sheet.
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Northern Ireland retail stamp booklet.
These are images of the actual miniature sheet and booklet.

The self-adhesive booklet contains 4 x 1st class red definitives coded M13L MCIL and 2 x 1st class Ulster Transport Authority W Class stamps.

UTA W No. 103 © Dr C Kenneth Benington;
UTA SG3 No. 35 © Colin Boocock;
Peckett No. 2 © Casserley;
CDRJC Class 5 No. 4 © Colour-Rail;

MS background image of UTA Class Z No. 27 Lough Erne crossing Larne Lough courtesy of and © Derek JA Young

The stamps in detail.

1st Class – Ulster Transport Authority (UTA) W Class No. 103: The W Class locomotive Thomas Somerset pulls an up-express through County Donegal in 1950*

78p – UTA SG3 Class No. 35:
The SG3 Class locomotive shunts wagons at Portadown in 1963.

88p – Peckett No. 2
reverses wagons into the British Aluminum Works at Larne in 1937.

£1.28 –
County Donegal Railways Joint Committee Class 5 No. 4: Meenglas shunts a carriage at Strabane in 1959.

The miniature sheet’s lower margin shows the UTA Class Z locomotive No. 27 Lough Erne crossing Larne Lough.

* The designs and captions were provided by Royal Mail and brought much critical discussion on our blog entry for this issue.   The general conclusion is that the train on the 1st class stamp "is not shown in County Donegal but  emerging from one of the tunnels between Downhill and Castlerock, County Londonderry. The land rising in the distance, across the sea, is part of Inishowen, County Donegal."   One writer suggested that "Royal Mail have made the classic geographical error and confused Northern Ireland (6 counties) with the Province of Ulster (9 counties - Donegal being one of the extra 3)."  In discussion about whether the line actually crossed the border, John points out "Perhaps we shouldn't say that the railway crossed the border but rather the border crossed the railway (it was there first).".

Further background: The locomotive stock of the Northern Counties Committee (NCC) of the London Midland & Scottish Railway was combined into the UTA in 1949, not being part of the 1948 nationalisation.  The locomotive Thomas Somerset was named after the Chairman of the NCC Board of Directors.

Postmark sponsors seem to have similar problems of identity.  The Strabane postmark (12876) shows the arms of the County Donegal Joint Railway Committee.  Strabane is a border town with Co Donegal being across the river Foyle.  The CDJRC (set up in 1906) did run lines into Strabane and did operate the line to Derry, although that was owned by the Midland Railway Northern Counties Committee. 

Technical details:
Working in collaboration with railway expert Professor Colin Divall of the National Railway Museum, and Northern Irish railway expert Norman Johnston, Brian Delaney of Delaney Design Consultants, trawled through thousands of photographs to find these period photos of steam locomotives in Northern Ireland.  The sheet is printed by Cartor Security Printing in lithography. Dimensions: 179mm x 74mm, with all over phosphor.  The 41 x 30mm stamps are perf 14.5 x 14.  The booklet is printed by Walsall Security Printers in gravure.

All stamp and postmark images are Royal Mail copyright 2013.

Products available - we are not stocking these except the booklet and single stamps from it
Miniature sheet   Retail booklet
First Day Cover
Set of 5 Stamp Cards 
Presentation Pack

To buy these visit the Royal Mail website.

Special Postmarks available on the day of this issue will be shown here. These images may not be to scale.

official first day postmark showing a railway lamp. Official Belfast postmark showing railway viaduct.viadcut. Non-pictorial Belfast first day of issue postmark. Postmark showing Arms Great Northern Railway (Ireland) . Postmark with text as below.
Ref FD1315TH - Official Bureau postmark Ref FD1315PL - Belfast Ref FD1315NP Belfast non-pictorial official Postmark Ref S12874 Classic Locomotives of Northern Ireland, Londonderry [Arms of the Great Northern Railway (Ireland) ] Ref S12875 Larne, Co Antrim
Postmark showing railway vidauct. Postmark showing railway signals. Postmark with logo of RPSI.
Postmark showing Arms of County Donegal Railways Joint Committee.
Postmark showing steam locomotive.
Ref S12873 Classic Locomotives of Northern Ireland Belfast
Ref S12877 Belfast, Classic Locomotives Ref S12878 Railway Preservation Society of Ireland, Whitehead, County Antrim.
Ref S12876
Classic Locomotives of Northern Ireland, Strabane [Arms of County Dongeal Joint Railway Committee.]
Ref L12349
Britain's Great Railways, London
Postmark showing steamm locomotive.

Postmark showing Peckett No 2 locomtive.
Postmark showing tanke engine.

Postmark showing UTA SG class locomotive.
Postmark showing Red Hand of Ulster.

Ref M12870
Railway Rd, Birmingham
Ref S12887
Larne, County Antrim
Ref M12871
Engine Street, Smethwick
Ref S12888
Portadown, County Armagh
Ref S12882 York Road, Belfast

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This page updated 21 June 2013

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