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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 13, Issue 5 (August 1, 1938)

Picturesque Railway Stamps — Some Interesting Issues

page 43

Picturesque Railway Stamps
Some Interesting Issues

Railway stamps issued in Germany (two shown on left) and in Honduras (right).

Railway stamps issued in Germany (two shown on left) and in Honduras (right).

It has been said that over one hundred and thirty different types of locomotives have been illustrated on the postage stamps of the world. Whether these issues were made as Railway commemoratives, for publicity purposes, or to mark International Railway Congresses, the collecting and ultimate annotation of them gives infinite joy to the ardent philatelist. That such a collection appeals not only to collectors is evidenced by the fact that the writer of this article knows of two Australian engine-drivers who express delight in collecting “Railway” stamps.

Ancient and modern locomotives; new railway lines opened; scenes of construction, tunnels, viaducts, bridges, etc.; railway electrification and introduction of diesel engines; railway penetration underground; aerial railways, etc., these are some of the events which are faithfully recorded in the stamp album.

The South African Railways are noted for their excellent service. Travelling amenities are of a particularly high standard. In 1936 South-West Africa saw fit to illustrate one of her typical railway trains. The design also included vignettes of other transport facilities, such as an aeroplane and steamer.

Southern Rhodesia's 1937 “Coronation” stamps—a pretty issue—reproduced a familiar view of the Victoria Falls, with a railway bridge. This design showed portraits of the King and Queen as well.

India's 1937 “Mail Transport” issue has a fine representation of a typical Dominion mail train—in reality an express train. Vastly different is this type of mail transport as compared with the ancient Dak runner, as pictured on another design.

Newfoundland has first-class railway services, and many lines are served with speeding expresses. On the five cents, 1928 “Publicity” issue was depicted an express on its “Across Newfoundland” dash.

A Canadian Pacific Railway train passing through the rich wheat lands of the West can be glimpsed on Canada's 20 cents, 1928 issue.

Although stamps for the province of New Brunswick have ceased to be issued, the 1851 one cent stamp admirably featured (for that period) a typical (now “old-time”) “puffer.”

An equally inartistic effort from U.S.A. in 1869 depicted an “Iron Horse” “smoking” its weary way across the prairie; while a 1898 stamp showed troops guarding an emigrant train bound for the “Wild West.”

The International Railway Congress, held in Egypt in 1933, resulted in the issue of four stamps. Locomotives of different eras were represented, one being the antiquated 1852 model; another of an engine of the 1859 period; another of the 1862, while finally came a powerful 1933 locomotive.

Spain, also, has produced “railway” stamps. The 1930 issues, marking the 11th International Railway Congress at Madrid, showed different views of locomotives. A beautifully artistic effect was created with the 1 cent value, which pictured a train about to enter a tunnel, the photo for the stamp being taken from the inside of the tunnel itself. The 20 cents denomination depicted an electric-train car.

In 1937 two interesting stamps were issued in France in honour of the 13th
Austrian issues of Railway Stamps.

Austrian issues of Railway Stamps.

International Railway Congress. Finely-engraved, these reproduced an electric locomotive, and the latest French type of streamlined engine.

Eritrea, the Italian Colony, managed, in 1930, to indulge in a “railway” issue in her pictorial stamp, this stamp depicting a train, complete with “observation” coach, crossing a railway bridge.

The picturesquely-located and artistically-designed Railway Terminus at Oran, was also featured on a 1930 Algerian stamp.

The Mindouli Viaduct, a fine architectural feature, was the subject of the 1 franc, 1933 Middle Congo stamp, showing a train crossing the viaduct.

Belgium's “Parcel Post” stamps of 1916, showed a railway wheel, with wings attached, enclosed within a laurel wreath. Another design pictured an express, while the same designs with a little variation were employed in the 1920 issue. The “Goliath,” modern engine, with square funnel, and equipped with boiler “guards” graced the 1934 issue. Two stamps representative of the Belgian Railway Centenary made their appearance in 1935. One design picturesquely illustrated the ancient, but effective, “Le Belge,” an engine of humorous appearance, with its tall chimney, and cattle-like carriages. The other stamp advantageously illustrated a speedy streamlined 20th Century diesel locomotive.

Three delightful photogravure studies comprised the Austrian Railway Centenary page 44 page 45 stamps, issued late in 1937. “Austria,” the first Austrian train, was shown on the 12 gr. value. This train made its initial journey on 13th November, 1837, being built by Stephenson, of “Rocket” fame. It was driven by an Englishman until 1849, and was able to pull eight carriages. One of the powerful steam expresses, the representation being model 214, was the subject of the 25 gr. stamp. This express, hauled by one of the largest locomotives in Europe, plies between Vienna and Salzburg, and often attains a speed of 100 miles per hour. The third design illustrated an electric locomotive on the Brebber-Kufstein run, a section which was electrified in 1935. This train was shown emerging from a tunnel, one of thirteen which pierce the Eastern Alps.

Four stamps, in 1935, commemorated the development of a hundred years on the German Railways. The “Eagle,” built by R. Stephenson, in 1835, and which ran between Nuremberg and Furth, in Bavaria, was seen on the 6 pf. value. This tiny engine is now housed in the German Museum. The appearance of speed is positive with the subject of the 12 pf. value. Here was reproduced a train, equipped with smoke deflector, a German invention now used universally; this train was the “Rhinegold Express,” of handsome appearance—with its violet and cream coloration, and black engine with scarlet wheels. The “Flying Hamburger,” famous streamliner, which runs to the fastest schedule in the world, travelling at a speed exceeding 100 miles per hour, between Berlin and Hamburg, was seen on the 25 pf. denomination. The engine is propelled with the aid of four generators driven by two diesel oil-engines. The streamlined train encased in metal from roof to rails, which was pictured on the 40 pf. stamp, has reached a speed of 119 m.p.h.! On the 1937 German Winter Charity stamp, 15 pf. value, may be seen a train ferry, a speedy and convenient form of rail communication between places separated by spaces of water. This representation was of the s.s. Schwerin, an up-to-date vessel, which plies between Warmunde and Gjedser (Danzig), and which has accommodation for a seven coach passenger train.

The Zugspitze Aerial Railway appeared on Austria's 1935 “Air Mail” stamp. This unique railway is worked by cables and used extensively to carry goods to heights inaccessible by ordinary transport.

In 1872, construction upon a tunnel which would eventually pierce Mount St. Gotthard, Switzerland, was begun. Ten years later this mammoth railway undertaking was completed—9 1/4 miles long; it has been cut through eight miles of solid rock. A Swiss issue, of 1932, commemorated the 50th anniversary of this famous tunnel. Louis Favre, directing engineer, J. H. Esche, statesman, who advocated the tunnel, and E. Wetli, chief of the Railway Department, being honoured philatelically.

The tercentenary of the Swedish Post, in 1936, brought forth a fine railway stamp. A trim stream-lined steam locomotive, similar in type to the English “Royal Scot,” was represented “full out,” and stood representative of this branch of Swedish mail transport.

San Marino, Independent Republic, in commemoration of the opening of the new electric railway between San
Railway stamps issued in Southern Rhodesia, Egypt and France.

Railway stamps issued in Southern Rhodesia, Egypt and France.

Marino City and Ramini, issued a stamp, in 1932, showing an electric train at the San Marino Railway Station.

A 1929 Turkish stamp illustrated a railway girder bridge, which spans the Lizil-Irmak, in Asia Minor, while a squat-looking train can be seen just leaving the structure. Another later issue showed the line passing through the Gorge of Sakaria.

Portrayed on Guatemala's 1922 stamp was a train passing over a viaduct, while the 1930 stamps, marking the inauguration of the electric railway between Guatemala City and Quezaltenayo, showed various scenes along the line, a viaduct, tunnel and station being represented.

The 10 cents, 1898 Honduras stamp has shown a representation of a stamp has shown a representation of a steam engine equipped with effective cow catcher and extra-high funnel, amidst typical mountain setting.

The 1926 stamps from Ecuador, marking the opening of the new railway between Quiot and Esmeraldas, were ordinary stamps, bearing the overprint, and picture of a railway train. A 1928 issue—in fact two—displayed this same device, and were issued to mark the opening of Quito-Cayambe, and the railway opening at Otavalo, respectively.

Brazil could only offer an inartistic illustration of an old “timer,” cow catcher “an'all,” on her 10 r., 1920 stamp, stamp.

“La Callao,” the first railway locomotive to be used in South America, in 1851, was placed upon the 1936 pictorial stamp, from Peru.

Nicargua is noted for the issuance of commemorative stamps, and “railway” commemoratives are to the fore. A set of five stamps, and five “air” stamps, came about in 1932, and illustrated scenes along the new railway line, then completed from San Jorge to San Juan del Sur. The wharf at San Jorge, a station at Rivas, the “filling up” place at El Nacascolo, Rivas station arrival platform, the La Chocolate cutting, and La Cuesta cutting, comprised the designs. Following this was the 1932 Leon-Sauce Railway “opening” stamps. A bridge, a “Halt,” railway station, a cutting, men at work on the line, and a few stations, completed this issue.

A train leaving a tunnel was the subject of Russia's 1922 “Famine Relief” stamps, while a mighty-powerful-looking engine “letting off” steam was represented on the 1932 “Express Delivery” issue. In 1935, however, the first railway stamps to reproduce underground scenes were released by Russia. Four stamps marked the opening of the Moscow Underground Railway—first section. The 5 k., value showed a picture of the tunnel excavation work. The 10 k. showed a section of the roadway, escalator, and underground station. Known as the “Metro,” the 15 k. illustrated one of the thirteen underground stations on this completed section. On the first day of opening 370,000 passengers were carried; 1,500 to each train. The 20 k. denomination pictured a station and several eager “First Day Riders” hurrying to board a waiting train. Another section of this railway is scheduled to appear at the end of 1938, so philatelists, you'd better watch out!

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