The last of the Classic Locomotives miniature sheets will be issued on 20 February 2014 at Spring Stampex, but there will be no self-adhesive retail booklet at this time. Instead a Prestige Stamp Book will be available, which will include stamps from all four miniature sheet issues.
The final set includes some classics of the Welsh railways in their prime, including narrow gauge locomotives.
Locomotives depicted are (according to information received from Royal Mail):
1st/af class LMS No. 7720 – FR Hebron © Rail Archive Stephenson ***
78p Hunslet No. 589 Blanche © Geoff Plumb (Ffestiniog Railway)
88p Welshpool and Llanfair Light Railway No. 822 The Earl – PM Alexander © Michael Whitehouse
£1.28 British Railways 5600 No. 5652 – TB Owen © Colour-Rail;
Background image BR 5101 2-6-2T No. 4126 – AED Collection © Prorail UK
*** UPDATE 6 February.
An eagle-eyed reader has noticed that on these images the 1st class Welsh loco has a different caption on the miniature sheet (LMS 2F No. 7720) to that on the PSB pane. Having examined the actual stamps I can confirm that in both cases the caption is LMS No. 7720. Some of the earlier stamps included the locomotive class, (7720 is a class 2F) but the Wales stamps do NOT include the class.
The Prestige Book contains 4 panes of locomotives, one for each country containing the 1st class and next value from the original miniature sheets, and one definitive pane containing 4 country definitives and four Machin definitives - 2 at 2p and 2 at 5p. Once again Royal Mail have failed to appreciate that Machin collectors who want only these on first day covers must add an additional 53p of postage to meet the 1st class postage rate normally needed. The panes are shown here with the cover. Click on the image to see larger versions. Retail price £13.97
Front cover and Definitive pane
England and Scotland
Northern Ireland and Wales
Technical details as provided by Royal Mail (subject to change):
Miniature sheet - printed in litho by International Security Printers
Prestige Book - printed by Joh Enschede in litho.
UPDATE 28 JAN 14
We now have the PSB panes and can show the definitives, which are coded M13L MPIL. This is much more difficult to see than on earlier panes by other printers, and not even as easy to see as on the Enschede-printed Merchant Navy pane.
The reproduction of the Country definitives is very similar to that in the Football Heroes PSB, but the phosphor is more visible on those with a yellowish tinge. In the pictures below, the Football Heroes stamps are on the left and the UK Locomotives on the right.
(Stray marks are not flaws, but some extraneous fibres in the scans, from the carrier card. )