Tuesday 19 March 2013

New stamp sheet will feature Northern Ireland Classic Steam Locomotives

Following on from the Great British Railways set of 6, and the subsequent Classic Locomotives of England and Scotland miniature sheets issued in 2011 & 2012, this year sees the Classic Locomotives of Northern Ireland miniature sheet which will be issued on 18 June.

Designed as before by Delaney Design Consultants and printed in litho by Cartor Security Printing, the 179 x 74 mm sheet contains four stamps 41 x 30 mm.  The picture shows pre-increase postage rates as originally designed.

These show:

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

78p – Ulster Transport Authority SG3 Class No. 35
The SG3 Class locomotive shunts wagons at Portadown in 1963.

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

£1.28 – CDRJC Class 5 No. 4
The Class 5 locomotive Meenglas shunts a carriage at Strabane in 1959.

The Miniature Sheet Background image is: Glynn Lagoon, Larne Line, 1968

The associated retail stamp booklet will be issued on the same day, containing 4 x 1st class red Machin definitives (which should have codes MA13, MCIL) and 2 x 1st class UTA W Class stamps, all self-adhesive in gravure by Walsall Security Printers.

FDCs, a Presentation Pack, Stamp cards and a nameplate cover will also be available from Royal Mail.

Photo Acknowledgements: UTA W No. 103 © Dr C Kenneth Benington; UTA
SG3 No. 35 © Colin Boocock; Peckett No. 2 © railphotolibrary.com/Richard Casserley; CDRJC Class 5 No. 4 © Colour-Rail; background image of UTA
Class Z No. 27 Lough Erne crossing Larne Lough courtesy of and © Derek JA Young. 

Official first day postmarks

Special postmarks for this issue will be shown on our website in due course.


  1. Are you sure the details for 1st Class – Ulster Transport Authority W Class No. 103 are correct? Very unlikely to be County Donegal, which isn't in Northern Ireland. Actually rather disappointed by this issue.

    1. The information is provided by Royal Mail.

      The locomotive stock of the Northern Counties Committee of the LMSR was combined into the UTA in 1949, not being part of the 1948 nationalisation.

      There was more cross-border traffic at this time than after 1958 when the GNR line was the only one remaining.

  2. The train is 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.
    Thomas Somerset was the Chairman of the NCC Board of Directors.

    1. Thank you. So the description is wrong, but the trains did run cross-border?

  3. Well, it depends which trains you're asking about. Certainly there were (and are) cross-border train routes to/from NI.
    The 1st class stamp shows a Londonderry (Waterside) to Belfast (York Road) service. This travelled via Coleraine, not crossing the border at any point.
    Cross-border services would be more strongly represented by the £1.28 stamp, depicting a loco. of the County Donegal Railways Joint Committee. The County Donegal narrow-gauge system was largely in the county of that name, crossing the border at Lifford/Strabane, its line between Strabane and Derry traversing stretches of Counties Tyrone and Londonderry. Perhaps we shouldn't say that the railway crossed the border but rather the border crossed the railway (it was there first).

    1. John, I like your final comment! Perhaps, as in other matters, we should just regard the railways as Irish, despite the issue title.

  4. Will this make my Thomas Somersetnameplate more valuable

  5. This is wrong on three counts -
    1. The train was not an express.
    2. The phrase "up-express" is wrong - it should be "up express" or, more informatively, "a Belfast-bound express"
    3. The location is the tunnels at Castlerock in county Londonderry. It is not in County Donegal which is not in Northern Ireland - though that Inisihowen in that county appears in the right background across Lough Foyle.

    This comment is edited from an email; the sender is a member of the Railway Preservation Society of Ireland

  6. Seems like RM have made the classic geographical error and confused N.I. (6 counties) with the Province of Ulster (9 counties - Donegal being one of the extra 3). Sloppy research. Tut, tut.

  7. I see that these comments were made in 2013 so unlikely that anybody will see this, but my grandpa, Charles Kenneth Benington, took this photo (no. 103) and was from Ballymoney, Northern Ireland, so I suspect the photo was taken at Castlerock in Londonderry, however I will confirm with my grandma! Lovely to hear you all talking so passionately about my grandpa's photo, it's nice to have a photo of his that lives on on the internet and on the stamps :)


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