Thursday 8 December 2016

The Postal Museum celebrates Mail by Rail with Post and Go inscription

Edited from Press Release
LONDON, 8 December 2016 – The Postal Museum is pleased to announce that from Wednesday 15 February 2017 it will be selling the Royal Mail Heritage: Mail by Rail Post and Go set with The Postal Museum inscription. The set of 6 stamps will be available on 1st class values only.

The stamps can be purchased from the A001 Post and Go machine located at Freeling House, The Postal Museum’s present offices.

They will be available from 10.00-17.00 on the first day of issue and from 09.00-17.00 Monday to Friday after that. Please note that the Search Room is currently closed and only the foyer will be accessible.

The current Hibernating Animals Post and Go set on 1st and 2nd class stamps will finish on Friday 30 December 2016.

In addition to Mail by Rail, The Postal Museum will continue to offer the Union Flag, Mail Coach and 1st and 2nd class Machin stamps.   (Museum WebShop)

Mail by Rail presentation packs, first day covers and a postcard set will be available to pre-order online from 1 February.

From this PM picture (click on it to see larger images) we can see that the illustrations on Royal Mail's Mail by Rail Post and Go Faststamps (which will be available at Stampex, from Post Office self-service kiosks and probably from Royal Mail Enquiry Office machines) are:

Travelling Post Office: bag exchange
A specially designed apparatus enabled leather pouches containing mail bags to be exchanged with a moving Travelling Post Office (TPO). Pouches were hung from track-side standards or train-side ‘traductors’ to be caught by nets. The first  successful mail-bag exchange was in 1838.

Post Office (London) Railway
Also known as the Post Office Underground Railway, this subterranean line connected sorting offices with London railway termini. Operating between 1927 and 2003, it was renamed Mail Rail in 1987. Up to 40,000 mail bags were carried daily between Liverpool Street and Paddington over 6.5 miles (10.5km).

Night Mail: poster
Three years after the GPO Film Unit’s Night Mail film was released, in 1939 graphic artist Pat Keely designed an iconic poster that captured the essence of TPO trains. In excess of 70 were in operation at this time, transporting, sorting and despatching 27 million letters every day and night.

Travelling Post Office: loading
‘Euston Station: Loading the Travelling Post Office’ is a 1948 poster designed by artist Grace Golden. Main-line railway termini such as Euston station in London became hives of activity as dozens of mail vans crowded in to have their post unloaded for despatch across the country via the TPOs.

Travelling Post Office: sorting
A key feature of Travelling Post Offices was that mail was sorted while on the move. The Up Special TPO from Carlisle was the longest TPO in the world and could have 50 highly skilled postal staff working on it, while the smallest of mail trains could have just a single sorter.

Travelling Post Office: on the move
The first bespoke Travelling Post Office carried mail in 1838. By the 1930s there were 130 TPOs operating both night and day, with four exclusively functioning as mail trains. Day services ceased following the Second World War and the final TPO services ran on 9 January 2004.

See more on Mail by Rail here.  


  1. Has David Gentleman finally got his way? These stamps have no Queen's head! (OK, I know they're only mock-ups...)

    1. Blimey, it's a good job somebody's looking closely!

  2. which machines have these? the ones in my local post office only ever have the generic design.

    1. The issue date is 15 February and they should then be in all PO self-service kiosks.


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