Travelling Post Offices
Railway Letter and Parcel Stamps

Terms and Abbreviations
Bibliography of TPOs

Thematic Bibliography
Cinderella Bibliography

Welcome to the Home Page of the Railway Philatelic Group. Are you a stamp collector? Are you interested in railways? If the answer to these questions is yes, the RPG is the organisation for you. With 450 members worldwide, an Annual Convention, a quarterly journal, an exchange packet and an auction twice a year, membership of the Group will enable you to make contact with other collectors who share your interests and passion for railways past and present. The interests of members are many and various. Here are some of them:


Thematics. Thousands of stamps worldwide show superb miniatures of steam, diesel and electric locomotives. Others show railway pioneers, stations, signals, bridges, viaducts, tunnels and other aspects of railway working. One of the challenges of thematic collecting is to assemble such stamps in order to tell a coherent story.



The first issue of our journal ‘Railway Philately,’ September, 1966.

Travelling Post Offices (TPOs). From 1830, when the Liverpool to Manchester Railway was opened, trains have been used to carry mail. It was soon realised that time could be saved if the mail were to be sorted while in transit. This was the genesis of the TPO.




Railway Station Postmarks. With the railways coming into prominence as major carriers of the mail, the railway station was the obvious site for a postal sorting office. The postmarks of these station offices are eagerly sought after by railway philatelists.


Railway Sub Offices (RSOs). A peculiarly British invention was the Railway Sub Office, a small town or village post office, which exchanged mail directly with a railway travelling post office rather than with its own Head Office.


Railway Letter Stamps. In certain circumstances the Railway companies could deliver mail more quickly than the Post Office. From 1891 until relatively recent times special stamps called railway letter stamps were issued for the purpose of conveying railway letters. The issue and use of railway letter stamps was governed by Act of Parliament because the Post Office had a monopoly for the delivery of letters. Even today some of the preserved railway lines issue their own stamps for use by tourists.

Railway Parcel Stamps. The Post Office enjoyed no such monopoly for the carriage of parcels and packets. From the earliest times the Railway Companies have issued their own stamps for the carriage of various types of goods. To locate such stamps is both rewarding and exciting.


Volume 37, No.1 of ‘Railway Philately,’ December, 2002.


Other interests of members, some of them on the borders of philately, include cinderellas, literature, ephemera, postcards, poster stamps, railway telegraphs, perfins and Railway Company stationery.