Steam Locomotives in Wales on Stamps
Royal Mail has today issued four stamps in its Classic Locomotives series featuring steam engines at work in Wales (Agerbeiriannau Clasurol Cymru) and two of them feature now preserved narrow gauge lines - see Wales Cottage Holidays Heritage Railways pages for more information.
The Welshpool & Llanfair Light Railway in Mid Wales is on the 88p stamp although the scene illustrated is on a small part of the Railway that no longer exists. The current terminus at Welshpool, Raven Square Station, is comparatively new as the line used to run through the streets of the town to meet up with the main Cambrian line. The stamp shows W&LLR locomotive No 822 ‘The Earl’ waiting for a car to be moved that had been parked in its way on the line in Union Street!
The Ffestiniog Railway’s locomotive ‘Blanche’ (Hunslet No 589) is depicted in a scene from 1964 on the 78p stamp shortly after leaving Porthmadog, rounding the curve at the end of ‘The Cob’ past what was then Pen Cob Halt. At that time, the Railway had been re-opened for ten years but it would be not until 1982 that the line would once again run all the way to Blaenau Ffestiniog.
The other two stamps have standard gauge locomotives with the 1ST class value (or, as it also says on the stamp 1AF - Cuntaf in Welsh) showing a London, Midland & Scottish Railway Class 2F No 7720 heading a Bangor to Holyhead local passenger train in the 1930s leaving the Britannia Bridge after crossing the Menai Straight onto Anglesey.
The £1.28 stamp illustrates a former Great Western Railway 0-6-2 Tank locomotive No 5652 hauling a coal train in 1959 at Cwmbargoed near Merthyr Tydfil on its way south from Dowlais. Two hundred of these Collett designed engines were built between 1924 and 1928 mainly for use in South Wales to transport coal from the valleys to ports such as Cardiff and Barry; all were withdrawn from 1962 to 1966 but several have been preserved.