Railways

 

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For those interested in this branch of Belgian philately there is no better source of information than Tony Geake's book "Jones - Railway Parcel Post Cancellations of Belgium". This was published by the Belgian Study Circle in 2003 and contains over 200 pages of maps, listings of stations and cancellations and historical background. It can be obtain from the circle price £15 sterling plus postage and packing.

 

The first Belgian railway was opened on 5th May 1835 and in 1879 the railways were charged with the carriage of parcels previously undertaken by the post office. Stamps were produced for the franking of parcels but these were affixed to a waybill and not to the parcel. The majority of the early waybills were destroyed before the railway spotted the opportunity to sell used stamps to collectors. Early waybills are difficult to find and as are early cancellations on the first stamp issue. Once the railway saw the economic value of used stamps these were removed and sold and the waybills destroyed. Eventually the waybills were sold in bulk "as is" to dealers.

Collecting the cancellations is very popular although recently interest has focused on the stamps themselves with new discoveries of perforation variation and varieties by members of the BSC. Interest is also growing in the waybills themselves which occur in a wide variety of shapes sizes and colours.

Some parcels were delivered direct to the recipient address whilst others were held at the station for collection. "Avis de réception" cards were then sent to inform the recipient. Initially these were railway postal stationery cards but pre-printed postcards were subsequently used franked with official postage stamps.

 

                         Officials

 

The early Belgian communication system was well integrated and it was possible to hand in a parcel at a either a station or a post  office or telegraph office.  The stations used a variety of cancellations as described in Tony's book; whilst the post offices used a CDS and the telegraph offices cancelled the stamps with octagonal cancellations. For small parcels "Colis Postal/Post-Cello" after 1928 specific stamps were issued used mostly in post offices and cancelled with traditional CDSs.

 

Station Station Post office Telegraph office

 

The tax stamps produced in later years were used to frank application forms for travel permits by students and low paid workers.

Examples of these documents and waybills are shown below adjacent to the stamps used on them.

 

 

 

The first railway parcel stamp series was issued on 1st May 1879 – 10c, 20c, 25c, 50c, 80c and 1 franc.

 

The second series was issued on 1st August 1882 – 10c, 15c, 20c, 25c, 50c, 80c plus 1 and 2 francs.

1895-1902 – 10c, 15c, 20c, 25c, 30c, 40c, 50c, 60c, 70c, 80c, 90c plus 1 and 2 francs.

25th July 1902 – 10c, 15c, 20c, 25c, 30c, 35c, 40c, 50c, 55c, 60c, 70c, 80c, 90c plus 1, 1.10, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 10 francs.

22nd June 1915 The “Pellens” definitive issue overprinted as shown. 5c, 10c, 20c, 25c, 35c, 40c, 50c plus 1, 2 and 5 francs. There are many forgeries of this issue, which had very restricted usage.

20th December 1915 “Le Havre” Issue – 10c, 15c, 20c, 25c, 30c, 35c, 40c, 50c, 55c, 60c, 70c, 80c, 90c plus 1, 1.10 (x2), 2, 3, 4, 5, and 10 francs.

1920 “Malines” Issue – 10c, 15c, 20c, 25c, 30c, 35c, 40c, 50c, 55c, 60c, 70c, 80c, 90c (x2) plus 1 (x2), 1.10, 1.20, 1.40, 1.60, 2, 3, 4, 5, 10 (x2), 15 and 20 francs.

2nd April 1921 – 2, 3, 4, 5, 10, 15 and 20 francs.

1923-31 –  5c, 10c, 15c, 20c, 30c, 40c, 50c, 60c, 70c, 80c, 90c plus 1, 1.10, 1.50, 1.70, 1.80, 2, 2.10, 2.40, 2.70, 3, 3.30, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 francs.

April 1924 2.30 overprint on 2.40c.

1940 - 5 and 10 francs in new colours.

1940 - 10c, 20c, 30c, 40c, 50c, 60c, 70c, 80c, 90c plus 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 20, 30, 40 and 50 francs all overprinted with  or

 

 

1st October 1928 “Houyoux definitive overprinted “COLIS POSTAL – POSTCOLLO” – 4 and 5 francs.

 

25th February 1929 Brussels Post Office – 3, 4, 5 and 6 francs.

25th November 1933 4 overprint on 6 franc stamp.

20th April 1934 Type 5 steam locomotive “Goliath” 1930 – 3, 4, and 5 francs.

 

June 1935 Centenary of the Belgian Railways –

Diesel 10c, 20c, 30c, 40c, 50c, 60c, 70c, 80c, and 90c.

“Le Belge” 1835 – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 100 francs.

 

1st February 1938 “Winged Wheel”, not issued without surcharge 5 on 3.50, 5 on 4.50 and 6 on 5.50 francs.

September 1939 - 3 on 5.50 francs.

20th June 1945 - 8 on 5.50, 10 on 5.50 and 12 on 5.50   francs.

 

6th July 1939 Commemorative issue for the International Railway Congress of Brussels.

20c, 50c plus 2, 9 and 10 francs.

   

11th November 1942 – Tracklayer, Engineer and Porter – 9.20, 12.30 and 14.30 francs.

29th April 1945 - 10c, 20c, 30c, 40c, 50c, 60c, 70c, 80c, 90c plus 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (x2), 20, 30, 40 and 50 francs.

 

1st August 1942 – Electric Train – 100 francs.

 

7th July 1945 Liberation “Mercury” – BELGIQUE-BELGIË AND BELGIË- BELGIQUE – 3, 5 and 6 francs

 

2nd June 1946 “Level Crossing” – 100 francs.

 

July 1948 – 9, 11 and 13.50 francs.

1st September 1946 “Archer” – 8, 10 and 12 francs.

1st February 1948 surcharged – 9 on 8, 11 on 10 and 13.50 on 12 francs.

 

17th January 1949 “Locomotives” – ½ [Le Beige. 1835], 1 [Type P254], 2 [Type 29 1875], 3 [Type 25 1884], 4 [Type 18 1901], 5 [Type 22 1902], 6 [Type 53 1904], 7 [Type 8 1905], 8 [Type 16 1906], 9 [Type 10 1909], 10 [Type 36 1910], 20 [Type 38 1920], 30 [Type 48 1928], 40 [Type 5 1930], 50 [Type 1 Pacific 1935], 100 [Type 12 1939] and 300 [Two-car electric train 1951] francs.

10 franc [Type 381905] black & carmine, is a railway parcels tax stamp.

15th October 1949 Inauguration of the electrified line from Charleroi to Brussels – 60 francs.

11th  March 1950 – 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18 and 20 francs.

March 1952 Surcharged – 13 on 15, 17 on 11 and 20 on 18 francs.

 

 

1st September 1951 25th Anniversary of the formation of S.N.C.B – 25 francs.

 

July 1952 Inauguration of the North to Middle (South) junction – 200 (x2) francs.

 

1953-57 North Station Brussels, Central Station Brussels, Middle (Midi/Zuid) Station, Congrès Station and Chapelle Station, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (x2), 20 (x2), 30, 40, 50 (x2), 60, 80, 100, 200 and 300 francs.

June 1968 - 10 franc, Congrès Station a railway parcels tax stamp.

1975 – 20 and 50 franc, Congrès Station railway parcels tax stamps.

 

1st January 1954 New North Station Brussels – 13, 18 and 21 francs.

1st October 1956 surcharged - 14 on 13, 19 on 18 and 22 on 21 francs.

 

15th Mai 1957 Mercury – 14, 19 and 22 francs.

1st March 1959 surcharged - 10 on 19 and 20 on 22 francs.

 

17th August 1959 Old North Station Brussels – 20 francs

1st September 1961 Surcharged 24 on 20 francs.

 

24th April 1962 Old Middle/South Station Brussels – 24 francs.

15th February 1963 - Surcharged 26 on 24 francs.

 

1st June 1960 75th Anniversary of International Railway Congress Association – 20, 50, 60 and 70 francs.

 

23rd September 1963 Antwerp Central Station – 26 francs

20th April 1964 Surcharged 28 on 26 francs.

 

 

November 1965 Saint Peter’s Station Ghent – 28 francs

25th May  1966 Surcharged 35 on 28 francs.

 

 

February 1968 - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 francs [Type P488 electric train], 10, 20, 30, and 40 francs [Type 126 electric train],  50, 60, 70 and 80 francs [Type 160 electric train],100, 200 and 300 francs [Type 205 diesel-electric train], 500 francs [Type 210 diesel-electric train].

1973 - 90 francs [Type 160 electric train].

 

12th June 1967 Arlon Station – 25, 30, 35 and 40 francs.

December 1970 - Surcharged 37 on 25, 48 on 35 and 53 on 40 francs.

 

March 1971 Ostend Station – 32, 37, 42, 44, 46, 50, 52, 54 and 61 francs.

December 1971 - Surcharged 34 on 32, 40 on 37, 47 on 44, 53 on 42, 56 on 52, 59 on 44 and 66 on 61 francs.

 

 

February 1972 50th Anniversary of the International Railway Union

– 100 francs

 

 

May 1974 4th International Symposium of Railway Cybernetics Washington

– 100 francs.

 

 

June 1976 50th Anniversary of the formation of S.N.C.B

– 20, 50, 100 and 150 francs.

 

 

September 1977  Railway station at night – 1000 francs.

 

 

16th December 1980 - 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9 francs [Type P753 goods wagon], 10, 20, 30, and 40 francs [Type 3614 A5 packet wagon], 50, 60, 70 and 80 francs [Type 1000D self discharging wagon],100, 200, 300 and 500 francs [Type 2000G tanker wagon].

 

1st September 1982 Railway Tax Stamps – Stylised railway station – 10, 20, 50 and 100 francs.

 

3rd May 1985 150th Anniversary of the Belgian Railway – 250 and 500 francs.

A small print run of 7 miniature sheets was also produced with this design.

 

12th October 1987 Railway Tax Stamps – Tourism and the Railway – 10, 20, 50, 100 and 150 francs.

 

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