Saturday, September 25, 2010

Orient Express, Austria

One great train cover from Edna showing Orient Express!

This is a joint issue between Austria and Romania, in order to mark the special cultural relationships between Bucharest and Vienna, built over time.
This attractive block in the background image shows a map on which the corresponding track is recorded, the Paris Ostbahnhof, the Giant Ferris Wheel and the famous mosque “Hagia Sofia"

The first stamp (which is placed a bit higher on this sheet) represents the Orient Express train in May 1921, at Sinaia station. It had been pulled by a Pacific engine, type 2C1-h4, which belonged to the Bucharest Travelers Depot and was used on the route Bucharest North – Ploiesti – Sinaia – Brasov and back.
The other stamp represents the Orient Express train, in 1909, at Salzburg station, consisted of a four-axle restaurant car and pulled by a compound engine, type 2B-n2v from the Austrian series K.k.St.B. 206.01-206.70 belonging to Depot Wien II and which was used to pull the Orient Express train on the route Salzburg – Vienna and back.

The Orient Express train made the connection between Paris and Constantinople, namely between the Occident and Orient, and was undoubtedly the most famous and romantic of all trains. Though it belongs today only to the nostalgic tourism – by the trains “Nostalgia Istanbul – Orient Express” (N.I.O.E.) and “Venice Simplon – Orient Express” (V.S.O.E.) which ran and continue running through Romania – its echoes have never died away. Writers, musicians, painters and cinematographers got inspired from the history of this famous train and contributed to the creation of its legend.

This train began operating in June 5th 1883, under the name of Le Train d’Orient or Express d’Orient and its first route, Paris (East Station) – Nancy – Strasbourg – Stuttgart – Munich – Salzburg – Vienna – Bratislava – Budapest – Jimbolia – Timisoara – Caransebes – Varciorova – Craiova – Pitesti – Bucharest – Giurgiu – Smarda, 2,638 kilometers long, lasted for 59 hours and 15 minutes. The first Orient Express left Giurgiu for Paris on June 8th 1883, at 13:30, arriving into the capital city at 15:00 and, after a 15 minutes halt, it left on its route to Paris.

The official inauguration of the Orient Express train took place on October 4th 1883; on this occasion, they introduced sleeping coaches with bogies, the first of this kind in Europe. The new cars of Orient Express train had 4 axles, were 17.5 meters long, they were made of Teak wood and had crystal glasses. Heated by steam and illuminated by gas, they were “as comfortable as a luxury suite in Paris”. Between two-axle baggage cars, they introduced two four-axle sleeping coaches, having a 20 seats capacity, and also a four-axle restaurant car. The restaurant car (CIWL 151D) was draped in tapestries from the famous Gobelin manufactories, as well as in Cordoba leather and Genovese velvet; it consisted of a large saloon, a smoking lounge with a library, a boudoir, an office and a kitchen.

Since 1st of June 1889, a second Orient Express train made a direct link between Paris and Constantinople, through a new route via Serbia and Bulgaria, the 2,504 kilometers long course lasting for 67 hours and
35 minutes.

After the commissioning of the Danube bridges, in 1895, the route of the Orient Express train through Romania was extended up to Constanta Harbor on April 19th /May 1st 1896.

During the World War I, the services of the European luxury trains, including the Orient Express train, were cancelled. After the hostilities ended, on April 15th 1919, a new international luxury train called Simplon – Orient Express, was introduced to connect London and Paris via Constantinople. On May 1st 1921, the route of the Orient Express train through Romania was included again in the course, up to Bucharest, via Arad, Teius, Brasov and Sinaia.

The last Orient Express train of the C.I.W.L.T. Company left Paris for Istanbul on May 19th 1977 on the route Paris – Milan – Venice – Zagreb – Belgrade – Sofia – Istanbul (Sirkeci), the entire journey lasting for about 56 hours.

(The cancellation is from the 50 years of OPEC)

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Great British Railways, UK

Sometimes I dont know how I have managed to meet such great people, but they surely have been a treasure to have in life coz they so selflessly love to surprise me with not only great postcards, but fantastic philatelic items as well.

The last great surprise came from dear Silvan from Malta, who especially for me had ordered this amazing FDC which made me jump of joy when I found it in my mailbox!
It was issued by the Royal Mail in order to commemorate the 50th anniversary of British Rail’s last steam locomotive, the 9F Class ‘Evening Star’.

This is the first in a series of Special Stamp issues commemorating classic British locomotives, which will continue with a number of Miniature Sheets from 2011 onwards!!!!!!!!!!!

Number of stamps: six
Date of issue: 19 August 2010
Stamp Format: Landscape
Stamp Size: 41mm x 30mm
Print Process: Gravure
Number per Sheet: 25/50
Perforations: 14.5 x 14
Phosphor: All over
Gum: PVA

In 1923 over 120 railway companies were merged into the Big Four, comprising the London, Midland and Scottish (including the Northern Counties Committee NCC in Northern Ireland), the Londong & Northern Eastern, the Great Western and the Southern Railways. Together they combined traditional British engineering excellence with innovative publicity. After the Second World War, however, the railways had become so run down that they were nationalised as British Railways in 1948. In March 1960, Evening Star brought to an end more than 130 years of steam-locomotive building for Britain's mainline railways.

Some details about each stamp:

1st Class – LMS Coronation Class

The streamlined Coronation Class locomotive ‘Coronation’ of the London Midland and Scottish Railway is seen here at Euston Station in 1938. Named in honour of the accession of King George VI, a Coronation Class locomotive was displayed at the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

1st Class – BR Class 9F

This photograph of ‘Evening Star’, the last of the British Rail Class 9F locomotives was taken at Midsomer Norton in 1962. The 9F was originally designed to pull heavy freight trains, but a few, like Evening Star, were used on passenger services, particularly on the steeply graded Somerset and Dorset line.

67p – GWR King Class

The photograph shows the Great Western Railway’s King Class locomotive ‘King William IV’ near Teignmouth in 1935. The Kings were the GWR’s star locomotives, able to pull heavy holiday trains and as well as expresses. Hailed as the UK’s most powerful steam engine, the ‘King George V’ toured the USA in 1927.

67p – LNER Class A1

This London North East Region Class A1 locomotive, ‘Royal Lancer’, was photographed in 1929. The LNER’s most famous A1 was the ‘Flying Scotsman’, the first UK steam engine to reach 100mph. Modernised from the 1930s, A1s were still pulling important passenger trains right into the 1960s.

97p – LMS NCC Class WT

The London Midland and Scottish Northern Counties Committee Class WT, ‘Engine No 2’, is pictured at Larne Harbour in the late 1940s. Based on a standard LMS design but built for the wider Irish track, the WTs were the last new steam locomotives delivered to the NCC and were widely known as ‘Jeeps’.

97p – SR King Arthur Class

This Southern Region King Arthur Class locomotive, ‘Sir Mador de la Porte’, was photographed at Bournemouth Central Station in the late 1930s. These fine locomotives once handled the Southern’s heaviest express trains, but were relegated to pulling less glamorous services from the 1940s.

Thank you soooo much Silvan!!!!