25p stamp issued by the Bluebell Railway in 1997, commemorating 120 years of service of the locomotive 0-4-OT Baxter.
U/M / Unmounted Mint / MNH / Mint Never Hinged.
About the Bluebell Railway
In 1957, the Talyllyn Railway became the first UK railway to issue its own railway letter stamps. Such labels were popular as souvenirs for the railway’s visitors, but also performed a postal function, paying for the carriage of mail via the railway’s own letter delivery service. Many other preserved railways followed suit with their own issues, including the Bluebell Railway from 1975.
As the Railway Philatelic Group explains, however, subsequent changes to the agreement between the Royal Mail, British Rail and independent railways – most recently in 1998 – has seen the number of railways offering a letter service dwindle, and, as of 2023, only the Talyllyn Railway, Ffestiniog Railway and Nene Valley Railway are understood to still be running a railway letter service.
The Bluebell Railway issued its final stamps in 2010, and the railway letter service was closed after 2013 following the retirement from active involvement on the railway of Peter Forrestier Smith.