This is the first ever stamp from the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway (then known as the Worth Valley Railway), a 15p definitive issued on 9 May 1979.
It depicts the MS Class 4 0-6-0 locomotive.
U/M / Unmounted Mint / MNH / Mint Never Hinged.
About the KWVR
The Keighley & Worth Valley Railway (KWVR) is a preserved five-mile-long standard-gauge branch line, linked to the national railway network at Keighley in West Yorkshire, which reopened in June 1968 following its closure by British Railways in 1962. The railway featured in the 1970 film The Railway Children, and serves Haworth, the village that was famously home to the Brontë sisters.
Earlier, in 1957, the Talyllyn Railway was 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 KWVR from 1979. Early issues were inscribed with the shorter name “Worth Valley Railway”; later ones simply as “KWVR”.
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 2018, only the Talyllyn Railway, Ffestiniog Railway and Nene Valley Railway are understood to still be running a railway letter service.
The KWVR is believed to have issued its final stamps in 1990. For details of all KWVR issues, see the excellent Philatelic Compendium website.