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Quainton News Archive - Quainton News No. 102 - October 2009

Travelling Post Office W80394
Post Office Stowage Tender W80423

Travelling Post Office Coaches "Officially Opened"

The TPO coaches were "officially opened" at mid-day on Sunday 26th April, when the Curator of the British Postal Museum, Chris Taft, cut the ribbon. The short ceremony was attended by AVDC Chairman Councillor Netta Glover (with her husband), Quainton Parish Council Chairman, Arthur Evans, and Travelling Post Office Expert and author, Brian White, from the Nene Valley Railway.

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Keith Lobley - 29th April 2009, Chris Taft cuts the ribbon to "officially open" the TPO, observed by Sheila Lobley, Peter Hoskings, Councillor Glover and husband

The proceedings started off in the Oxford Room with refreshments made by June Frise. The party then gathered along with some QRS members and public visitors by the gates to Platform 5. Councillor Glover remarked, "What an asset the BRC was to the local area", and after later being taken around most of the site commented that, "she wished she could have stayed later, she hadn't realised exactly what we had here"!

Brian White said, "While we may envy the Nene Valley Railway their "action" coaches, they envied us the ability to put on such a splendid static display on the history of Mail by Rail". Arthur Evans was also very favourable in his comments. Chris Taft was impressed at the way we had used the information sent to us by the British Postal Museum. The event was covered by at least two local newspapers (Bucks Herald and Bucks Advertiser).

The two former Travelling Post Office (TPO) Coaches are sited at Platform 5, alongside the Visitor Centre. The Post Office Tender Vehicle shows short films about sorting mail during movement by rail, including the 1936 film "Night Mail" with commentary on how these trains worked and lines from the poem of that name written by W H Auden. Visitors can also see photographs and text history of moving and sorting mail "on the move".

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Sheila Lobley - Councillor Glover learns about the operation of the TPO

There is a display about The Great Train Robbery, which took place just south of Leighton Buzzard in Buckinghamshire in August 1963, with many photographs and some reports featured in the Bucks Herald newspaper at the time.

The Sorting Coach has been set up as realistically as possible to show how the standard letter mail, high-value items and packets were sorted - one section containing hundreds of envelopes for visitors to "sort". Stewards are on hand to answer questions and to guide visitors through the sorting process. We have had visits during the year from both the Didcot and Nene Valley TPO groups, both of whom were very complimentary of our displays and the Centre as a whole.

The coaches open to visitors from 13:00 to 16.00 on the last Sunday of each month and on major event days. There is a TPO page on the Centre's web site, where you can check all the opening dates for the rest of the Open Season.

Stewards are on hand each time, come and see us - you'll be impressed! If you have the occasional Sunday afternoon free, why not offer your services as a Steward? It's fun, clean, inside, the public absolutely love it and you don't need prior experience or knowledge of TPO's as training will be provided.

Please contact Peter Hoskings, Terry Walden, Sheila Lobley, or Bob Frise if you are interested in helping. Their contact details can be obtained from the Admin Office, or leave a message for one of them to contact you.

The text in this Quainton Railway Society publication was written in 2009 and so does not reflect events in the 5+ years since publication. The text and photographs are repeated verbatim from the original publication, with only a few minor grammar changes but some clarifying notes are added if deemed necessary. The photos from the original publication are provided as scans in this internet version of this long out of print publication.

Travelling Post Office Coaches "Officially Opened" - Quainton News No. 102 - October 2009

Text © Quainton Railway Society / Photographs © Quainton Railway Society or referenced photographer
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Page Updated: 02 December 2017