Norway : Railway & Tramway Parcel Stamps

In Norway, stamps of the Government Railways date back to 1870 when a set of two values was issued by the Trondhjem-Støren Jernbane. These were followed in 1881 by the Smaalens Railway and the Norsk Hoved-Jernbane (Main Railway) issues. After 1884, the inscription on parcel stamps of the government-run railways is settled, all issues thereafter being inscribed 'Norges Statsbaner' (Norwegian State Railways).

Additional to these stamps are those of the private or municipal tramway companies and the private railway companies, both rural and suburban. With a national population of about 1.7 million in 1870, rising only to about 2.6 million by 1920, it is unsurprising that most of these stamps are scarce and it is not easy to put together sufficient material for an article, or indeed for a good collection.

Frimerker stamps Norwegian Railway Stamps Urskog timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norwegian Railway Stamps Trondheim Tram timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norwegian Railway Stamps Nestus-Os  timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norwegian Railway Stamps Lierbanen timbres-poste Briefmarken

It was our initial intention to try to cover all the railway parcel stamps in full but, having discovered that Frederick Brofos's 1964 catalogue has been updated by him and his son, Alexander, and uploaded in full to the Scandinavian Collectors' Club website, we have chosen instead to produce an article just on those with more railway pictorial interest, including winged wheels.

As an aid to navigating through the railways and tramways of Norway that issued stamps, we have provided for each railway, even those that we are not covering, a heading, a brief introduction, a link to the Scandinavian Collectors' Club webpage covering that railway (or tramway) and, where we do not list the stamps of that railway ourselves, a scan or two of their stamps as an 'appetizer'.

Even where we have provided listings, we recommend that you look also at the relevant Brofos catalogue page on the Scandinavian Collectors' Club website, since it will often provide additional information and scans, as well as variants we have not covered. Please note that the Brofos catalogue is spread over several webpages, with a few railways per webpage. The link printed in blue that we provide at the foot of each section is specifically for the webpage which includes that railway.

For tramway collectors, there are relatively few stamps to collect, at least in a strictly legal sense, but many of the companies registered as railways had only a short mileage of track, often suburban in nature, and they looked much more like a tramway than a railway in most respects. For convenience, we have grouped the companies legally registered as tramways at the end of the article.

We give the dates of issue of stamps only occasionally, essentially due to ignorance. Rather more are given by Brofos but many are unknown, so poorly documented were these stamps before Frederick Brofos wrote his catalogue in 1964. Even more than half a century later, one senses that much is still to be discovered about these stamps and new varieties are still being reported quite regularly. Indeed, it is not at all unlikely that some entirely new stamps are still waiting to be discovered.

We wish to express our gratitude to Alexander Brofos for the extensive help he provided to us in the creation of this article, help which included providing scans of some stamps hitherto unrecorded as well as scans in higher definition than we had previously been able to source. Please observe that all images provided to us from the Brofos collection are copyright.

Check-boxes : We usually provide two check-boxes [ . ] [ . ] (for mint and used) with our listings but, due to the scarcity of so many of these stamps, acquiring even one example in either condition should, we think, be a sufficient ambition for most collectors. In several cases, we do not think it could ever be reliably established whether a stamp exists both mint and used, so few in number are the known examples.

* * * * * * * Navigation : There are quick links in the left panel to each Railway Company. * * * * * * *

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EKEBERGBANEN

Frimerker stamps Ekebergbanen timbres-poste Briefmarken

The Ekerbergbanen was officially a privately-owned suburban railway, but is a good example of an operation that resembled far more an electric tramway. Control of the line passed to the Oslo Municipality in 1948, although stamps inscribed Ekebergbanen continued to be used for some time afterwards. The tracks are still operational today.

Frimerker stamps Ekebergbanen timbres-poste Briefmarken
Frimerker stamps Ekebergbanen timbres-poste Briefmarken
Above: Set/3 and detail scan showing background of dots.

Frimerker stamps Ekebergbanen timbres-poste Briefmarken
Above: Strip/3 with wavy-line background.

There are two orientations of wavy-line background. We do not know the sheet format nor the frequency with which the two types occur. We have described them according to the direction of the wavy-lines in the top left corner of the stamps. In the strip/3 above, the arrangement, left-to-right, is:
Pointing UP
Pointing DOWN
Pointing DOWN

First Issue : Electric Train / Tramcar, Perforated. Background of coloured dots.
10 øre Green & Black [ . ]
15 øre Rose & Black [ . ]
20 øre Blue & Black [ . ]

Second Issue : Electric Train / Tramcar, Perforated. Background of wavy lines.
10 øre Green & Black - Wavy Lines pointing DOWN [ . ]
- ditto - Wavy Lines pointing UP [ . ]
10 øre se-tenant pair, Wavy Lines reading UP & DOWN [ . ]

15 øre Rose & Black - Wavy Lines pointing DOWN [ . ]
- ditto - Wavy Lines pointing UP [ . ]
15 øre se-tenant pair, Wavy Lines reading UP & DOWN [ . ]

20 øre Blue & Black, Wavy Lines pointing DOWN [ . ]
- ditto - Wavy Lines pointing UP [ . ]
20 øre se-tenant pair, Wavy Lines reading UP & DOWN [ . ]

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Frimerker stamps Ekebergbanen timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Ekebergbanen timbres-poste Briefmarken
Subsequent issues were to the design shown above, which is outside the scope of this article.

All of this railway's issues are covered in the Brofos catalogue; the relevant webpage can be accessed here (opens in a new tab)

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GRAAKALBANEN

Frimerker stamps Graakalbanen Postcard timbres-poste Briefmarken

This is a Trondheim suburban tramway, electically-operated since its opening in 1924 as a private company. Following financial difficulties, it was acquired by the Trondheim Municipality in 1966 and trams continue to run over its tracks, part of the world's most northerly tramway system.

Frimerker stamps Graakalbanen timbres-poste Briefmarken
All Graakalbanen stamps follow the above format and style. See the Brofos catalogue for a full listing.

All of this railway's issues are covered in the Brofos catalogue; the relevant webpage can be accessed here (opens in a new tab)

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HOLMENKOLBANEN

Frimerker stamps Holmenkolbanen timbres-poste Briefmarken

The nomenclature for the Holmenkolbanen is interesting. At various periods, it has had elements of the tramway, the underground railway and the suburban railway. The company embraced the winged wheel as a key element in the design of all its stamps.

Frimerker stamps Holmenkolbanen timbres-poste Briefmarken

1898 : Small Size Stamp :
10 ØRE Beige (to pinkish-beige) [ . ]
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The larger issues from 1898 onwards all have dots around the wheels in the bottom corners but, for the 5 øre, the 10 øre and 20 øre, the presence or absence of dots in the top two corners can be a key distinguishing feature.
Frimerker stamps Holmenkolbanen timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Holmenkolbanen timbres-poste Briefmarken
. . Stamp WITH Dots: Type D . . . Stamp WITHOUT Dots : Type ND (for 'No Dots')

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Frimerker stamps Holmenkolbanen timbres-poste Briefmarken

1898 : Bi-colour Issue : (only exists in Type D) :
5 ØRE Blue & Vermilion [ . ]
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Frimerker stamps Holmenkolbanen timbres-poste Briefmarken

1903 : Previous Design Redrawn : Spacing of H.K.B. now regular, No Dots (and other changes).
5 ØRE Dark Blue (shades) on white paper (Type ND) [ . ]
- ditto - on Cream Paper [ . ]

All stamps after this point are inscribed 'A/S Holmankolbanen', rather than simply 'Holmankolbanen'. There are design differences for each face value, notably in the letters H.K.B. above the large central wheel, and in the scroll (except for the 20 ØRE values which have no scroll).

Frimerker stamps Holmenkolbanen timbres-poste Briefmarken

Brofos lists the next 5 stamps as a set of 2 (5 øre and 20 øre) and the 10, 15 and 50 øre as a later set/3. It appears to us that some stamps are printed on paper very similar to the wartime economy paper used by France (G.C. paper - Grande Consommation), a coarse, brownish paper. We have chosen to group them accordingly. We have seen the 5 øre on both normal and G.C. paper and therefore list it in both groups. Others value / paper combinations may well exist.

Printed on G.C. (or similar) Paper :
5 ØRE Blue (Type ND) [ . ]
10 ØRE Red (Type ND) [ . ]
20 ØRE Green (Type ND) [ . ]

Frimerker stamps Holmenkolbanen timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Holmenkolbanen timbres-poste Briefmarken

Printed on Normal Paper, coloured on the 15 ØRE and 50 ØRE :
5 ØRE Blue (Type ND) [ . ]
15 ØRE Green / Yellow-Green (Type ND) [ . ]
- ditto - On White Paper ** [ . ]
20 ØRE Black / Deep Rose (Type ND) [ . ]
- ditto - HOIMENKOLBANEN for HOLMANKOLBANEN [ . ]

** Brofos lists this stamp on White Paper. Whether it is simply our descriptions which differ or whether two paper types exist is unclear.

The main scan and the detail scan of the 50 øre show the flaw with a broken letter 'L' in the name of the railway resembling an 'I'. This variety appears to be constant on the 50 øre but we do not know from which position in the sheet.
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From this point onwards, all the 5 ØRE stamps are Type D (with dots) but there are two different printing plates used, identifiable as shown below:
Frimerker stamps Holmenkolbanen timbres-poste Briefmarken

Type I : The 'K' in 'HOLMENKOLBANEN' has a straight arm to the top-right; the letter 'A' is aligned below the base of the 'B'.
Type II : The 'K' now has a curved arm to top-right; the 'A' is aligned (or even slightly above) the base of the 'B'.
Type I is only found on the next issue, later 5 øre issues all being Type II.

There are also two types of the 20 ØRE as shown below:
Frimerker stamps Holmenkolbanen timbres-poste Briefmarken

Type III has straight arms to top-right on both the large 'K' and small 'K'. The '2' of '20' has an upright serif at its tail.
Type IV has curved arms to top-right of both letters 'K' and no serif on the '2'.
Type III is only found on the next issue, later 20 ØRE issues all being Type IV.

Frimerker stamps Holmenkolbanen timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Holmenkolbanen timbres-poste Briefmarken
The enlarged detail scan shows more clearly the serif on the '2'.

Stamps Re-drawn : Types I and III :
5 ØRE Deep Blue (Types I + D) [ . ]
20 ØRE Bluish-Green (Type III + serif to '2') [ . ]

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Frimerker stamps Holmenkolbanen timbres-poste Briefmarken

Stamps again Re-drawn : 5 øre in Type II; 10 øre now with dots; 20 øre in Type IV :
5 ØRE Deep Blue (Types II + D) Perf 11½ [ . ]
- ditto - Perf 10½ [ . ]*

10 ØRE Red (Type D) Perf 10½ [ . ]*
20 ØRE Green (Type IV + serif to '2') Perf 11½ (Type D) [ . ]
- ditto - Dark Green Perf 10½ [ . ]*
- ditto - Green Perf 10½ [ . ]*
- ditto - Olive-Green Perf 10½ [ . ]*

All stamps marked * are in Brofos, though not yet seen by us.
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Frimerker stamps Holmenkolbanen timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Holmenkolbanen timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Holmenkolbanen timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Holmenkolbanen timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Holmenkolbanen timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Holmenkolbanen timbres-poste Briefmarken
All six images above from The Brofos Collection - used with permission.

New Issue, spelling amended, stamps now inscribed GODSFRIMERKE (rather than GODSFRIMAERKE) :
50 ØRE Indigo / buff [ . ]
- ditto - Dark Blue / buff [ . ]

50 ØRE Dark Blue (shades) / rose [ . ]

50 ØRE Pale Blue / white [ . ]

75 ØRE Red / buff [ . ]

1 Kr. Green / pale buff [ . ]

125 ØRE Light Blue / white [ . ]

Note the eccentric spacing in the word FRIMERKE on this value, the AE dipthong having been very casually replaced by an 'E', leaving a huge space between 'E' and 'R'. We do not know whether this is present on all the stamps in the sheet or whether it is a variety. If the latter, it could possibly exist on other values too.
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Booklet Stamps :
This railway also issued train guards with booklets of stamps in a much larger format, perforated only at the top.

Frimerker stamps Holmenkolbanen timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Holmenkolbanen timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Holmenkolbanen timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Holmenkolbanen timbres-poste Briefmarken
All five images above from The Brofos Collection - used with permission.

40 øre Dark Red & Black [ . ]

75 øre Red & Black [ . ]

100 øre Red & Black [ . ]
- ditto - handstamped 'Prove' (Proof) [ . ]

125 øre Rose-Red & Black [ . ]

The scans of the 100 øre and 125 øre, kindly provided from the Brofos collection, are values which had not been discovered in time for inclusion in some versions of the catalogue.

All of this railway's issues are covered in the Brofos catalogue; the relevant webpage can be accessed here (opens in a new tab)

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HOLMESTRAND-VITTINGFOSBANEN

Frimerker stamps Holmestrand-Vittingfosbanen postcard
Detail from an early postcard.

A railway which operated for less than 36 years in the early 20th century from Holmestrand, on the Outer Oslofjord, running inland to Vittingfos, known today as Hvittingfoss. There were two simple type-set issues, the first of which is very scarce.

Frimerker stamps Holmenkolbanen timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps HOLMESTRAND-VITTINGFOSBANEN  timbres-poste Briefmarken
Stamps from the First and Second Issues.

All of this railway's issues are covered in the Brofos catalogue; the relevant webpage can be accessed here (opens in a new tab)

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LIERBANEN

Frimerker stamps Norway Sjaasted Lierbanen Railway

Another Norwegian railway which only operated in the first four decades of the 20th century. Its first parcel stamp issue was a set/3 provisionals, These were succeeded by a set/3 bespoke stamps.

Frimerker stamps Norway Lierbanen Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken

Stamps of the Tønsberg-Eidsfosbanen HANDSTAMPED in Violet :
5 øre Green & Black handstamped Lierbanen [ . ]

10 øre Pale Mulberry & Black handstamped Lierbanen [ . ]

50 øre Ochre & Black handstamped Lierbanen [ . ]

The overprint was repeated three times (LierbanenLierbanenLierbanen) across each strip of five stamps. A strip/5 is illustrated in the Brofos catalogue.
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Frimerker stamps Norway Lierbanen Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken

Stamps now Inscribed LIER-BANEN :
5 ØRE Green & Black [ . ]

10 ØRE Pale Mulberry & Black [ . ]

50 ØRE Pale Ochre & Black [ . ]

All of this railway's issues are covered in the Brofos catalogue; the relevant webpage can be accessed here (opens in a new tab)

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LILLEAKERBANEN, later re-named BÆRUMSBANEN

The Lilleakerbanen had a complex ownership history centred around the Kristiania Elektriske Spoorveiselskab (KRA) but, from a philatelic point of view, it had a single set of stamps when so named. Upon the extension of the railway to Bærum, the railway adopted that town's name, becoming the Bærumsbanen, under which name later stamps were issued. We have provided a continuous listing here under the railway's two names. The designs throughout display many of the features of the Holmenkolbanen issues.

LILLEAKERBANEN :
Frimerker stamps Norway LILLEAKERBANEN Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norway LILLEAKERBANEN Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken
'Image of the 25 øre in Red from The Brofos Collection - used with permission.'

20 øre Blue [ . ]
25 øre Rose-Red [ . ]
25 øre Red [ . ]

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BÆRUMSBANEN :
Frimerker stamps Norway Bærumsbanen  Railway Bestum

Frimerker stamps Norway Bærumsbanen  Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norway Bærumsbanen  Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norway Bærumsbanen  Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken
'Image of the 20 øre from The Brofos Collection - used with permission.'

The numbered 30 øre is from a 'stamp from everywhere' website whose home page can be accessed here (opens in a new tab).

20 øre Blue [ . ]
30 øre Yellow-Orange, un-numbered [ . ]
- ditto - Orange, numbered [ . ]

Later stamps are non-thematic in nature.

All of this railway's issues are covered in the Brofos catalogue; the relevant webpage can be accessed here (opens in a new tab)

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LILLESAND-FLAKSVANDBANEN

In existence from 1896 to 1953, this privately-owned line, un-connected to the Norwegian railway network, was principally a lumber railway whose passenger traffic, which was never substantial, declined markedly after its first decade of operation. The railway used simple type-set stamps which evolved over the years. See Brofos for full details.

Frimerker stamps Norway LILLESAND-FLAKSVANDBANEN  Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norway LILLESAND-FLAKSVANDBANEN  Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norway LILLESAND-FLAKSVANDBANEN  Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norway LILLESAND-FLAKSVANDBANEN  Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken
The basic design of stamps used by the railway. The above are all First Issues and display different font types of that issue.

All of this railway's issues are covered in the Brofos catalogue; the relevant webpage can be accessed here (opens in a new tab)

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NESTTUN-OSBANEN

Frimerker stamps Norway NESTTUN-OSBANEN Railway image boiler explosion steam locomotive Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken
An impressive boiler explosion on the Nestun-Osbanen, copied from Wikipedia. The source page is here (opens in a new tab).

Opened in 1894 and closed in 1935, this is another Norwegian railway with a short life spanning roughly the first four decades of the 20th century. All the stamps are a variation on a single design for which there are three issues.

Frimerker stamps Norway NESTTUN-OSBANEN Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norway NESTTUN-OSBANEN Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norway NESTTUN-OSBANEN Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norway NESTTUN-OSBANEN Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken
Examples of First Issue stamps from this railway.

All of this railway's issues are covered in the Brofos catalogue; the relevant webpage can be accessed here (opens in a new tab)

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NORSK HOVEDJERNBANE

The Norsk Hovedjernbane was Norway's first railway, built under Robert Stephenson and opened in 1854. For many years it worked in close co-operation with the Norges Statsbaner (Norwegian State Railways), which finally completed its share acquistion of the Norsk Hovedjernbane in 1926, after which the stamps of the Norges Statsbaner, q.v., were used.

There are two stamp issues for this railway, all stamps being in the same style. Stamps of the first issue are exceptionally scarce.

Frimerker stamps Norway Norsk Hovedjernbane Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norway Norsk Hovedjernbane Railway Post Office issue timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norway Norsk Hovedjernbane Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken
A 5 ØRE of the Second Issue, a Norwegian Post Office issue of 1947 and a left luggage stamp with a winged wheel.

'Left Luggage' stamps, in the style shown above, inscribed OPBEVAR1NG AF REISEGODS / CHRISTIANIA, OPBEVAR1NG AV REISEGODS / KRISTIANIA or similar, with values of 5 øre of 10 øre, include a winged wheel. However, Left Luggage stamps are not within the scope of this article, although perhaps, if we had had a good range of scans, we would have chosen to include them! They are, though, well documented in the Brofos catalogue, Scandinavian Collectors' Club website link immediately below.

All of this railway's issues are covered in the Brofos catalogue; the relevant webpage can be accessed here (opens in a new tab)

The same design was also used for Left Luggage stamps by Norges Statsbanen and these can be found on the same webpage.

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RJUKANBANEN

The Rjukanbanen (commercial operations 1909-1991) is a short (10 miles / 16 kms) line in Telemark county, built principally for the carriage of chemicals from the Norsk Hydro plant to the port at Mael. The line operates today as a heritage railway with occasional trains for tourists whose main interest will usually be the wartime destruction by saboteurs of a shipment of heavy water from the Norsk Hydro plant bound for Germany, as portrayed in the 1965 film, The Heroes of Telemark.

Frimerker stamps Norway Norsk Rjukanbanen Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norway Rjukanbanen Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken
First and Second Issues : 'The Second Issue image above is from The Brofos Collection - used with permission.'

The above enlarged scans display the design differences between the first two issues listed below. In the First Issue (left stamp), there are sun-rays around the winged wheel in the upper panel and swirls in the lower panel. In the Second Issue (right), both panels have a 'soap-bubble' background.
In addition to a Winged Wheel, a border formed of Railway Track is a feature of all the issues of this railway.
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First Issue :
Frimerker stamps Norway Norsk Hovedjernbane Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken
Upper Panel : Shading around the winged wheel formed of 'sun-ray' lines. Lower Panel : A pattern of swirls.

First Issue : Background to winged wheel of 'sun-ray' lines :
5 øre Green & Black [ . ]
10 øre Pale Mulberry & Black [ . ]
20 øre Ochre & Black [ . ]
- ditto - Orange-Ochre & Black [ . ]

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Second Issue :
Frimerker stamps Norway Norsk Rjukanbanen  Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norway Rjukanbanen Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norway Rjukanbanen Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken
Rays and swirls in panels now replaced by, to adopt the Brofos description, a 'soap-bubble' pattern.
'All three images above from The Brofos Collection - used with permission.'

Second Issue : As described immediately above :
10 øre Pink & Black [ . ]
20 øre Ochre & Black [ . ]
50 øre Light Blue & Black [ . ]

The scans above from the Brofos catalogue includes a 20 øre which had not been discovered in time for inclusion in some versions of the catalogue. We have used Brofos catalogue colours to describe the Second Issue and presumed Ochre & Black for the 20 øre.
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Third Issue :
Frimerker stamps Norway Rjukanbanen Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norway Rjukanbanen Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norway Rjukanbanen Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norway Norsk Rjukanbanen  Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken
'Images of the 2Kr and 10Kr from The Brofos Collection - used with permission.'
Image (& listing) of the 5Kr from 'A Stamp from Everywhere' website; the relevant page can be accessed here (opens in a new tab)

Third Issue :
2 øre Black & Green / yellow [ . ]
Kr.1 Black & Red / yellow [ . ]
Kr.2 Black & Red [ . ]
Kr.5 Black & Red /yellow [ . ]
Kr.10 Black & Red /yellow [ . ]

These stamps were printed with blank value tablets, the value being applied in a separate operation as required. The 2 øre value is not listed in Brofos and we find such a face value extremely low, even as a make-up rate. The purpose of these 2 øre stamps may not have been principally, or perhaps at all, for franking railway parcels.

All of this railway's issues are covered in the Brofos catalogue; the relevant webpage can be accessed here (opens in a new tab)

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SMAALENSBANEN

The Smaalens Railway opened in 1879 and is today the western branch of the Østfold Line. It issued only one design of stamp, in one denomination and in one colour, Black. The stamp was printed in sheets/10 (2x5) and first appeared in 1881. The locomotive depicted on the stamp appears very ancient even by 1880s standards. All stamps have at least one side imperforate.

Frimerker stamps Smaalensbanen Smaalens Banen Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken
. . . . Perf 8½ x IMP x 8½ x 10 . . . . Perf 8½ x IMP x 10½ x 9 . . . . Perf 11 x IMP x 10½ x 9½

The eccentric perforating is well illustrated in a sheetlet/10 shown in the Brofos catalogue. Brofos mentions the existence of perforations 7, 8½, 9, 9½, 10, 10½, 11 and 12. Even though the perforation varieties are eminently collectable, it is impractical to attempt to list them and we therefore list the stamp only once.

5 ØRE Black (Various Perf Combinations) [ . ] [ . ]

All of this railway's issues are covered in the Brofos catalogue; the relevant webpage can be accessed here (opens in a new tab)

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SULITJELMABANEN

Frimerker stamps Norway Sulitjelmabanen Railway Parcel Stamps postcard detail timbres-poste Briefmarken

The railway was built progressively from 1891 to 1956 in Northern Norway, eventually linking Finneid, Solvik, Sulitjelma and Lomi. The line closed in 1972 and much of its 35km length was converted to a road, the Fv830, a scenic route in sparsely-populated country. The route can be followed, driver's eye view, on Google with its gentle gradients punctuated by tunnels and bridges.

Frimerker stamps Norway Sulitjelmabanen Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken
The stamps are all in a similar style to the above, later issues without the winged motif.

All of this railway's issues are covered in the Brofos catalogue; the relevant webpage can be accessed here (opens in a new tab)

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THAMSHAVNBANEN

Frimerker stamps Norway Thamshavnbanen Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken
This is, historially, a very interesting railway, well described on its Wikipedia page which can be accessed here (opens in a new tab).

Philatelically, its output was minimal but the stamp design was as individualistic as the railway itself.

Frimerker stamps Norway Thamshavnbanen Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken
Frimerker stamps Norway Thamshavnbanen Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norway Thamshavnbanen Railway Post Office issue Stamp timbres-poste Briefmarken
A re-orientated single stamp from the strip/3 above it, shown alongside a Norwegian Post Office issue of 2008. The parcel stamp design is outside the scope of this article. However, since we have now effectively illustrated the entire output of this railway, it seems sensible to include a catalogue-style listing. There is additional information about this stamp in Brofos.

25 ØRE Blue & Black (with control in Red). Coil Stamp, Perf x IMP [ . ]

All of this railway's issues are covered in the Brofos catalogue; the relevant webpage can be accessed here (opens in a new tab)

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TØNSBERG-EIDSFOSBANEN

Frimerker stamps Norway Tønsbergbanen Railway Fra Tønsberg

This is yet another Norwegian railway with a life span that covers only the first four decades of the 20th century. It issued a single set of stamps in a style very similar to the Rjukanbanen.

Frimerker stamps Norway Tønsbergbanen Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken
There are minor shades, or at least differences in the intensity of colour, for all three values but we have not seen any worthy of listing as a shade variety.

5 øre Green & Black [ . ]
10 øre Rose & Black [ . ]
50 øre Ochre & Black [ . ]

Stamps found with part of a straight line 'Lierbanen' in violet across the centre are overprints, not cancellations, and are listed under the Lierbanen heading in this article.

All of this railway's issues are covered in the Brofos catalogue; the relevant webpage can be accessed here (opens in a new tab)

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TRONDHJEM-STØREN JERNBANE

Frimerker stamps Norway Trondhjem-Syøren Jernbane Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken
A pair of 'Personalised Stamps' produced through the Norway Post Office, showing trains on the Trondhjem-Støren Railway.

The two attractive values issued in 1870 by the Trondheim-Støren Railway are frequently available on the market and are probably the best-known of the Norwegian railway parcel stamps amongst collectors.
Note: Stamps inscribed Trondhjems Sporvei, an entirely separate company, are listed in the tramway section at the end.

Frimerker stamps Norway Trondhjem-Syøren Jernbane Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken

2 Sk. Deep Blue [ . ]
- ditto - Imperf Between (horizontal pair)
** [ . ]

4 Sk. Reddish-Vermilion [ . ]

** Listed in Brofos, not seen by us.

All of this railway's issues are covered in the Brofos catalogue; the relevant webpage can be accessed here (opens in a new tab)

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URSKOG-HØLANDSBANEN

Opened in 1896 and eventually incorporated into Norwegian State Railways, the attractive stamps of this railway date from the early decades of the 20th century.

First Issue :
Frimerker stamps Norway Urskog-Hølandsbanen  Jernbane Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken

First Issue :
5 ØRE Greenish-Blue & Black [ . ]
10 ØRE Yellow & Black [ . ]
50 ØRE Pale Green & Black [ . ]

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Second Issue :
Frimerker stamps Norway Urskog-Hølandsbanen  Jernbane Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norway Urskog-Hølandsbanen  Jernbane Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norway Urskog-Hølandsbanen  Jernbane Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken
The second issue stamp with detail scans showing a normal 'D' and a 'D' with thin downstroke in 'HØLANDSBANEN.

Second Issue :
1 ØRE Black [ . ]
- ditto - Thin downstroke on left side of 'D' [ . ]

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Third Issue :
Frimerker stamps Norway Urskog-Hølandsbanen  Jernbane Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norway Urskog-Hølandsbanen  Jernbane Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken
25 øre (Type I surcharge) and 40 øre (Type IV surcharge).

Frimerker stamps Norway Urskog-Hølandsbanen  Jernbane Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norway Urskog-Hølandsbanen  Jernbane Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norway Urskog-Hølandsbanen  Jernbane Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken
25 øre font types on the surcharges, left-to-right Types I, II & III. The figures '25' and letter 'r' are identifying features.

Frimerker stamps Norway Urskog-Hølandsbanen  Jernbane Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norway Urskog-Hølandsbanen  Jernbane Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norway Urskog-Hølandsbanen  Jernbane Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken
40 øre font types on the surcharges, left-to-right Types IV, V & VI. The figures '40' and letter 'r' are identifying features.

Third Issue : Surcharges on Previous Issues (25 øre / 1 ØRE and 40 øre / 5 ØRE) :
25 øre / 1 ØRE Black TYPE I with normal 'D' (not confirmed to exist) [ . ]
- ditto - With thin downstroke on left side of 'D' [ . ]

25 øre / 1 ØRE Black TYPE II [ . ]

25 øre / 1 ØRE Black TYPE III [ . ]

We have only seen one copy each of the above surcharges and have no knowledge of the sheet format of the original 1 ØRE stamp nor of the pattern of placement of the surcharges. Consequently, we do not know whether the damaged 'D' on the original printing is found on Types II and III nor whether the normal 'D' is found on the Type I surcharge, since our Type I surcharge has the 'D' variety.

40 øre / 5 ØRE Greenish-Blue & Black TYPE IV [ . ]

40 øre / 5 ØRE Greenish-Blue & Black TYPE V [ . ]

40 øre / 5 ØRE Greenish-Blue & Black TYPE VI [ . ]

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Fourth Issue :
Frimerker stamps Norway Urskog-Hølandsbanen  Jernbane Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norway Urskog-Hølandsbanen  Jernbane Railway Norwegian Post Office Stamp timbres-poste Briefmarken
Fourth Issue (left) and (right) a Norwegian Post Office issue of 1996, depicting a steam train on this railway.

Fourth Issue : Winged Wheels :
25 øre Deep Vermilion & Black [ . ]
- ditto - tête-bêche pair [ . ]

Both horizontal and vertical tête-bêche pairs can be extracted from the sheet.

All of this railway's issues are covered in the Brofos catalogue; the relevant webpage can be accessed here (opens in a new tab)

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NORGES STATSBANER : Norwegian State Railways

Until 1996. most railways in Norway were run by the Norges Statsbaner (Norwegian State Railways). We refer you to Wikipedia for an excellent background page to the railways of Norway in general which can be accessed here (opens in a new tab).

Frimerker stamps Norges Statsbaner Jernbane Norwegian Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken
Third Issue (left) & Fourth Issue (right) : 'Images from The Brofos Collection - used with permission.'

There are several values in both the Third and Fourth issues but only the 500 ØRE, which is in a much larger design than the other values, has winged wheels in the design.
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Third Issue : Rough Perf. 9 - 10 approximately
500 ØRE Black / dull green [ . ]

Fourth Issue :
Fourth Issue : Perforated (cleanly) on all four sides, Perf 11½.
500 ØRE Black / pale green [ . ]
Brofos reports that this stamp is known imperforate.
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Later Issues : Winged Wheels
Frimerker stamps Norges Statsbaner Jernbane Norwegian Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norges Statsbaner Jernbane Norwegian Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norges Statsbaner Jernbane Norwegian Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norges Statsbaner Jernbane Norwegian Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken
Frimerker stamps Norges Statsbaner Jernbane Norwegian Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norges Statsbaner Jernbane Norwegian Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norges Statsbaner Jernbane Norwegian Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norges Statsbaner Jernbane Norwegian Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken

For the next three decades, Norges Statsbaner employed the so-called 'Dragon' stamps for their parcel post, a beautiful, classical design of parcel stamp which included a winged wheel. We show several examples above. There are numerous printings, involving modifications to the design. Within each printing, there are often perforation and shade varieties as well. It would give us great pleasure to list them, but we have insufficient material to attempt this. The Brofos listing runs to around 70 stamps in this elegant design, fully identified by printing, and we commend this to you.

There are further Norges Statsbaner issues with winged wheels, both for parcel stamps and Left Luggage fees, as shown in the examples below. These are also covered in Brofos.

Frimerker stamps Norges Statsbaner Jernbane Norwegian Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norges Statsbaner Jernbane Norwegian Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norges Statsbaner Jernbane Norwegian Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken

Note that the Left Luggage stamp is simply the Norsk Hovedjernbane design with a few amendments, principally that of changing the inscription to STATSBANERNE.

All of this railway's issues are covered in the Brofos catalogue; the relevant webpage can be accessed here (opens in a new tab)

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Norway : TRAMWAY STAMPS
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The listing up to this point has been of the stamps of companies which described themselves as railways but, as mentioned in the introduction, several were much more akin to outer-suburban tramways in their practices - and indeed their appearance. We now turn to companies which did describe themselves as tramways. Of those that issued stamps, two were based in Kristiania (the city renamed Oslo in the 1920s), and one in Trondheim.

Whatever the nomenclature, both railways and tramways can struggle for adequate revenue to cover the high overheads of these modes of transport. Few private tramways can realistically remain economically viable once freight road transport and private car ownership grow. However, in some cases municipal vision and financial support has been forthcoming in Norway and in three cities at least part of their tramway systems have survived the socio-economic attacks that, worldwide, engulfed railways and tramways in the latter part of the 20th century. In Norway, some of the surburban railway lines were incorporated into the public transport structures that we see today, either as suburban railways or as tramways.

For independent, financially-viable Norwegian tramways, however, one needs to go back to an era of undeveloped road transport when the business model surrounding a tramway just about worked. In a country with such a small population as Norway, for the better-run companies this silver (probably never golden) era would have spanned perhaps the first two or three decades of the 20th century before entering a decline.

It is in this period that the greatest number of tramway parcel stamps were issued although one or two tramways continued to issue them for many years after the war (WWII). Generally, information on tramway parcel stamps appears to be even more limited than for many of the railways.

This dearth of information can be a function of the absence of station buildings and station staff on the scale that railways often enjoy. The practices around the sale and distribution of these stamps are not known to us but they may have included the use of accredited agencies and/or pre-purchase of stamps from the companies by regular consignors of parcels. Certainly, historic records around the protocols for the issue and use of these stamps appear to be very thin, a fact highlighted by the almost total lack of confirmed issue dates for any of these tramway parcel stamps.
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Kristiania Elektriske Sporvei

Kristiania on stamps is inscribed just 'Kr.a' or 'KRA.' We have chosen to include a basic description of the First Issue from this tramway, despite it having no clear thematic interest, as this then provides a complete picture of the stamps of this tramway company.

First Issue :
Frimerker stamps Kristiania Elektriske Sporvei Tramway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken
'Image from The Brofos Collection - used with permission.'

First Issue : (no thematic content) :
5 Øre Black / / light blue [ . ]
10 Øre Black / light red [ . ]

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Second Issue :
Frimerker stamps Kristiania Elektriske Sporvei Tramway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Kristiania Elektriske Sporvei Tramway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken
Diamond pattern on either side within the central oval.
'Image of the 5 Øre from The Brofos Collection - used with permission.'

Second Issue : Winged Wheels : With Diamond design either side of 'PAKKEFRIMÆRKE'
5 øre Pale Brown [ . ]
10 øre Light Green [ . ]

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Third Issue :
Frimerker stamps Kristiania Elektriske Sporvei  Tramway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Kristiania Elektriske Sporvei Tramway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken
Diamond patterns removed : The scan shows a 5øre from the Second Issue and, alongside, a Norwegian Post Office issue of 1994, depicting a Kristiania Elektriske Sporvei tramcar.

Third Issue : Winged Wheels : Diamonds removed from design.
5 øre Brown (shades) [ . ]
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All of this railway's issues are covered in the Brofos catalogue; the relevant webpage can be accessed here (opens in a new tab)

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A/S Oslo Sporveier

Frimerker stamps A/S Oslo Sporveier Tramway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps A/S Oslo Sporveier Tramway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken
Detail from a postcard of an Oslo tram in winter weather and a typical stamp of the A/S Oslo Sporveier
The stamp image is from The Brofos Collection - used with permission.

This company was created in 1924 to take over two tramways in financial difficulty and expanded its operations considerably to include buses, trolleybuses and, later, water buses. The company's stamps had no thematic railway content.

All of this railway's issues are covered in the Brofos catalogue; the relevant webpage can be accessed here (opens in a new tab)

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Trondhjems Sporvei

Frimerker stamps Trondhjems Sporvei Norwegian Tramway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken
A tramway ticket, perhaps from the period between the wars, showing a tram both more modern and probably more practical than that shown on the stamps, but how much less stylish!

The trams of Trondheim have been a political football for about 50 years with municipal elections often invigorated by heated debate over their future. Of the four original lines, only one currently survives in use. Link to the Wikipedia page with fuller details (opens in a new tab).

This Trondhjems Sporvei company used just one design of stamp, a superb side view of an early electric tramcar.

Frimerker stamps Trondhjems Sporvei Norwegian Tramway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Trondhjems Sporvei Norwegian Tramway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken

First Issue:
5 ØRE Deep Blue [ . ]
10 ØRE Pale Claret [ . ]

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Frimerker stamps Trondhjems Sporvei Norwegian Tramway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken

Second Issue: Surcharged in Magenta :
10 øre / 5 ØRE Deep Blue [ . ]
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Frimerker stamps Trondhjems Sporvei Norwegian Tramway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken

Third Issue: New Value :
20 ØRE Bright Vermilion [ . ]

All of this railway's issues are covered in the Brofos catalogue; the relevant webpage can be accessed here (opens in a new tab)

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A/S Drammens Elektriske Bane & A/S Trikken

The Drammens Elektriske Bane operated trolleybuses in Drammen for just seven years from 1909 to 1916, at which point they went bankrupt. The assets of the company were purchased by A/S Trikken who ran the trolleybuses until 1947. We have access to scans of these two companies' rarely-seen stamps and, even though they are not a tramway, they are wonderfully evocative. We have therefore included scans of them for the benefit of our readers, who, if they do not have a transportational soul that embraces veteran trolleybuses, will perhaps be transported instead by a scantily-clad neo-classical nymph giving an electrifying performance on a high-wire!

Frimerker stamps Norway A/S Drammens Elektriske Bane & A/S Trikken Trolleybus Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken Frimerker stamps Norges Statsbaner Jernbane Norwegian Railway Parcel Stamps timbres-poste Briefmarken

All of this railway's issues are covered in the Brofos catalogue; the relevant webpage can be accessed here (opens in a new tab)

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