Logo of the RPO Study Group
RPO postmark - CPR West-of-Winnipeg Local 1 Railway mail car
Canadian National Railway Mail Car [1]
RPO postmark on a 3 cent 1897 Diamond Jubilee stamp

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Interior of a railway mail car
Inside the Mail Car [1]

Railway Post Office (RPO) and Transportation Post Office (TPO) postmarks attract numerous philatelists for reasons of postal history, interest in railway history, waterway history, and their pure collectibility.

As with other specializations, RPOs almost demand the availability of good reference information because making sense of the many postmarks, hammers, routes, and other variations is benefited greatly by the experiences of others.

For meetings of the RPO Study Group, please click HERE.

Collectors of Canadian RPOs have some wonderful reference publications, catalogues, and websites. A few of these are:

Some reference material for other specialties, such as squared circles, is useful (three Canadian RPO postmarks were designed with the squared circle format). RPO collectors also find great value in older railway maps and railway timetables. One of the intriguing aspects of RPO collecting is the challenge of tracing actual routes taken by covers showing many postmarks.

Here are definitions of some commonly used RPO technical terms.

[1] Photos taken by Robert K. Lane at the Edmonton Railway Museum

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This page was last modified on 2022-11-27