TPO -> Modern Chinese TPOs

Modern Chinese TPOs

By Tony Goodbody

Railway Post Offices

Start and finish dates: 13 April 1903 - still running

China is one of the few countries which in 2007 still have a comprehensive network of travelling post office routes. Until recently, however, nobody would claim that the collecting and study of modern Chinese TPOs had much of a following in this country. Two factors accounted for this. In the first place there was virtually no material available and secondly the few covers available for study were virtually incomprehensible to most collectors. However, with the opening up of communication between China and the West some modern Chinese TPO cancellations have begun to make their way to this country. At the same time some help has been forthcoming to assist with the interpretation of these baffling marks.

The postmarks contain simplified Chinese characters which are given names according to the 'PinYin' system. The first and most important step is to be able to recognise a TPO cancel by the presence of the two characters: Chinese Harbin-Shanghai TPO cancel

Chinese characters Huo Che meaning TPO

meaning train (literally fire wagon). These two characters may be seen in the illustration of the Harbin-Shanghai TPO cancellation. The reader who wishes to learn how to interpret the rest of this and other similar postmarks is referred to a series of articles in our Society 'TPO' Journal, starting with issue No. 289 (autumn 2005), pp. 89-92.

Mobile Post Offices

Chinese automobile post office (MPO) cancellation Start and finish dates: not known

There is an unknown number of rural automobile post Office (MPOs) currently running and more information is currently required.

One known route is HaErBin - YiChun in HeiLongJiang Province, with a journey distance of approximately 726 kilometres.

Riverboat Post Offices

Chinese river post office cancellation Start and finish dates: not known

There is, or was, an unknown number of river post office operating and more information is currently required.

One route quite well known was established in November 1946 and ceased on 1st June 1998 from ShangHai to WuHan on the Yangtze River (Chang Jiang) Chinese characters for Yangtze River (Chang Jiang) a distance of 1125 kilometres using two ships known as JiangShen or JiangHan.

Map of the Yangtze River

Examples of Chinese TPO cancellations

Printed stationary card with a circular cancels "Train Office No.1" and "Suchowfu - Pukow Ku" and dated 1935 1 . The date in the postmark in columns right to left is date: 24th year 10th month 10th day when reordered as a row from left to right, and represents 24th year 10th month 10th day. Republic of China years commence from the 1911 Revolution, thus ROC year 24 is 1935 CE. The card is addressed to address: Suchow [Suchow, equivalent to Xuzhou]. The train name (at the bottom of the cancel) is train name: Xu Pu for Xuzhou - Pukow [Xu Pu] which is an abbreviation for Xuzhou - Pukow.

Train Office No.1 TPO cancel

B&W PC to England with circular cancels for "Bureau Ambulant No.2 / 13 AUG 1916 Pukow Ku - Tientsin", "Bureau Ambulant No.1 / 15 AUG 1916 / Peking - Moukden", "Foochow - 16 AUG 1916" and "Manchouli / 18 AUG 1916".

Bureau Ambulant No.2 and No.1 cancellations

Notes on reading dates and addresses supplied by Keith Lloyd.

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