TPO -> Newfoundland TPOs

Newfoundland TPOs

By Keith Morris

Branch lines map by Tanya Saunders ©2001 Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Web Site

Start and finish dates: 1886 to c1953

The TPOs played an important role in the distribution of mails in Newfoundland. Communication in the early years was very difficult and even now the road network leaves much to be desired. Therefore the carriage of mail by railway and boat in those days was vital.

The railway starts at St John's and follows a circuitous route across the island and then down to Port aux Basques. The parts not served by the railway were served by a series of boats which operated when the weather permitted. The adjacent map of branch lines since 1883 is by Tanya Saunders and shown by kind permission of Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Web Site.

Note the location of the town of Botwood which played a major role in early transatlantic airmail routes.


Pre Confederation Period

The following is a list of TPOs with an indication of ship or rail, route and approximate dates of operation.

TPO Route From To  
Argentia TPO St John's - Argentia 23.11.1842 15.6.1948 Rail
Bay De Verde RPO Brigus Junction - Bay de Verde 14.7.1917 3.8.1933 Rail
Bonavista Bay RPO St John's - Bonavista Bay 26.5.1903 25.9.1918 Ship
Bonavista Rly RPO Clarenville - Bonavista 21.5.1912 26.4.1949 Rail
Coastal North TPO St John's - Battle Harbor 2.4.1891 25.9.1946 Ship
Coastal South TPO St John's - Harbor Breton 14.2.1921 24.7.1944 Ship
Coastal West TPO Harbor Breton - La Poile 2.4.1891 4.3.1931 Ship
Conception Bay Rly TPO St John's - Brigus Jcn - Carbonear 16.8.1898 c 1949 Rail
Ferryland Rly ?PO St John's - Ferryland 13.7.1917 30.11.1920 Rail
Fogo District TPO Lewisport - Fogo 6.11.1911 10.7.1947 Ship
Fortune Bay TPO Not known 27.3.1922 14.1.1911 Ship
Green Bay TPO Lewisporte - Shoe Cove 12.9.1914 ? Ship
Halls Bay RPO Norris Arm - St John's 24.1.1896 8.6.1938 Rail
Hearts Content Rly TPO St John's - Whitbourne - Hearts Content 15.8.1916 24.4.1930 Rail
Labrador TPO St John's - Hopedale 16.8.1896 11.10.1947 Ship
Newfoundland Railway TPO St John's - Port aux Basques 8.4.1896 c 1925 Rail
N N & W Railway TPO St John's - Port aux Basques 22.6.1898 25.2.1903 Rail
N & W TPO St John's - Port aux Basques 14.7.1900 14.10.1906 Rail
SS Northern Ranger St John's - Battle Harbor - Corner Brook 22.5.1938 31.10.1947 Ship
Notre Dame Bay TPO Lewisporte - Shoe Cove 5.9.1899 29.8.1947 Ship
Placentia Bay TPO Placentia Bay - Placentia 5.11.1899 26.8.1947 Ship
Placentia RPO St John's - Placentia Jcn - Placentia 14.1.1911 c 1927 Rail
Port aux Basques & North Sydney TPO Port aux Basques - North Sydney 7.7.1922 c 1929 Ship
Railway TPO St John's - Port aux Basques 23.11.1886 20.5.1899 Rail
St John's & Port aux Basques RPO St John's - Port aux Basques 15.9.1930 3.9.1947 Rail
South Coast TPO Argentia - Port aux Basques 9.8.1905 c 1948 Ship
S W Coast TPO Port aux Basques - Corner Brook 7.4.1943 c 1947 Ship
Straits TPO St John's - Corner Brook 30.6.1903 c 1946 Ship
Straits & N E Coast TPO Not known 14.12.1915 c 1915 Ship
Sydney & Port aux Basques TPO Sydney - Port aux Basques 21.12.1911 c 1912 Ship
Trepassey TPO St John's - Trepassey 28.2.1918 29.10.1929 ?Rail
Trinity Bay TPO St John's - Trinity 13.12.1899 c 1922 Ship
White Bay TPO Not known 27.9.1918 1.12.1930 Ship


facing slip from a bundle on the RPO
Bundle label from the St John's & Port aux Basques RPO, dated 5th November 1936

Post Confederation Period TPOs

After Confederation on 31st March 1949 the existing datestamps continued in use and can be found on Newfoundland, Canada and mixed franking covers. Before the end of 1949 new handstamps of typical Canadian style were brought into use. For just how long they continued in use is not accurately known, however one cover seen is dated 12th January 1953. Perhaps someone out there can offer an update on this point please?

TPO Route From To  
ARG & N SYD TPO Argentia - North Sydney 1.8.1950 9.2.1951 Ship
ARG & PAB TPO Argentia - Port aux Basques 9.11.1949 3.11.1950 Ship
CLAR & BON RPO Clarenville - Bonavista 22.9.1949 28.7.1950 Rail
LEW & FOGO TPO Lewisporte - Fogo 20.10.1949 28.7.1950 Ship
LEW & SHOE COVE TPO Lewisporte - Shoe Cove 13.10.1949 24.7.1950 Ship
St J & ARG RPO St John's - Argentia 21.10.1949 1.2.1951 Rail
St J & C BK RPO St John's - Corner Brook ? 12.1.1953 Rail
St J & CARB RPO St John's - Carbonear 22.9.1949 27.11.1952 Rail
St J & HOPEDALE TPO St John's - Hopedale 29.4.1949 15.7.1951 Ship
St J & LEW TPO St John's - Lewisporte 14.10.1949 28.7.1950 Ship
St J & PAB RPO St John's - Port aux Basques 20.9.1949 14.11.1950 Rail
St J CH & C BK TPO St John's - Cook Harbor - Corner Brook 18.11.1949 12.8.1950 Ship

Source: TPO, the magazine of the TPO & Seapost Society 1986

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