A s described in the mail section of this web presentation, the Jamaica Railway became an integral component of the island's mail system at the turn of the twentieth century. Mail delivered to train stations was cancelled by the station agent using the same device as was used to datestamp passenger train tickets. As can be seen in the illustrations to the right, station cancels take the form of a double ring in which the station name appears along the bottom circumference between the two rings, Jamaica Railway wording appears along the top circumference between the two rings, and a date appears in the middle. Small maltese crosses, dashes, or dots may appear as separators between the Jamaica Railway wording and the station name.

A diagram showing the datestamp components can be viewed by clicking here.

Stylistic changes were made to the railway datestamps over time. In 1964 - 65, Tom Foster wrote several articles for "West Indies Stamps" in which he presented a classification system for all of the then known types of datestamps. Although a number of additional datestamp types have since been discovered, his system is still the one that is most widely used. Foster's system is summarized below.

TYPE S1     

"JAMAICA RAILWAY" at top, station name at bottom, dot separators.

TYPE S1a   

"JAMAICA RAILWAY" at top, station name at bottom, maltese cross separators.

TYPE S1b   

"JAMAICA RAILWAY" at top, station name at bottom, no separators.

TYPE S2     

"JAMAICA RAILWAY" at top, station name at bottom followed by the word "STATION", dot separators.

TYPE S2a   

"JAMAICA RAILWAY" at top, station name at bottom followed by the word "STATION", maltese cross separators.

TYPE S2b   

"JAMAICA RAILWAY" at top, station name at bottom followed by the word "STATION", no separators.

TYPE S3     

"JAMAICA GOV'T RAILWAY" at top, station name at bottom, maltese cross separators.

TYPE S3a   

"JAMAICA GOV'T RAILWAY" at top, station name at bottom, no separators.

TYPE S4     

"JAMAICA GOVERNMENT RAILWAY" at top, station name at bottom, dash separators.

TYPE S4a   

"JAMAICA GOVERNMENT RAILWAY" or "RAILWAYS" at top, station name at bottom, dot separators.

TYPE S4b   

"JAMAICA GOVERNMENT RAILWAY" or "RAILWAYS" at top, station name at bottom, no separators.

TYPE S4c   

"JAMAICA GOVERNMENT RAILWAY" or "RAILWAYS" at top, station name at bottom, maltese cross separators.

TYPE S5     

"JAMAICA RAILWAY" at top, "BAGGAGE DEP'T" at bottom, maltese cross separators.

TYPE S6     

"JAMAICA GOV'T RAILWAY" at top, "KINGSTON BAGGAGE DEPT" at bottom, maltese cross separators.

TYPE S7     

"JAMAICA GOV'T RAILWAY" at top, "KINGSTON BAGGAGE OFFICE" at bottom, maltese cross separators.


It should be noted that not all types exist for all stations. For a listing of the cancel types by station, see "The Postal History of Jamaica" by Edward Proud, pages 604-620. For the S4 types, the word "RAILWAYS" was used for those stations with track junctions such as Spanish Town and May Pen.

The October 1976, January 1977, and April 1977 issues of the "British Caribbean Philatelic Journal" contain three Jamaica Railway articles by Robert Topaz, Fred Seifert, and Charles Cwiakala which describe some additional railway cancel types that had subsequently been discovered. Those cancels, as well as some additional types and varieties, can be seen by viewing the railway cancel collection which appears in the right column of this screen. Click on a station name to view a page.


A personal note: I hope you have found the information presented by this website to be useful and informative. All images displayed by this site including those in the cancel collection are scans of items from my personal collection. Should you have interesting Jamaica Railway material to sell whether philatelic or otherwise, or should you wish to comment on my website content, you may contact me (Keith) at  keithemoh -at- gmail -dot- com.



Type S1b

Type S1b



Type S2a

Type S2a (partial)



Type S3

Type S3



Type S3a

Type S3a



Type S4

Type S4



Type S5

Type S5



Type S7

Type S7

RAILWAY CANCEL
COLLECTION

STATIONS



OTHER