Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Austria 2016 - Stamp Day

ISSUE DATE: 21 October 2016

For this year’s Postage Stamp Day, Austrian Post is presenting the Steinamanger-Pinkafeld local railway, which, from 1888 onwards, provided a cross-border link between the towns of Szombathely (Steinamanger) in Hungary and Pinkafeld in Burgenland. Nowadays the railway is known as the Pinkatal railway after the Pinkatal valley, through which much of the railway runs. The stretch from Szombathely via Rechnitz and Oberwart to Pinkafeld was ceremoniously opened on 16th December 1888. At that time Burgenland was part of “Western Hungary” and still belonged to the Hungarian part of the monarchy. After the First World War Burgenland was ceded to Germany in accordance with the provisions of the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. In 1925 the line was extended from Pinkafeld via Pinggau as far as Friedberg in Styria, and connected to the Austrian railway system via the Wechselbahn. 

When the Iron Curtain came down, after the end of the Second World War, the rails along the Hungarian stretch were dismantled during the 1950s and the line terminated at Rechnitz. Gradually more and more stretches of the line within Austria were retired as a result of structural changes. Passenger travel on the Oberwart-Friedberg section came to an end in 2011 and from that time on the 28-kilometre long stretch has been used solely for the carriage of goods, primarily for the wood and metalworking industries. The line is currently operated by the province of Burgenland. For some years now there have been discussions regarding resuming passenger transport and reintroducing cross-border travel to Hungary: the “GrenzBahn” project is intended to create a railway link between Austria and Hungary. One side of the commemorative stamp shows the station at Pinkafeld. For a long time this district in southern Burgenland was known for its textiles industry; nowadays it is an important educational centre thanks to its HTL (vocational education and training college) and university. On the upper portion of the stamp you can see the station at Szombathely, which is a major transport hub. Among other things, several Raaberbahn lines converge here; Intercity trains depart from here to Budapest and Gyo˝ r, as do express trains to Vienna. Szombathely is a medium-sized city in the west of Hungary which is home to industry and commerce in the electronics, automotive technology, wood and textile processing sectors. The two municipalities are symbolically linked by a 377 series steam locomotive, like the ones used in around 1900. The stamp issued for Postage Stamp Day 2016 has a nominal value of 2.88 Euro; the supplement of 1.44 Euro is to be used to promote philately.


Stamp images and description thanks to Austrian Post - Österreichische Post
La Poste