Description: This diagram shows Siberia's railway system in Imperial times.
Some travelling post office route numbers are given on the diagram, but please
note that the termini of some of the routes changed several times, and these are
shown in a simplified form on the diagram. These travelling post offices operated in the Irkutsk area:
Irkutsk-Krasnoyarsk, Krasnoyarsk-Irkutsk - Nos. 197-198
Irkutsk-Chita, Chita-Irkutsk - Nos. 241-242
To organise and perfect the international postal service, in 1874 the
Universal Postal Union (UPU) was formed as an intergovernmental organization.
Russia became a member of the UPU. Decisions made at UPU congresses had a
recommendatory character. At the congress in Lisbon of 1885 datestamps were
recommended for stating the time of posting - the month of departure and arrival
of international correspondence was to be designated by Roman numerals. Referring
to this decision, the central administrative board of posts and telegraphs of Russia
in March, 1890 made a change in the postmarks: the date in one line giving the four
figures of the year, with a space between the two first and the two last figures.
Above these the day in Arabic figures, and below the line - the number of the month
in Roman numerals. On a postmark of a local town post office the name of the post
office or post-telegraph office is shown. On a postmark of a railway post office
and a post office at a railway station the name of the post office and the name
of the railway is shown. On postmarks of travelling post offices the number of
the outward or return route is shown. In February, 1903 new changes in the design
and form of postmarks were made. Now they were of two kinds: a double ring for
stationary post offices and a double oval for railway branches. The date began to
be shown only in Arabic figures - in the centre in one line between two parallel lines.
The year was shown only by the two last figures, and in postmarks for large cities
the time of collection was also stated. If in a post office there was more than one
postmark with the same inscription, each one was designated by a letter - an upper-
or lower-case letter of the Russian alphabet. On postmarks of local post offices the name
of the post office is shown only, also the name of the province sometimes is given.
The type of post office is shown only for volost council offices (in small settlements)
which carried out the functions of a post office for accepting and sending ordinary
letters. On oval postmarks for offices at railway stations the location of the post office,
and in the bottom part the word "Vokzal" (or in abbreviated form "Vokz.") is shown.
It is necessary to note that not all of the postmarks with the word "Vokzal" were used
at railway post offices. They can also be from local post offices which were situated
near to a station (they were similar to station post offices) - such postmarks are not
oval, but circular. Travelling post offices had oval postmarks on which was specified
the beginning and end of the route, and between them its number. On postmarks of un-numbered
travelling post offices (shorter routes) only the beginning and end of the route was stated.
Un-numbered travelling post offices could be administered by local post offices. They were
intended only for transportation of mail, without serving the population along the line.
Such wagons had circular postmarks which were put not on letters, but on documents accompanying
bags of mail. In Irkutsk province two travelling post office routes operated:
197-198 - Irkutsk - Krasnoyarsk and 241-242 - Irkutsk - Chita.