BR 80300 Post Office Sorting Van

BR 80300 Post Office Sorting Van
BR 80300 Post Office Sorting Van.jpg
BR 80300 Post Office Sorting Van
Built By BR Wolverton
Status Static display
Number W80300
Livery BR Maroon
Other numbers M80300
Built 1959
Diagram 720
Lot 30486
Type POS
Seats None
1997 Arrived on SVR


80300 was the first of 96 Post Office sorting vans built between 1959 and 1977 for use in travelling post offices ("TPOs").[1]



80300 was the prototype BR Mark 1 Post Office Sorting carriage.[2] It was built by BR at Wolverton in 1959 to Diagram 720 (NS501), Lot 30486. It entered service in the Western region in October 1959, transferring to the London Midland region in October 1977.[3] In the latter region it was used on the nightly ‘postal special’ which left Euston for Glasgow at 8.30pm. Stops were made at Crewe and Carlisle to transfer mail to and from other TPOs serving different parts of the country. At one time the coach was fitted with a net and apparatus to allow the high speed collection and dropping of mailbags at 34 locations along the route[4].


80300 in use as the visitor centre

80300 arrived on the SVR on 19 March 1997 from Barton Hill near Bristol, already restored in late 1960s maroon livery, having been donated to the railway by EWS Railways.[2] It was presented to the railway on indefinite loan in a ceremony at Kidderminster on 21 March 1997 by Richard Dykes, Managing Director of Royal Mail, and Ed Burkhardt, Chairman of EWS.[5]

Before the opening of the Engine House in 2008, 80300 was used as the visitor centre at Highley. This visitor centre was officially opened on 2 June 2001.[6]

As of 2019, 80300 is on long term display at The Engine House with the interior accessible to the public. The ‘postal special’ featured in the 1936 GPO film ‘Night Mail’, noted for the poem written by WH Auden and music by Benjamin Britten. Part of this film can be seen in the TPO at Highley.

See also


  2. 2.02.1 SVR Stock Book 9th Edition
  3. Longworth (2013) p.182.
  4. Information displayed in the coach
  5. SVR News 122
  6. SVR News 137