Pneumatic Railway-Station Correspondence

Back to main narrative The Vogel-Fukarek List of BAHNHOF numbers. A Postbüchel reference

The introduction of "Pneumatic Railway-Station Correspondence" was announced on 7th February 1883 (the decree is in the full Vogel-Fukarek linked-to below) and made available from 1st July that year. It helped to ensure the viability of the system: everybody could now hand in pneumatic letters or cards at Viennese post or pneumatic offices, which were addressed to addressees outside Vienna. They received a boxed xx BAHNHOF cachet (xx is their office number in the relevant list - see below) and were pneumatically transported to the appropriate office, then by express messengers to the station and directly to the waiting mail train. The item required both pneumatic (for the journey to the station) and normal (for the rest of the journey) franking, and of course it had to be capable of pneumatic transmission. The supplementary franking produces the first occurrence of pneumatic post cancellations on postage stamps. The back of some letter-cards carries the instructions for Pneumatic Railway-Station Correspondence:


Pneumatic letter-cards, which for onward transmission by the Post outside Vienna's local postal district are forwarded as "Railway-Station Correspondence" to Vienna's railway stations, are to have the requisite franking applied by postage stamps affixed next to the imprinted value-indicator. The pneumatic trains depart every 20 minutes from 8am to 9pm.

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Unused letter-card, front and back
1885? Franked with 20h imprint (at bottom left) + 5h surface to Mannheim (Germany so inland rate).Imprint cancelled at Centrale; item sent pneumatically to Fünfhaus Schonbrunnstrasse and cancelled there; taken by messenger to Westbahnhof where the added adhesive was cancelled.
1886. Franked with 20h imprint (at bottom left) + 10h surface to London. This time both imprint and adhesive were cancelled at Centrale, before forwarding via pneumatic to Fünfhaus and messenger to Westbahnhof; cancelled at both places.
1888. Franked with 15h imprint (at top right) + 5h surface to Munich (Germany so inland rate).Imprint cancelled at Centrale; item sent pneumatically to Fünfhaus and cancelled there; taken by messenger to Westbahnhof where the added adhesive was cancelled.
21.2.1888. Letter from WIEN Telegraph Central (??)to Fünfhaus Schonbrunnerstrasse. Handwritten at top is 'per Westbahnhof Zug 8 Uhr 15'. Sent to Frankfurt a/M! Why, one asks, was it not sent to Westbahnhof? And why is there a blue crayon 13? The clue is the date: the pneumatic station at Westbahnhof didn't open till 1889, and the Great Renumbering was in 1890; before that Funfhaus's number was 13. No 'BAHNHOF' cachet.
1890. Franked with 15h imprint (at top right) + 3h and 2h = 5h surface to Prague. Imprint and stamps cancelled at Centrale who also applied the boxed 1 BAHNHOF; item sent pneumatically to Taborstrasse and cancelled there; taken by messenger to Nordwestbahnhof.
13.6.1890. Telegraphencentrale via Westbahnhof to Frankfurt. 15Kr pneumatic + 5Kr letter post (inland rate). Boxed 1 BAHNHOF; chiffre 20, the pre-1892 number for Westbahnhof.
25.3.1891. Fleischmarkt via Westbahnhof to Munich. 15Kr pneumatic + 5Kr letter post (inland rate). Boxed 2 BAHNHOF; chiffre 20.
14.11.1891. 10Kr pneumatic + 2Kr post (inland rate) card from Station XVI (Wien 71, Lazarethgasse) to Germany: "pneumatisch zur Westbahnhof" at top. Boxed 16 BAHNHOF; chiffre 20.
26.5.1893. Letter from WIEN 1/1 ? to WIEN 2/1 23 to Nordbahnhof for the Olmutz train. Boxed 1 BAHNHOF; chiffre 23 which is Leopoldstadt - Nordbahnhof was 28 but its pneumatic service didn't start until 1.12.1893. Franked 15Kr imprint plus 5Kr.
21.12.1893. Imprint nicely cancelled WIEN 18/1 110r (Währing) at 8:10am; addressed to Aussig "Via Postamt Nordwestbahnhof"; 5Kr supplementary franking. Boxed 17 BAHNHOF 17; chiffre 24 is the new number for Nordwestbahnhof.
22.9.1898. 15Kr pneu + 5Kr letter post (inland rate) from Wien 2/4 P (Produktenbörse) via Station 101 (Westbahnhof) to Munich. Boxed 36 BAHNHOF; chiffre 101.
9.9.1937. The use of the pneumatic system to transfer mail speedily to a railway station continued until the demise of the system. This example is an express letter sent by surface mail from Vienna to London, arriving 11.9.1937. It carries 60+60+45+12+3 ie 180 groschen. Stamps cancelled 1 WIEN 8. Blue 101 on front (ie Westbahnhof) plus blue vertical line plus boxed EXPRESS MAIL in English not German. Faint red mark which could be a 2- or 3-digit number. On back 1 WIEN 101 with time in minutes; T Z S T with ditto, London arrival. No trace of air mailing; surface letter rate of 60 groschen for 20 gram plus express surcharge 120gro makes 180gro.

According to Hajek, WIEN 8 ceased pneumatic service in 1921. It was located at the corner of Werdertorgasse nearest to Börseplatz, from which you can look across the garden and see the Central Telegraph Office; this item could easily have been taken there by messenger. There it was stamped T Z S T and despatched to Westbahnhof to catch the next mail train. No 'BAHNHOF' cachet; chiffre 101.
12.20.1938. 10Rpf pneumatic charge + 10Rpf foreign postcard rate to Brno in Czechoslovakia. Cancelled at Wien 72 (Alsergrund III) and passed to Wien 73 which by then was operating from the Lazarettgasse 6 premises of Wien 71. The cancel is described at Miscellaneous Cancels Nr X-10. Routed via Centrale, hence the red 1.

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The Vogel-Fukarek List of BAHNHOF numbers.

Reproduced by kind permission of Herrn Bernd Vogel & Michael Fukarek

The 4 March 2015 edition of their article and list is here.

The table below shows all the pneumatic offices for which a BAHNHOF number has been seen; the others may well have been issued with an equivalent cachet but specimens haven’t survived. In addition, the railway stations are listed, to emphasise the point that when Railway Station Letters were introduced, NO railway station had a pneumatic station! Items were perforce sent to the nearest pneumatic office, which was:

NordbahnhofWien 23, Taborstrasse [chiffre 9]
Nordwestbahnhof
SüdbahnhofWien 50, Neumanngasse [4]
Staatsbahnhof
WestbahnhofSchönbrunnerstrasse [13]
AspangbahnhofWien 40, Landstr-Hauptstr [40]
Franz Josef BahnhofTelegraphen Centrale [CR or 1]

The columns of the table contain:

  1. Pneumatic Office number, before the 1892 renumbering
  2. Pneumatic Office number, following the 1892 renumbering
  3. BAHNHOF number
  4. Aliases and addresses; see List of Offices for full details
  5. Service began

"KKPS" = "K. K. Pneumatische Station No"

Nr 1Nr 2BHOF(Some) addressesBegan
1CR, Z, W1KKPS 1 Telegrafen-Centrale, Börseplatz 11875
222KKPS 2 T.St. Fleischmarkt 191875
878; nilKKPS 8 [Effekten]Börse, Schottenring 16 [cachet occurs with no '8']1875
 8--P.A. Franz Josef Quai, Wien 81911
 1111Bräunerstrasse1902
 1313Bräunerstrasse, Wien 131894
3153KKPS 3 T.St. Kärntnerring 3, Wien 151875
9239KKPS 9 P.A. Leopoldstadt, Wien 23 Taborstrasse 271875
 24--P.A. Nordwestbahnhof, Wien 241893
 2727P.A. Praterstrasse, Wien 27, Praterstrasse 548/7/1894
 28--P.A. Nordbahnhof, Wien 281/12/1893
11-36Fruchtbörse (in Schottenring 19)1879
 3623Productenbörse; Wien 36, Taborstrasse 10 [cachet is BAHNHOF23]1890
104010KKPS 10, P.A. Landstrasse, Wien 401875
 4141P.A. Aspangbahnhof, Wien 4129/12/1894
 4949P.A. Marokkanergasse, Wien 4915/9/1895
4504KKPS 4, P.A. Wieden, Wien 50; Neumanngasse 31875
 5454P.A. Margarethen, Wien 541/12/1894
5575KKPS 5, Pneu Stat Gumpendorf, Wien 571875
126012KKPS Zieglergasse, P.A. Neubau, Wien 601880
6626?KKPS 6, P.A. Neubau II, Wien 621875
 6363P.A. Bernardgasse, Wien 631892
7647KKPS 7, P.A. Josefstadt, Wien 641875
 66AP.A. Alsergrund 1, Wien 661892
 6868P.A. Franz Josef Bahnhof; Wien 681893
167116KKPS XVI, P.A. Lazarettgasse ; Wien 711886
 76--P.A. Südbahnhof, Wien 7610/10/1893
 77--P.A. Staatsbahnhof, P.A. Ostbahnhof, Wien 7710/10/1893
1310013KKPS Fünfhaus, P.A. Fünfhaus; Wien 100, Schönbrunnerstrasse 421880
20101--P.A. Westbahnhof, Wien 1011889
18-1810518P.A. Hernals, Wien 105 [cachet is 18BAHNHOF18]1887
17-1711017P.A. Währing; Wien 110 [cachet is 17BAHNHOF17]1887

A Postbüchel reference

"Postbücheln" have been mentioned in the Service Development section. One from 1937 contains a brief mention of the Railway Station Letter service and the 10 groschen fee:


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