Israel. ATM issues 2018

2018. Trains in Israel

2018 sees Israel Post marking the 35th anniversary of the foundation of the Israel Railways Museum and dedicating its annual series of ATM designs to the history of the railways in the country.
The designs by Ronen Goldberg feature different types of locomotives that have been used throughout history, complemented by special postmarks and first day covers illustrated with images of railway stations.
In recent years, the state-owned Israel Railways has been immersed in an ambitious modernization programme, with the electrification of several lines and, in particular, the construction of a high-speed line between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, which could be inaugurated at the end of 2018.

As in the earlier annual issues, the first design introduces the series, with a composition including the image of a modern electric locomotive, and an older steam one.
This first design was only obtainable from January 1st 2018, and later on, from all aCon SPU STAMP postal kiosks. In some cases, the design will be used throughout the year, whilst in some machines it will only be used until the introduction of a new one.

The rolls of labels are manufactured, on self-adhesive paper with a flexo digital imprint, by Tadbick Ltd. The size of the label is 58 x 27 mm, with perforated vertical edges. 
The postal kiosk prints the machine code on the stamp (00001, used by the philatelic service) and the face value (NIS 2.50), in the upper right hand corner. The imprint is black and effected by thermal transfer

With the new postal rates in force in Israel from January 1st 2018, the six values ​​programmed in the aCon kiosks, on the date of issue, were NIS 2.50 (small face value = domestic postage rate) - 4.10 - 6.50 - 7.40 - 8.30 - 9.00.
The images below show the introduction dates of the new design in the ten aCon - Inbar postal kiosks in operation at different post offices across the country.

The first day cover is illustrated with two images showing the evolution of the railway network in this geographical zone, from the first line built in 1892 from Jaffa to Jerusalem to the present day network.

This design was also available from a kiosk installed temporarily at ISRAEL 2018 World Stamp Championship, with the special code 01803 (see article, also published in VARIABLE 49).

The second design is dedicated to 'The Valley Railway', a railway line built during the Ottoman period running from the port of Jaffa to Dera'a (part of Syria today), and a branch of the Hedjaz Railway. The railway line was inaugurated in 1905 and regular services operated until 1948.
In 2011, Israel Railway started the construction of a new line on the same route, which was inaugurated in October 2016.

The image shows an historic picture of the steam locomotive 2-8-2, number 265, featured in the issue, pulling a passenger train.
This locomotive was built by the Sächsische Maschinenfabrik Richard Hartmann, in Chemnitz, in 1918 (work number 4034), and was the last engine acquired for the Hedjaz Railway; the regular railway line that ran from Damascus to Medina.

This design was available, from February 6th 2018, from postal kiosk 00714, installed in the Haifa post office and also from the machine used by the philatelic service (code 00001).

The cover features a 1913 photo of the East Haifa railway station, built in 1904 by the Ottoman authorities as the western terminus station of the 'Valley Railway'.

The third design of the series is dedicated to the steam locomotives.
Israel Railways used more than 40 steam locomotives since the creation of the company, in 1948, until the acquisition of the new diesel locomotives (next issue) at the start 1954.
All these steam locomotives were taken over from the former Palestine Railways.

One of the few preserved steam locomotives is exhibited in the Beersheba Turkish Railway station, an historical station built in 1915 during Ottoman rule and declared a National Historic Site in 1991 having been renovated in 2013 as a museum.
The steam locomotive 2-8-0 was built by the North British Locomotive Works in 1940, work number 24641, and used by the Turkish Republic Railways (TCDD) from 1941 with the number 45166. In Beer-Sheva, the locomotive was numbered 70414, in recognition of the engine featured in a popular Hebrew song and film of the 1950s.

As with the previous issue, the 'Steam locomotives' design was available, from April 9th 2018, with two different codes, 00001, belonging to the philatelic service, and 00220, the code of the postal kiosk installed in the Beer-Sheva branch.

The first day cover features a photo of the older Beer-Sheva North railway station, inaugurated in March 1956.
This was the only train station of the city, until the construction of the new central station, opened in 2000, and the new North station, in 2005.

Following on from the series commemorating the history of the railways in Israel, the fourth design is dedicated to the diesel locomotive numbered 1307.

With most of the 1,000 km. of lines across the country not being electrified, all locomotives used by Israel Railways since 1954 are diesel.

Between 2011 and 2013, Israel Railways acquired a total of 24 Vossloh Euro diesel locomotives, numbered from 1301 to 1324. These locomotives were manufactured by Vossloh España, which in 2015 was acquired by the Swiss company Stadler Rail AG.
The ATM design shows the diesel locomotive Vossloh Euro 3200, with the number 2647, subsequently renumbered 1307 by Israel Railways.

The 'Diesel locomotive' design was available, from May 27th 2018, with two different codes, 00001, pertaining to the philatelic service, and 00450, the code of the postal kiosk installed in Tel Aviv.

The date of issue coincided with the inauguration of Israel 2018, the philatelic exhibition held in Jerusalem (see next article).
Israel Post decided to temporarily move the kiosk installed in the Derech Hahagana street post office, in Tel Aviv (images), to the exhibition. With no other kiosk in Tel Aviv to cover the new issue, they had to move the only remaining kiosk in the region, (installed in the Netanya post office), to the Tel Aviv branch, where it was renumbered with the usual code of this post office, 00450.

The first day cover features a photo of the Tel Aviv Hashalom railway station.
Inaugurated in 1996, it is located in the center of the city, and is one of the busiest stations in the country.

The final issue in the 2018 Israel Post series of designs dedicated to the history of the railways in Israel depicts the new electric locomotives. A very appropriate release, as in September 2018 Israel Railways inaugurated the first electric railway line, operating between the cities of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
The design shows the Traxx 3003 electric locomotive pulling a set of double-decker coaches, both manufactured by the Bombardier company.

The new design was available, from August 28th 2018, from the back office equipment in use by the philatelic service (code 00001), and at the postal kiosk 00101, installed in the Jaffa Street post office, in Jerusalem.

The first day cover features a photo of the new Jerusalem Yitzhak Navon railway station.
Opened in September 2018, it is the eastern terminus of the Tel Aviv - Jerusalem railway. The construction began in 2007 and, with the platforms at 80 metres below the surface, it is one of the world's deepest passenger stations.

Every year since 2009, Israel Post has produced a nice souvenir leaflet or special folder with all the ATM issues presented together with their respective first day postmarks.
In 2018, the series was dedicated to the history of the railway and the folder commemorates the enormous effort made in the last 30 years by the Israeli government to modernize the country's rail system; especially the passenger lines. In fact, the annual number of passengers has risen from 2.5 million in 1990 to nearly 70 million in 2018.
The folder contains six stamps with the first design appearing on the cover, together with the commemorative postmark of the inauguration of the first electric railway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem (right image and below). Inside the folder, there are the five issues with their corresponding special postmarks, as well as informative texts on each design.


Since May 1998, Israel has hosted a world philatelic exhibition every 10 years. After Israel 1998 and Israel 2008, both held in Tel Aviv (see article, also published in VARIABLE 9), the World Stamp Championship Israel 2018 was held from May 27th to 31st at the Binyanei Hauma ICC - International Convention Center in Jerusalem.

The exhibition commemorated the 70th anniversary of the independence of Israel and the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem. It was organized by the Israel Philatelic Federation and Israel Post, through the philatelic service.

About 250 collections from around the world participated in the championship and were exhibited in about 1,000 frames. Among them was one dedicated to the 'Variable rate stamps' of France (image), and two specialized in ATMs of Taiwan; the 'Black Bear' design and the Unisys issues.

The commercial fair brought together a score of international philatelic companies and some local dealers.
The organizers scheduled visits and numerous activities which attracted a large number of visitors, including many families with children.

For its part, Israel Post had set up a large commercial stand where visitors could purchase the numerous philatelic products released for the event, and postmark their pieces with the dozens of available postmarks.
As far as our field of study is concerned, Israel Post released two new ATM issues and a sheet of Maor type variable value stamps especially for the exhibition.

The commemorative issue of the World Stamp Championship Israel 2018 is a design by Ronen Goldberg. The composition features the exhibition logo and two elements symbolizing Jerusalem past and present; the walls surrounding the old city with the Tower of David and, directly related to the annual series of ATM issues, the modern light railway that runs through the city, in operation since 2011.

This design could be obtained with the philatelic service code 00001 and also with the special code 01801, issued by the kiosk temporarily installed at the exhibition (see next section).
The rolls of labels were manufactured, on self-adhesive paper with a flexo digital imprint, by Tadbick Ltd.

Detail of the exhibition general postmark, and first day cover

The second special issue, also designed by Ronen Goldberg, commemorates the 70th anniversary of Israel's independence.
As with the first design, this one could also be obtained with the philatelic service code 00001 and with the special code 01802, issued by yet another kiosk temporarily installed at the exhibition (see next section).

Detail of the postmark and first day cover

As was done two years ago during the Jerusalem 2016 Multinational Stamp Exhibition (see article, also published in VARIABLE 43), Israel Post temporarily installed three aCon SPU Stamps postal kiosks at the main entrance to the exhibition.

These machines had been temporarily moved from the Rishon LeZion, Ashdod and Tel Aviv post offices, and renumbered during the exhibition with the special codes 01801, 01802 and 01803, respectively.

The kiosks 01801 and 01802 issued stamps with the special designs 'World Stamp Championship Israel 2018' and "Israel - 70 years of Independence", while the 01803 machine issued stamps with the first design in the 'Trains of Israel' series.

These postal kiosks have a main menu offering variable value stamps with the six main postage rates, two for domestic mail and four for international mail, plus a 'Six label Set', or special collectors set consisting of the six values.
Payment is only possible with coins and/or banknotes.

The images below show stamps with the basic value of domestic mail together with the receipts issued during the exhibition. As can be seen, two machines issued receipts with the wrong dates.

First day cover with the three ATMs obtained during the exhibition.
Below, exhibition souvenir leaf, with one ATM and first day postmark

ISRAEL 2018 - MAOR stamps

In addition to the two special ATM issues for this event, Israel Post also put on sale a special edition of sheets of variable value stamps for immediate use, called Maor.

The sheets includes ten labels with five different designs, arranged in two inverted columns of five labels. On the right of the label there is an area for the stamp information imprint, with a pale background depicting the Menorah, the national emblem of Israel. The illustrations show different Israeli symbols; the Menorah as a national emblem, the logo of the 70 years of independence, the flag of Israel, and the logos of the 50 years of the reunification of Jerusalem and the exhibition. The design is by Meir Eshel.
The self-adhesive sheets were manufactured by Tadbick Ltd., and the size is 181 x 230 mm.

Israel Post produced sheets with all of the stamps printed with the current basic domestic postage rate (right image), as well as sheets with ten different postage rates, all printed prior to the exhibition.

The five days of the exhibition were each dedicated to a daily theme; 'Israel 70 Years Day', 'Innovation in Israel Day', 'A salute to the IDF Day', 'Comics in Israel Day' and 'Jerusalem Day'. Israel Post prepared special postmarks and printed sheets of Maor type stamps for each of these days.

Maximum card and first day cover with one of the Maor type stamps.

2018. Season's Greetings from the Holy Land

The 2018 Christmas issue is a composition by the designer Anis Kadis, which brings together various symbolic Christmas elements surrounding the manger, such as snow, trees and the star.

The rolls of labels were manufactured, on self-adhesive paper with a flexo digital imprint, by Tadbick Ltd.

Israel Post launched the seasonal issue on November 25th 2018. Like earlier Christmas releases, this design could be obtained with three different codes - 00001 printed by the back office equipment used by the philatelic service, plus codes 00101 and 00987 for the aCon SPU STAMP postal kiosks installed at the Jerusalem and Nazareth main post offices, respectively.

Detail of the special postmark, and pictorial first day cover

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This page was created in March 2018 and last updated:  19.04.19 . English edition last rewritten by J. Gareze (19.04.2019)