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Valira Torrent:   Contents | Subject index


Perforation image from Serif Art Gallery. © Serif Inc, 1996

Valira Torrent - bulletin of the Andorran Philatelic Study Circle. Issue 41, pp11-14 (Apr 1995).

Copyright notice

Postal History of Lérida

by Alec Jacques

In 1878, at the UPU Congress meeting in Paris, Andorra was officially allocated to Spain for postal purposes. Mail to and from Andorra, via Spain, came under the auspices of the Lérida Postal Administration. But what was the framework of this Administration? I have recently been able to study the book "Geografia Postal de España" (7th edition) by José Moreno Pineda, dated 1909. This gives an insight to the regular routes, deliveries, travelling post offices (ambulantes) pertaining to the Province at this time - it is quite probable that these details would be correct for many years, both before and after 1909. I have translated (to the best of my ability) some of the more relevant portions of this book, and the map provided should help members to follow the various routes etc.

Andorra

This is a small independent Republic and is situated on the Spanish slope of the Pyrenees, between the French Department of Ariège and the Province of Lérida. Its area is 452 square kilometres and it has a population of 6000 people.

Andorra is divided into six communities or parishes and has 40 villages. The people are of the Catholic religion and speak the Catalan dialect.

The sovereignity of this Republic is exercised by the Bishop of Seo de Urgel and the Prefect of the Ariège Départment as Co-Princes. The capital is Andorra la Vieja.

Lérida

Location It is in the north of the Peninsula adjoining France.
Boundaries to the north - France and Andorra; to the north east - Gerona; to the east Barcelona; to the south - Tarragona; to the south east - Zaragoza; and to the west - Huesca (note - Barcelona, Tarragona etc are the names of Provinces)
Communications with Madrid - by Travelling Post Office (TPO): Zaragoza - Barcelona, and Barcelona - Madrid
with Gerona - by TPO: Zaragoza - Barcelona, and Barcelona - Port Bou
with Barcelona - by TPO: Zaragoza - Barcelona
with Tarragona - by TPO: Lérida - Tarragona
with Zaragoza - by TPO: Barcelona - Zaragoza
with Huesca - by TPO: Barcelona - Zaragoza, and Tardienta - Jaca
Capital Lérida
Area 12,150 square kilometres
Population 274,590 inhabitants (22 per square kilometre)
Rivers Segre, Noguera-Pallaresa
Railways Zaragoza - Barcelona; Lérida - Tarragona; Mollerusa - Balaguer
(Note - more details of the railways, TPO's and the places served by these, will be found in the section headed 'TPO')
Important Offices Artesa de Segre, Balaguer, Cervera, Gerri, Lérida, Les, Oliana, Orgañá, Pobla de Segur, Pons, Seo de Urgel, Solsona, Sort, Tárrega, Tremp and Viella.
Regular Routes From Lérida there are two:- 1) to Fraga (in Huesca Province); 2) to Flix (Tarragona Province) via Montolíu, Alfés, Alcanó, Grañena de las Garrigas, Granadella and Bobera.
From Florestá to Fulleda via Omellóns and Espluga Calva.
From Tárrega railway station to Artesa de Segre via Claravalls and Agramunt.
From Tárrega railway station to Banos de Ruicoup (in Tarragona Province) via Verdú.
From Balaguer there are two:- 1) to Pons via Cubells and Artesa de Segre; 2) to Ager via Avellanes and Fondepón.
From Artesa de Segre there are two:- 1) to Tremp via Aña, San Salvador de Toló; 2) to Santa Maria de Meyá via Alentorn and Vilanova de Meya.
From Tremp to Sort via Salas, Pobla de Segur and Gerri.
From Sort to Esterri de Aneu via Rialp, Llavorsi and Escaló.
Solsona is the terminus of the route from Manresa (in Barcelona Province)
From Les to Foix (twice daily)
At Seo de Urgel there are three:- 1) to Puigcerdá (in Gerona Province) via Arseguel, Puente de Bas, Montella and Bellver; 2) from Calaf (Barcelona Province) via Torá, Biosca, Sanahuja, Pons, Tiurana, Basella, Oliana, Coll de Nargó, Orgañá, Pla de San Tirs and Arfa; 3) to Arcabell and Andorra.

Travelling Post Offices (ambulantes)

Zaragoza - Barcelona Railway

Length - 366 kilometres. Stations - Zaragoza, San Juan de Mozarrifar, Villanueva de Gállego (Zaragoza Province) - Almudébar, Tardienta, Grañén, Poleñino, Sariñena, El Tormillo, Selgua, Monzón and Binéfar (Huesca Province) - Almacellas, Reymat, Lérida, Bell-Lloch, Mollerusa, Bellpuig, Anglesola, Tárrega, Cervera and San Guim de la Rabasa (Lérida Province) - Calaf, Rajadell, Manresa, San Vicente de Castellet, Monistrol, Vacarissas de Montserrat, Viladecaballs, Tarrasa, Sabadell, Sardanyola, Moncada and Barcelona (Barcelona Province).

At Lérida mail bags are exchanged for the town, for the two Regular Routes, and for transfer to the Lérida - Tarragona TPO.

At Mollerusa are made the exchanges for the Mollerusa - Balaguer TPO.

Certificado postmark of the Zaragoza - Barcelona TPO

At Tárrega the exchanges are made for the two Regular Routes, also the mail relating to Pons, Tiurana, Basella, Oliana, Peranola, Gabarra, Coll de Nargó, Orgañá, Figols, Aliña, Pla de San Tirs, Arfa, Seo de Urgel, Anserall, Arseguel, Arcabell, Andorra, Solden (Soldeu?) , Liors (Llors?) , Montelló, Civis, Ars, Puente de Bas and Bellver.

(the illustration is a typical TPO cancellation and usually found only on registered or declared value letters and packets).

Lérida - Tarragona Railway

Length - 103 kilometres. Stations - Lérida, Artesa de Lérida, Juneda, Borjas-Blancas, Floresta and Vinaixa (Lérida Province) Vimbodí, Espluga de Francolí, Montblanch, Vilaber, La Riba, Picamoixóns, Alcober, La Selva, Reus, Vilaseca and Tarragona (Province of Tarragona).

This TPO is manned by a postal worker from the Tarragonan Administration. There are three trains daily, one for mail and the other two are passenger and goods combined. It has links with the Zaragoza - Barcelona and Madrid - Barcelona TPO's.

Lérida - already described under Zaragoza - Barcelona TPO.
Florestá - Regular Route to Fulleda.

Mollerusa - Balaguer Railway

Length - 26 kilometres. Stations - Mollerusa, Palau de Anglesola, Poal, Bellvis, Termens, Vallfogona and Balaguer, all in Lérida Province.

There is one train daily and it is supervised by a postal official of the Lérida Administration at Balaguer. It has obvious links with the Zaragoza - Barcelona TPO at Mollerusa, and also picks up mail from the Lérida - Tarragona TPO put on at Lérida.

At Balaguer the mail is transferred, either to the two Regular Routes or to Os de Balaguer, Abellanes, Fondepón, Ager-Cubells, Vilanoa de Meya, Santa Maria de Meyá, Aña, San Salvador de Toló, Isona, Tremp, Guardia, Aneu, Salas, Pobla de Segur, Claverol, Ortoneda, Senterada, Sarroca de Vellera, Viú de Llevata, Pont de Suert, Lieps (Liesp?) , Durro, Baños de Caldas de Buhí, Gerri, Sort, Enviny, Llesuy, Rialp, Llavorsi, Escaló, Esterri de Aneu, Valencia de Aneu, Tredos, Salardú, Viella, Son, Jou, Esport (Espot?) and Les.

Acknowlegement

My sincere thanks go to Sr Josep Gelonch, who supplied the Postal book and several maps of Lérida; without his considerable help, the above article would not have been possible.

Note

More recent maps show no railway from Mollerusa to Termens. However, there is a line from Lérida to Pobla de Segur, incorporating the section from Termens to Balaguer. We currently lack information as to when the Mollerusa to Balaguer service ceased and whether any TPOs were established between Lérida and Pobla de Segur. Any information would be welcomed.

Map of Spain showing position of Lérida


Map of Lérida province
(Names shown in blue are mentioned in the text)
click on map for enlarged section
Complete map enlarged (146KB)

Map of Lérida province Enlarged map, North west section Enlarged map, North central section Enlarged map, North East section Enlarged map, West central section Enlarged map, Central section Enlarged map, East central section Enlarged map, South west section Enlarged map, NW section Enlarged map, NW section

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