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3rd February 2011

Longest stamp marks Viceroy Special 25th anniversary

The Philatelic Bureau of the Post and Telecommunication Ministry has issued five stamps including the longest ever stamp yesterday to mark 25 years of service of the Viceroy luxury coal powered steam train.

The 123mm long and 30mm wide stamp was issued at the Rambukkana Railway station under the patronage of Post and Telecommunication Minister Jeewan Kumaratunga and Transport Minister Kumara Welgama.

The Viceroy Special is the only coal powered steam locomotive still in operation with two air-conditioned compartments including 64 plush reclining seats and adjustable tables. The train has been utilised as a tourist attraction to offer visitors an enthralling experience of passenger transportation of the yester years, Transport Minister Welgama said.

The Minister said tourists would be keen to travel by Viceroy Special since only a few steam locomotives are in operation in the world.

Post and Telecommunications Minister Jeewan Kumaratunga said the stamps would be highly recognised by the stamp collectors and enthusiasts throughout the world giving significant publicity to the Sri Lanka's tourism sector. Sri Lanka Tourism Board Chairman Dr Nalaka Godahewa said the number of tourist arrivals has been on the rise since mid 2009 with the eradication of terrorism.

Accordingly, the tourist arrivals exceeded a significant milestone of 600,000 last year and the amount is expected to be around 700,000 this year.

by Dharma Sri Abeyratne - Daily News

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