The London Postal Museum is relaunching one of the underground trains that used to transport the city’s mail. A railway network that carried up to four million letters every day.
In the early 20th century, it was not easy to travel through the streets of London, and the crowds of people and vehicles obstructed the distribution of the mail. In light of this situation, in 1911 the management of the Royal Mail, Great Britain’s postal service, came up with the idea of creating an underground rail network to link up all the main post offices in the city. However, even though the project was quickly approved, the outbreak of the First World War temporarily suspended its construction. Finally, in 1927, the transport service was now fully functioning. The Post Office Railway (better known as the “Mail Rail”) operated through a system of driverless, electric-powered trains that ran between a total of nine stations, with a frequency of 40 trains passing through them every hour. For example, a train that travelled from Paddington Post Office to the one in Whitechapel took approximately 10 minutes. The service was in operation until 2003, when it finally closed down.
The history of the Mail Rail was forgotten until The Londonist devoted a video report to it in 2016. In addition to informing viewers about the important work carried out by the service for 75 years, the report also announced the reopening of the Mount Pleasant line. This was partly a result of the recent opening of The Postal Museum, which by the way now stands in what used to be an old Post Office.
And so, The Postal Museum has announced that as from 4th September this year, people will be able to visit this section of the railway network. Visitors will be able to take the 10-minute journey that used to carry the mail sacks departing from the sorting office at Mount Pleasant. The train has been adapted for passengers, and has also been fitted with screens that relate the history of the Mail Rail.