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Author Topic: Post Office Railway (Mail Rail), past, present and future  (Read 17980 times)
grahame
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« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2014, 01:01:07 pm »

I had the privilege of going on a tour to see the railway when it was very active indeed in the 1980s; a real hidden world to see mail sorting at Mount Pleasant, to go down onto the platforms to see the trains coming in and out and being loaded and unloaded, and to see the control room.  Giant train set, indeed Wink .  It would certainly make an interesting tourist attraction if it wasn't too niche and all the health and safety issues associated with an unconventional railway (the Clifton Rocks folks have the same "new territory" issues) can be dealt with.
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bobm
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« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2014, 10:19:24 pm »

Another update from the BBC» (British Broadcasting Corporation - home page)

Quote
Plans approved to open Mail Rail 'secret Tube' as ride

Plans to open The London Post Office Railway - known to many as Mail Rail - as a tourist ride have been approved by Islington Council.

Visitors will be able to ride 0.6 miles (1km) of the tunnels under central London from 2020.

A new postal museum will open at Mount Pleasant, in central London, in 2016.

The British Postal Museum & Archive (BPMA) still needs to raise ^0.5m and plans to launch a public appeal later this year.

The team also expects a decision to be made in May on its application for ^4.5m funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Mail Rail was approved by an Act of Parliament a century ago, and during its heyday its driverless trains carried 12 million postal items daily on the line stretching from East End's Whitechapel to west London's Paddington.

In its prime, 220 people worked on the line, which runs beneath Oxford Street in central London - at one point within a few feet of the Bakerloo Line.

But by the 1990s, Royal Mail built a new hub in Willesden, west London, and by 2003, only three of eight Mail Rail stations still worked


Tourists would get on to a train in Mount Pleasant's depot and descend into the tunnels


The tunnels are narrower than Tube tunnels at just 7ft (2.1m) in diameter

That year, Royal Mail said the line cost five times as much as using roads and the network was mothballed.

Ray Middlesworth, who has worked as an engineer in the tunnels for 27 years, said: "It's the holy grail for underground explorers - a hidden part of the rail network.

BPMA director Adrian Steel said: "It is a fantastic opportunity that Islington borough council has given us - the green light to open up these unique tunnels to the public and reveal the captivating story of Mail Rail."


Up to 220 people worked in the tunnels  The trains are 4ft (1.2m) high and 29ft (8.8m) long
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bignosemac
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« Reply #17 on: April 26, 2015, 02:47:40 pm »

From the IanVisits blog:

Quote
Post Office Railway orders new trains

The British Postal Museum & Archive has announced that transport engineering specialist Severn Lamb has been brought on board to develop and construct the train for the Mail Rail ride, opening as part of The Postal Museum in 2016.



The Mail Rail ride will let people take a trip through a small section of the post office railway tunnels, as part of the site visit.

Not unheard of, as there was an official people train for the postal railway, but that was reserved for special occasions, and apart from being a historic artifact in its own right, almost certainly wouldn^t pass H&S (Health and Safety) requirements today.

Severn Lamb has almost 70 years^ experience creating train rides for the leisure industry, largely abroad, with clients including Disneyland Paris and Drayton Manor Theme Park. They will be responsible for the creation of the train and associated ride system for the Mail Rail visitor attraction from design, through construction, to the completion of the project in 2016.
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grahame
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« Reply #18 on: November 01, 2015, 10:36:19 pm »

More photographs:

http://www.ianvisits.co.uk/blog/2015/11/01/photos-from-the-post-office-railway-tunnels/?
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grahame
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« Reply #19 on: December 31, 2016, 04:02:40 pm »

From Rail Magazine

Quote
London’s new underground railway attraction is one step closer to the finish line, after the Mail Rail trains made their first journeys through the tunnels in early December.

It is the first time in four decades that trains have been lowered into the tunnels through the original engineering shaft at Mount Pleasant, and run on the perfectly-preserved time capsule of a network.

The two bespoke trains were lowered into the tunnels, 70 feet under London, on October 24 (RAIL 815), following their arrival from manufacturer Severn Lamb

Since its closure in 2003, the railway (which runs from Whitechapel in East London to Paddington in the west) has been maintained by three Mail Rail engineers - they have looked after the narrow tunnels, which are just seven feet wide in some areas and containing stalactites.

It was initially planned that the new Postal Museum, incorporating a ride through the Mail Rail tunnels, would open in spring 2017. However, the Museum is now saying "mid-2017", with no specific launch date announced as yet.
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bignosemac
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« Reply #20 on: May 31, 2017, 01:13:30 am »

The new Postal Museum, including the chance to ride on Mail Rail, opens in July 2017 at Mount Pleasant, London.

https://postalmuseum.org/discover/attractions/mail-rail-ride/

BBC» (British Broadcasting Corporation - home page) video news item:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-40043215
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There is a rumour going around that I have found God. I think this is unlikely because I have enough difficulty finding my keys, and there is empirical evidence that they exist. - Sir Terry Pratchett
bobm
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« Reply #21 on: May 31, 2017, 01:36:21 am »

Saw that on the BBC» (British Broadcasting Corporation - home page) Travel Show over the weekend - one definitely on my To Do List.
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ChrisB
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« Reply #22 on: May 31, 2017, 09:06:43 am »

As a sleeper sponsor, I'm booked for a tour & ride on Saturday 8 July - and looking forward to it. I was lucky to get a trip when it was a working (or had just stopped being used, but was still in working orderI can't remember, but do remember needing to wear all the safety gear)
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SandTEngineer
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« Reply #23 on: May 31, 2017, 10:29:28 am »

Looks good.  Went on a technical visit to the railway back in the 1990s and the 1920s technology in use was really facinating.  Going to visit later this year as my Father-in-Law and Wifes Uncle were both posties there in the 1960s to 1980s.... Cheesy
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bobm
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« Reply #24 on: June 07, 2017, 10:16:41 am »

Now confirmed the Postal Museum will open on Friday 28th July according to an email I have received.

https://postalmuseum.org/ is very slow to load and yet to show the date - suspect a sudden surge of interest!
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ChrisB
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« Reply #25 on: June 07, 2017, 10:20:58 am »

Bookabke from June 28th I think, so no panic.

But I can see that site crashing on that day: doesn't seem to have the bandwidth available to it?
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paul7575
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« Reply #26 on: June 07, 2017, 10:37:24 am »

I wonder if there'll be First Class?

Being the Royal Mail, first class could get you round the short length they intend to operate in about 10 mins or so, but second class could shunt you into a siding for an extra few hours.  For added realism a few passengers could be lost in transit...  Grin

Paul
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ChrisB
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« Reply #27 on: June 07, 2017, 03:36:18 pm »

Bookabke from June 28th I think, so no panic.

But I can see that site crashing on that day: doesn't seem to have the bandwidth available to it?

Hmmm, incorrect date in their email this morning, now corrected.

So the advice offered is as follows (corrected)

Quote
We wanted to let you know first that from Friday 28 July 2017, you’ll be able to experience Mail Rail and The Postal Museum all for yourself.

We feel pretty fantastic about it. We hope you do too! 
 
How much are tickets?
 
Adult tickets will cost £16 inclusive of an optional £1.50 voluntary donation.

We'll be announcing all our ticket prices soon including child and group rates, along with an on-sale date. So keep an eye on your inbox! You'll be the first to hear! 
 
At The Postal Museum you’ll get to:
•Experience Mail Rail - a subterranean world that, up until now, has remained hidden from view
•Ride on a miniature train and go back in time to the railway's heyday
•Reveal curious stories in our interactive galleries, and see if you have what it takes to be a Mail Coach Guard or a Mail Rail Controller

If you are interested, I would suggest getting yourself on their e-newsletter list pronto.
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broadgage
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« Reply #28 on: June 07, 2017, 07:35:23 pm »

what, no restaurant ? and not even a buffet Sad
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A proper intercity train has a minimum of 8 coaches, gangwayed throughout, with first at one end, and a full sized buffet car between first and standard.
It has space for cycles, surfboards,luggage etc.
A 5 car DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit) is not a proper inter-city train. The 5+5 and 9 car DMUs are almost as bad.
Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #29 on: June 07, 2017, 08:15:38 pm »

I rather think that their whole operation is more akin to a trolley service, broadgage!  Wink Cheesy Grin

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