28 August 2016 | 17 °C

Secret | By: M@

Mail Rail: Inside London's Post Office Tube Line

Mail Rail: Inside London's Post Office Tube Line
On the tracks at Mount Pleasant station.
On the tracks at Mount Pleasant station.
Remnants of the working station lie all around. Here, a decaying box of soap, each carrying the EIIR symbol, sits where it was left a decade ago.
Remnants of the working station lie all around. Here, a decaying box of soap, each carrying the EIIR symbol, sits where it was left a decade ago.
Tracks lead down from the maintenance depot into the running track.
Tracks lead down from the maintenance depot into the running track.
Inside the maintenance area for Mail Rail. The depot sits in picturesque dilapidation, with crumbling paint and rusty fittings. Tools and equipment are everywhere.
Inside the maintenance area for Mail Rail. The depot sits in picturesque dilapidation, with crumbling paint and rusty fittings. Tools and equipment are everywhere.
The driver must sit backwards to the journey direction.
The driver must sit backwards to the journey direction.
The passenger carriage carries the monograms of several monarchs. It can seat 18 passengers.
The passenger carriage carries the monograms of several monarchs. It can seat 18 passengers.
One tunnel carries mosaics depicting the 12 Days of Christmas, painted for a festive party that took place in the tunnels a few years ago. (Apologies for the poor shot...there was little scope for photography on the moving train.)
One tunnel carries mosaics depicting the 12 Days of Christmas, painted for a festive party that took place in the tunnels a few years ago. (Apologies for the poor shot...there was little scope for photography on the moving train.)
A steel flood barrier protects the tunnels from inundation.
A steel flood barrier protects the tunnels from inundation.
The tunnel roof sports many concrete stalactites. These were by no means the longest.
The tunnel roof sports many concrete stalactites. These were by no means the longest.
A westbound tunnel.
A westbound tunnel.
Diagram showing the track layouts of Mail Rail and its stations.
Diagram showing the track layouts of Mail Rail and its stations.

Did you know that there's a tube station in north Clerkenwell? Well, sort of. Mount Pleasant is one of eight stations on the former London Post Office Railway, often called Mail Rail.

Mail Rail trains carried parcels between Paddington and Whitechapel from 1927 to 2003, when the line was mothballed to save money. Now, plans are afoot to reopen the Mount Pleasant station as an attraction. Visitors will not only get to walk around this fascinating piece of industrial heritage, they will also be able to take a ride through the tunnels that loop around Mount Pleasant.

The station is unlikely to open for a few years, but the first phase will see a new postal museum open in 2016 on the Mount Pleasant site.

We were granted access recently, to get an early preview of what to expect. We're working on a video of the trip but, for now, here are a few snaps of the tunnels, platforms and maintenance area.

More photos from Mail Rail here.

Last Updated 05 January 2016

David W

Envy oozes from every pore..

AustinTrippe

This Line is good for the Post Office Employees.
http://duplicell.net/

CanAmSteve

I had a tour of the Paddington Mail Rail location just before it closed. It seems a shame it cannot be repurposed, but I suppose maintenance alone is a large expense.

I was told at the time that most mail vans travelled at night when London traffic was not really much of a problem. If that's the case, there is scope to move much commercial traffic (deliveries especially) to evening hours as well.

Budgie Sargent

Given the extensive network this covers, why on earth not revamp the lines as a delivery network for shops, bars, restaurants above it? This would hugely reduce the road- borne load, reduce congestion, emissions, etc, etc. come to that, the regular tube lines could easily serve the same function during silent hours.