Sunday, March 04, 2018

Mail Rail

View down the tunnel

What do you buy for a man who has everything?

No idea, but for my Dad's birthday, I decided a day out in London would be a nice idea. Once booked, an e-mail reminded me about Mail Rail, part of the Post Office museum. 20 minutes later, we were booked on the last train of the day. 

Finding the place isn't that easy - it's under Mount Pleasant sorting office, but that's only a landmark if you know what it is. About 10 minutes walk from St Pancras station if it helps. 

Descending into the depths, we were greeted by friendly staff and had time to look around the display of old equipment. The entire story of the PO's underground railway is explained from early pneumatic trains to the more modern electric versions. There's lots of well-displayed machinery and the explanations are clear but not dumbed down. 

The highlight of course, is a ride on the system itself. 

Mail Rail tube train

The battery powered trains are new, and tiny. The main tunnels are only 9ft in diameter so my head was against the roof of the carriage.

The trip is 15 minutes long including some stops along the way at "stations" for short audio visual presentations. These were unexpected and very much aimed at the non-enthusiast, but very well done nonetheless.

Visiting the Post Office Railway is a bit of a dream come true for me. OK, it's no longer "real" but I'll take this as a very good second best. We both loved it and want to go again.

I've put a short video up on YouTube.

There are more photos on Flickr

More details on the official website. 

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