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I'm Keir Whitaker — I work in the Offline Marketing team at Shopify. You can my read latest blog posts, find out more about me & listen to the web industry podcast I co–host. You'll also find me on Twitter and Instagram.


London's Mail Rail Network

Mail Train
The Royal Mail's Mail Rail

Perhaps it’s a sign of ageing but I seem to becoming more interested in planes, trains and BBC2 documentaries — happily they occasionally coincide. Such was the case last week when I was catching up on a few episodes of Great British Railway Journeys on iPlayer. In this particular episode presenter Michael Portillo was privileged enough to descend underground for a visit to the now disused London Mail Rail. I have always been fascinated by underground networks and this is no exception.

It’s been out of service since 2003 and was closed as it was apparently loosing the Post Office over £1 million pounds a day. It’s hard to believe that pneumatic powered driverless trains were sending mail across London since the 1930’s. Paddington to Whitechapel took around 14 minutes non-stop, I doubt above ground transit is so quick. Here are some stats about the network as taken from mailrail.co.uk:

You get a flavour for how it worked in this short video.

Further Reading

This article was published by Keir Whitaker on February 20, 2017 in the Transport category. You can view the blog archives, subscribe to RSS updates, and see a full list of my contributions to other publications. Articles are also availabe on Medium. Discuss this article with me by email.