February 20, 2017
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.