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London Post Office Railway

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The Post Office Railway, also known as Mail Rail, is a narrow gauge driverless private underground railway in London built by the Post Office to move mail between sorting offices. It was in operation from 1927 to 2003, but is now being mothballed.

It runs east-west from Paddington in the west to Whitechapel in the east, a distance of six and a half miles (10.5 km). It has eight stations, but by 2003 only three of these were still in use, as the sorting offices above the others had been relocated.

A memo leaked in April 2003 revealed that the system would be closed and "mothballed" at the end of May. Royal Mail[?] had earlier said that it was five times more expensive than using road transport would be. The Communication Workers' Union[?] claimed the figure was closer to three times, and even this was due to a deliberate policy of running the system down and using it at one-third of its capacity. Despite a report by the Greater London Authority in support of the continued use of Mail Rail, the system was taken out of use in the early hours of May 31, 2003.

External links

  • Brief introduction to London Post Office Railway (http://www.karslake.co.uk/mailrail/html/home)
  • Detailed information on construction and operation. (http://mikes.railhistory.railfan.net/r023)
  • Royal Mail Factsheet (http://www.royalmailgroup.com/heritage/downloads/infosheet_12.pdf) (PDF format) dating from before mothballing.
  • Guardian article (http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,940742,00) on proposed mothballing.
  • GLA report (http://www.london.gov.uk/approot/assembly/reports/mailrail/mailrail.pdf) on the closure in PDF format.
  • This is Local London (http://www.thisislocallondon.co.uk/news/topstories/display.var.301893.0.final_delivery_for_mail_rail.php) news report on the closure.

See also

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