Post Office Railway
The Post Office Railway
Opened in 1927, the Post Office Railway was designed to transport mail (underground) between selected London sorting offices and key mainline railway stations. The system suited the Royal Mail's methods of operation until the turn of the century when relocation and greater mechanisation of sorting offices ultimately led to its closure in 2003.








Scan: PO Green Paper No.36A
| EXIT | Mail Rail - The Post Office Railway | 50th Anniversary | Links | References |
| EXIT GPO | At Amberley | At the BPMA | At TPM |
Overview

A unique railway, under the streets of London, carrying the mail at speed... Sadly the railway was mothballed in 2003 and no longer speeds the mail, but remnants of it can be discovered at various museums throughout the UK. In 2017, the Postal Heritage Trust leased a section of track at the former maintenance depot of Mount Pleasant, to operate a fascinating new train ride attraction for old and young alike.

Map  
Map
Map of Post Office Railway route.



Photo: Map of Post Office Railway. © PO Green Paper No.36A.
Rolling Stock  
Rolling Stock
Rolling stock...




Photo: An original green engine on display at TPM's Mail Rail © Light Straw Archive July 2017.
At Amberley
MailRail at Amberley
A motive unit (engine) of the former Post Office Railway. The two foot gauge railway ran from Paddington to Whitechapel powered by 440V d.c. stepped down and rectified from an 11kV a.c. supply from National Grid.





Photo: Mail Rail static display at Amberley © Light Straw Archive, April 2010.
   
At the BPMA Debden
MailRail at Debden
After the closure of Mail Rail, the British Postal Museum and Archive (now named TPM) sought to conserve and display engines and rolling stock, so that the story of the transportation of mail under London could be told to future generations.

 


Photo: Mail Rail at the BPMA Debden Store © Light Straw Archive, September 2012.
50th Anniversary (1977)
50th Anniversary of the Post Office Railway (1997)
The 50th anniversary of the Post Office Railway (1927-1977) was commemorated by a First Day Cover issue.

Circa 1982, the old motive units and trailers were replaced with 34 new trains. It became Mail Rail on the service's 60th anniversary (1987).

On 30th May 2003 - Mail Rail ceased operation and was mothballed.


Scan: First Day Stamp cover.
   
Mail Rail at TPM
Mail Rail at TPM
Mail Rail re-opened on 28th July 2017 as a unique visitor experience and ride, within the Mount Pleasant complex.

 


Photo: Mail Rail at The Postal Museum, Mount Pleasant complex © Light Straw Archive, July 2017.
   
Links

Mailrail.co.uk is an unofficial site, but packed with information and photos. Recommended...
Mail Rail
   
And on Mike's Railway History pages you'll find an interesting article The Post Office Tube which details, the little known underground railway.

References

Post Office Green Paper Number 36: Post Office (London) Railway by Major W.G. Carter, M.C. Assistant Controller, London Postal Region.

Design, images and text compiled by © Light-Straw. Page last updated 25th July 2017.

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