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London’s abandoned, underground mail train

Craft & Design
London’s abandoned, underground mail train


London’s abandoned, underground mail train @ Silent UK – Urban & Underground Photography via io9.

Originally designed using a pneumatic system in 1855, after years of testing, tunnel construction and usage its limitation began to show. The Post Office who were already unhappy with its high running costs, coupled with the fact the scheme only shaved four minutes from the delivery time by road decided in 1874 that they would no longer use the line, the Pneumatic Despatch Company being dissolved as the tunnels were closed […] Even before the demise of the Pneumatic line, several plans had been put forward recommending a similar mail delivery system, most promoting usage of electrified lines […]

The line was eventually finished in 1927 with the first letter through the system running on February 1928 […] Although initially the system was a success, in its last years of service the line was continually [losing] money. On the 7th November 2002, Royal Mail announced the line had become uneconomical with losses of £1.2M a day and that they planned to close it should no alternate uses be found. This was to be the death of the Mail Rail with the line from Mount Pleasant to the Eastern Delivery Office closing on the 21st March 2003, the remaining section from the Western District Office to Mount Pleasant following on the 29th. Now it just sits there buried where light cannot reach, rusting away, the trains sleeping silently in and around the stations wanting to be used again. Sadly a dream which we all know will never come true.

This could be the coolest hackerspace in the world.

12 thoughts on “London’s abandoned, underground mail train

  1. Gregg says:

    Wow. It reminds me of the tunnel over in Brooklyn that was originally dug to extend, then Vanderbilt’s LIRR to CT.

    It was forced to close it because a fellow tycoon who did bad things to real estate felt it was a danger. Danger to his business probably.

    Of course that was never even finished.

    I believe there might be a few tunnels on our subway that are so finished but never used by the MTA.

  2. William Meyer says:

    Wow, abandoned metro tunnels really do look like the ones in Metro 2033.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Reminds me of the underground tunnel network in Chicago that flooded in 1992. London best not forget where these tubes are so they don’t drive a piling into one. See

  4. AndrewS says:

    “This could be the coolest hackerspace in the world.”

    Phillip Torrone must be stopped before he turns every available space into a hackerspace

    1. Anonymous says:

      the universe would make an excellent hacker space :)

  5. Anonymous says:

    It’ll never happen as the tunnel also linked to Homeland Security features (or at least, the UK equivalent). Back in the late 60s when they put the Victoria tube line in, it was noticed it occasionally twisted to meet other features, and the track of the Jubilee was accurately predicted on that basis.

    It does however feature in Neverwhere, a series which went where Mad Max never dared.

    The operational tube Central Line in the East End actually had one of those surreal moments about fifteen years back, when a pile operator couldn’t understand why his drill slowed, suddenly advanced, and then went twang. He hit the tunnel wall, went through, and then a tube driver had the fright of his life.

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