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Maniac

UK The Post Office Railway (Mail Rail) - London - 2015

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This was another one of those what the fuck just happened moments in my life. 

 

So I was on my way back from (not so) sunny South Wales with @The_Raw @extreme_ironing and @sentinel after visiting @Lenston when I got a call from a very excited @Frosty. "Mail Rail is doable." I know by now if he says something is possible then he's normally right. We had looked at ways into the network on many many occasions, each time being thwarted at the 11th hour by something so this was high on our list and deserved all our attention. 

 

Initially like a fool I passed on this trip. Well I was supposed to be at work early the next day and I was, for want of a better word, fucked. An enthusiastic night out drinking the night before had definitely taken it's toll. However on my home to sunny(er) Kent after dropping some people off in London, I realised what an immense idiot I was being and 4 hours later found myself back where I had just been with the people I had just been with (minus @sentinel who was sleeping off his weekend) emerging into the gloomy depths of the abandoned tunnels. It was an insane day.

 

The Post office Railway (or Mail rail as it became known) is for many considered the 'holy grail' of exploration, especially in London. I can understand why, you've got an entire abandoned miniature underground railway complete with stations, rolling stock, miles of tunnel and the powers still on. It's pretty cool. You can walk for miles under London's streets and not really know where you are and it's also not that easy to access.

 

It was constructed in the early part of the 20th century to link together some of the main London sorting offices and alleviate delays that occurred in moving mail around London on the surface. Construction started in 1915, but was suspended just over a year later due to labour shortages. The line was eventually completed and became available for use during 1927 and was in service from February 1928 onward. 

 

I could go into the detailed history of the railway and it's design, but I'd be writing for ages and there's plenty online about it if you want to do some research. Needless to say that by the early 2000's the system was in need of major investment to keep it working efficiently and now only had 3 stations out of the original 7 due to relocation of the sorting offices above. In 2003 the railway was officially mothballed, but has more-or-less been totally abandoned. It would take a significant injection of cash to even think about bringing it back into service and there wouldn't be much point as there's now only 2 live sorting offices located on the route, pity. 

 

In October 2013 the British postal museum announced plans to open part of the network to the public and indeed this is pressing ahead. In the coming years it will be possible to visit the station and workshops at Mount Pleasant and (apparently) go on a short train ride round one of the loops. I'm actually pleased at least part of the system is being preserved because it is a unique place and deserves it's place in history. I just hope they do a good job and don't make it too gimmicky. 

 

What you see here is only a small section of the line from Rathbone place to Mount Pleasant. I needed to get home so I left after we reached Mount Pleasant. Regretted it ever since because try thou we might we've not managed to get back in, but we have got oh so close (oh you have no idea!)
 

So on with some photos. It won't be anything you've not seen before, but here is my take on the Post Office Railway. 

 

Rathbone station is now a tad damp because of the building work going on above it. 

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Typical tunnel section twin tracks

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Before the stations, the twin tracks break into two smaller tunnels and split apart to go either side of the platform. 

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This was actually an abandoned tunnel to the original western district office which was re-located in 1958. The abandoned tunnel was used as a siding to store locomotives and wagons in. 

IMG_1371_zpsbi1widrm.jpg

 

Trains in tunnels

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Just before Mount Pleasant station, you have these massive doors, which I'm lead to believe are for flood protection. 

IMG_1409_zpsbqtxkip4.jpg

 

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Coming up to Mount Pleasant 

IMG_1413_zpspsyzeiht.jpg

 

 

IMG_1419_zpse37vaesn.jpg

 

And that's as far as I went. 

 

Thanks for Looking! 

 

Maniac. 

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wow! I can tell from the way you were writing this was really something awesome. Scrolling down and seeing the pics I can see that for myself. Well done boys, another corker! :thumb 

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Brilliant pics Mike and worth pointing out to others that some of these were in pitch darkness. Possibly the best night's exploring I've ever had and feel privileged to have been involved, took me about a week to come down from this. Never noticed that 'Welcome to Jolly M.P.' scribble on the floodgate (Mount Pleasant), that's cool :thumb 

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PMSL some of your comments, love it. 

 

It really is one of those places where you either need a substantial amount of time to invest into getting into it, or you just have to be in the right place at the right time. For us it was a bit of both. I can't confess to having found this route in, but it wasn't exactly a walk in, we still had to work at it to actually get in. :thumb

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Never thought I'd see the day this place popped up again after the certain 'shenanigans' down there a few years ago, it's still the only underground railway type place I'd ever want to see.

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1 hour ago, mookster said:

Never thought I'd see the day this place popped up again after the certain 'shenanigans' down there a few years ago, it's still the only underground railway type place I'd ever want to see.

 

I'm quite sure that it will have its day again at some point in the future. I all depends how bold one wants to be with access. ;-) 

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