A subterranean railway once whizzed four million letters a day across London. The public were oblivious to it but will soon be able to ride it, as it forms the centrepiece of the new Postal Museum
‘Mail Rail was like having your own giant train set to run.” The words are those of Ray Middlesworth, one of the last engineers on London’s underground postal network, and they are now etched on an information plaque in the subterranean section of the new Postal Museum, which has opened in Farringdon.
The underground Mail Rail system transported letters and parcels 6½ miles across London, from Paddington to Whitechapel, for over 75 years – from the 1920s until its closure in 2003, linking six sorting offices with mainline railway stations and delivering four million letters every day. It’s now a museum covering not just the subterranean service but the history of Royal Mail. Yet it’s the trains that will steal the show: from 4 September visitors will be able to climb on board replica rail cars and ride through this piece of industrial heritage.