As I am sure you are all aware, the Post Office has its own private railway that runs under London and it lies abandoned and empty. However, it’s ghostly slumbers may be about to be disturbed.

The Postal Museum near Farringdon station has filed an application to revamp the Mount Pleasant part of the tunnels and open them up to the public.

mail_rail_platforms

Long rumoured as part of the wider redevelopment of the area and the museum;s own unrelated expansion plans — the documents were deposited with Islington council a couple of weeks ago.

The planning application, made to the London Borough of Islington, seeks approval for the repurposing of ground level workshops, the car maintenance depot and part of the underground tunnel network around Mount Pleasant, home of the world’s oldest mail centre, allowing public (official) access to the site for the first time in its history.

mail_rail_depot

Under the BPMA’s proposals, the new development will show off this unique and important engineering and transport system. The development will also include the now all too necessary event space for hiring out for meetings and parties.

The application forms part of the BPMA’s project to deliver a new postal museum and archive next to their existing site.

Obviously, any transport or subterranean geek will be deeply excited by the plans which will finally see this long ached for site visits being possible.

mail_rail_site

I’ve heard rumours of public trips in converted wagons along the tunnels — something which would be exceptional if possible.

In the meantime, there is an exhibition inside the museum about the Mail Rail which will be there for some time to come.

Now, how about digging up bits of the Mail Rail’s pneumatic predecessor?

Also on ianVisits

Tagged with: , , ,

Whats's on in London: today or tomorrow or this weekend

16 comments on “The abandoned Post Office Railway to be opened to the public
  1. Sandra Lawrence says:

    That is incredible news. I would definitely take a ride in an underground mail cart theme park ride…

  2. How fascinating – the sooner the better.

  3. Simon says:

    Exciting, but wouldn’t such plans be jeopardised when the newly-privatised Mail inevitably sells off the Mount Pleasant site to be developed into flats for millionaires?

    • IanVisits says:

      Nope – as the site has already been earmarked for redevelopment, and this project has taken that into consideration.

  4. Greg Tingey says:

    Better still, now that the extremely dubious crook, who was briefly in charge at the GPO long enough to get the GPO Rly closed, and temporarily close-down the long-distance mail trains(So he & his friends could make loadsamoney from lorry-transport) has gone …
    Prhaps re-opening it AS A RAILWAY would be a good idea?

  5. Ron Todd says:

    My wife and I visited the Post Office Museum store at Debden where you can see quite a lot of artefacts relating to the Mail Rail system including some of the wagons plus a history of the system. We were also told of the possibility of opening it up to the public. The store is well worth a visit but a bit of a ride on the Central Line to Debden.

  6. Steve says:

    Great, I’d love to visit

  7. PMD says:

    You write “I’ve heard bizarre rumours of public trips in converted wagons along the tunnels — something which would be exceptional if possible.”

    Interestingly if you follow the link to the planning documents it says “to provide a new exhibition, rail ride and conference facility…” Note the rail ride. I wonder how long (distance) it would be.

  8. Max says:

    ‘I’ve heard bizarre rumours of public trips in converted wagons along the tunnels – something which would be exceptional if possible.’

    It should be possible. Metal blockades were welded to the rails in places after closure, but they could be removed and the rails made usable fairly easily. There were carriages used to transport engineers along the line, and one which was used by the Queen on a visit.
    The carriages which were used for mailbags were based on carriages used in mines for transporting miners, so it should be possible to convert them to carry passengers.

    It’s a shame that such an asset has remained unused for over a decade. There were proposals to use the line for transporting waste soil from the Crossrail project, and for using the section of the line under Oxford St to transport stock for the shops along there, but nothing came of them.

  9. Andre says:

    Oh wow! It looks amazing!! I am dying to visit it now!!

  10. Richard says:

    There were one or two people carrying vehicles for maintenance or inspection purposes but they would be very claustrophobic. I think they would have been propelled by a battery loco. The control system was very crude – 400v in the tunnels and 150v in the stations, on or off. Oh and if a train ran into the back of the one in front its power would be shut off. The mail bags didn’t complain!

  11. terry leggett says:

    I work for Royal Mail and i’m a rail enthusiast and this is something i would really be interested in.

  12. Long Branch Mike says:

    This is a tour that I desperately need.

  13. Urban Mole says:

    I was a BT field engineer in the mid 80’s and Mt Pleasant was part of my patch. As a fan of all things underground I waited for a job on the PO underground. Finally, after a couple of years I was given a fault located on the platform. I was squeezed into a tiny lift and taken down to platform level. A kindly RM employee (-read bored) gave me a personal tour, including the powered lever frame that controls the points, situated between the platforms. I cleared the fault (underneath the platforms!) and went away happy. A while later I went down again on an open day but it was not the same..

    Guess I’ve been lucky as a fan of the London under London, been in deep level cable tunnels (which I can’t discuss), behind the scenes at Kings Cross underground station, various defence bunkers under official buildings in central London as well as WWII deep level shelters. Outside of work I’ve visited King William St. underground terminus, walked under the Thames in a disused underground tunnel and looked down on the commuters at London Bridge underground from the WWII shelters through air vents.

  14. Michael Houghton says:

    I am interested in seeing a detailed map of the rail line between Mount Pleasant and King Edward Building because I have been connected with this area since 1955.It would be great to open up the Post Office railway track to all those people who are interested