Mail Rail: Exploring the Deserted Tunnels of London’s Post Office Railway

mail-rail-london-post-office-railway (All images by cakehole, reproduced with permission)

Abandoned subway stations, such as the ‘ghost stations’ of the Paris Metro, have long been sought out by urban explorers. Now, a lesser known underground railway in London, mothballed since 2003, is the subject of an ongoing photographic exhibition at the British Postal Museum to mark the centenary of the Post Office (London) Railway Act 1913.

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The narrow-gauge Post Office Railway (aka Mail Rail), inspired by a similar freight network built by the Chicago Tunnel Company, opened in 1927 and operated between the Paddington Sorting Office and Whitechapel Eastern Delivery Office. The railway, which served eight stations along 6.5 miles (10.5 km) of track, was closed for financial reasons in 2003 after 75 years of operation. But as these images show, the deserted network remains in good condition today.

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In 2011 an urban exploration collective known as Consolidation Crew infiltrated the Mail Rail tunnels (find out more at Place Hacking). But for those looking for a less risky means of exploring the network, a Mail Rail-themed event at the British Postal Museum on September 14 could be the ideal opportunity. For more great photos, check out Silent UK. Hat tip to Londonist.

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