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Beneath the streets of the capital lies a secret railway. Known as Mail Rail, for over a century it transported millions of letters between London’s sorting offices until its closure in 2003. From 2017, visitors will be able to ride the mail rail as part of a new Postal Museum. Located in Clerkenwell, the museum will celebrate the life of letters in a series of historic zones. These will include the development of the horsedrawn mail coach (and their encounters with highwaymen), the history of the modern postage stamp (starting with the iconic Penny Black) and the evolution of the humble pillar box.
But the centrepiece is the railway and the tunnels that once ran for over six miles are deep under London, crisscrossing tube lines and linking six sorting offices with the mainline railway stations at Liverpool Street and Paddington. Operating for 22 hours a day, employing over 220 staff, it once carried more than four million letters a day.
The Mail Rail ride will take visitors on a 15 minute journey through a one kilometre section of tunnels and around the original platforms at the Mount Pleasant sorting office station. The trip will be on a specially-made passenger train. For more information go to www.postalmuseum.org