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London's Mail Rail - Photo essay

  • 25-05-2011 2:53pm
    Closed Accounts Posts: 7,221 ✭✭✭

    Forget about Metro North for the moment and have a gander at this photo essay of a clandestine visit through London's now abandoned post office underground rail system. Fascinating stuff!

    The Post Office Railway (mail rail)


  • Registered Users Posts: 15,766 ✭✭✭✭DaCor

    That is a loooong webpage but in saying that I read it all. I never knew that existed, fair play to them

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 7,221 ✭✭✭BrianD

    This site is also worth a look - abandoned Tube stations and lines in London:

    What I found fascinating about the Royal Mail system that even though it's all disused, the lighting in the stations seemed to work and stuff was still powered on. There's even a digital clock working in one of the pics.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 3,032 ✭✭✭DWCommuter

    Read the link and the rest of the site. Absolutely brilliant!

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,884 ✭✭✭101sean

    Got to see a fair number of strange places legitimately doing drainage surveys for London Underground a few years back :D

    There's several good books on what's beneath London, the place is riddled with tunnels other than the Underground.

  • Closed Accounts Posts: 7,221 ✭✭✭BrianD

    101sean wrote: »
    Got to see a fair number of strange places legitimately doing drainage surveys for London Underground a few years back :D

    There's several good books on what's beneath London, the place is riddled with tunnels other than the Underground.

    Tell me more ... I'm all ears!

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,884 ✭✭✭101sean

    Disused passageways at Euston still with their 1960s adverts sticks in my mind.

    Also Clapham North deep tube shelter, had just been refurbed by the government and then passed back to LUL. Was down there in 2001 looking at pumps, before I got the call I didn't even know the deep shelters existed (there's seven of them). After that visit I took more interest and did some research.

    There's several massive underground substations dotted around the District/Circle line.

    Surveying accesses for National Grid power tunnels, all London's electricity supply goes underground on the outskirts.

    Being put off chinese food for a long time after investigating one disused station :(

    Surveyed the whole of the East London line inc the Thames Tunnel before it became part of the Overground.

    The Sub-Brit website covers a lot in a fairly dry way but all their visits would be legal. There's lots of subversive and conspiracy type websites as well though like the Mail Rail one above :D

    The two main books are London under London and London's Secret Tubes.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,319 ✭✭✭Trick of the Tail

    Its a fascinating subject. I explored one of the disused platforms at Holborn once.

    Whats the Chinese food story?

    The London's Secret Tubes book is good, I have it here.


  • Registered Users Posts: 697 ✭✭✭pajunior

    I remember an episode of "how london was build", and the presenter (who is rather famous but his name escapes me) went to an abandoned tube station and flagged a train with an old latern.

    Obviously it was staged but the idea is very funny.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,884 ✭✭✭101sean

    That would probably have been Adam Hart Davis and have been filmed at Aldwych station which is always used for this sort of thing. Despite being closed it's still manned 24hrs, as an intact station it still performs many functions including pretty much any TV drama or film involving the Underground.

    There's a posh Chinese restaurant in a disused station over a section of the Met that is in open brick lined cut, it's on a bridge structure over the line. There's an access to the track via one of the original stairwells but at track level all the arches are bricked up. We were asked to see why soap suds and noodles were coming up through the ballast so we went down to break into one of the arches near where it was appearing. A hole was knocked in about 5ft up and the first brick disappeared with an ominous plop :confused:

    On opening the hole up we found 15000 gallons of soapy noodly waste water trapped behind the arch! The sight and smell has made me wary of Chinese food since. Took 3 nights to pump it up in to tankers :eek:

    Basically, they'd tapped their sinks into gullys in the undercroft that were meant for rainwater that would originally run into track drains but the outlets were blocked.

    It's a fairly common problem, used to get fat all over the place on the disused platforms at Kings Cross until we sorted it (interesting place to hang around waiting for your night shift to start :rolleyes:)

    Never saved any photos from work plus time was always short anyway to do much poking around.

  • Registered Users Posts: 697 ✭✭✭pajunior

    Thats brilliant, I can just imagine the look on your faces when you realized it was the waste from a Chinese

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  • Closed Accounts Posts: 878 ✭✭✭rainbowdash

    Amazing how they even had Royal Mail Logos on the trains when they were deep underground and no customer would see them.