London's Postal Museum is opening its long-closed underground Mail Rail as a tourist newest attraction. Starting September 4, 2017, you can ride a tiny train on tracks that were used to haul mail between eight post offices from 1927 to 2003.
The museum and the entrance to Mail Rail are located at the Royal Mail's Mount Pleasant sorting facility in London's Clerkenwell neighborhood.
The track slowly descends into the tunnel from the boarding area. Though the original railway stretched six and a half miles across central London between Whitechapel and Paddington, your ride will take a 1 km loop below Clerkenwell.
A control panel shows the track layout below Mount Pleasant. Trains leave the boarding platform on the red track and travel on one of the blue tracks before stopping at the first station (yellow). Trains then travel through the green loop to the second station and back to the boarding area.
At its peak, the Mail Rail employed 220 people and operated 22 hours a day. It could carry six million bags of mail each year. But it all came to an abrupt end when the railway was shut down on May 31, 2003. The closure, which some assumed to be temporary, was so sudden that some staff left their personal belongings in their lockers.
Other lockers held supplies like boxes of mails. After the 2003 closure, the railway was left untouched until 2011 when postal service employees reopened the tunnels. Work on opening the railway to the public began in February, 2016.