Tuesday, 7 April 2015

1948 - George Winter takes a PGS Party to The Post Office Underground Railway

The Post Office Underground Railway.
On Wednesday, 23rcl February; a small party of boys, accom- panied by Mr. Winter and Mr. Hodgess, visited the Post Office Underground Railway under the King Edward Building in London.
This small railway, which is six-and-a-half miles long, eighty feet below ground, and the only one of its kind in the world, runs between Paddington Station and the Eastern District Office, with six intermediate stations, such as Mount Pleasant and the King Edward Building. Its main purpose is to save time in transport- ing mail across London, the average saving being eighteen minutes.
We were first taken down, by lift, to the station below the King Edward Building. Here we saw the electrically-driven trains coming into the station and being loaded or unloaded and sent off again within a minute, all their movements within the station and its approaches being controlled from a main switch cabin. The trains run in the main tunnels at a speed of about 35 m.p.h., but the stations are built on a gradient, and the approach rails have less current flowing in them, so that incoming trains are slowed down and enter stations at about 8 m.p.h.

Next we were shown the lifts and conveyor belts, by which outgoing mail is brought down from the sorting offices above and the incoming mail is taken up. This reduces to a minimum the labour required to man"handle the bags, and causes the least poss- ible jolting of mail.
Next we were taken to the sorting offices themselves, to see what happens to the incoming mail. We were shown how it is sorted and also what happens to damaged letters and parcels and those which are incorrectly addressed. We then went upstairs to the Overseas sorting office, where we saw the mail being sorted and despatched for such places as Africa, Switzerland and the Balkans. We also saw the Hollywood "fanmail" being sorted, and the letters for H.M. ships at sea. After passing through all the sorting offices, the party left the King Edward Building, after thanking our guides for a very interesting morning. Our thanks are due to the Post Offtce for granting permission for this excursion. 

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