Mail by Rail
|| EXIT | Overview | Travelling Post Offices: Night Mail | Nene Valley ||
|| Railnet | The Post Office Railway | References ||
In its history, mail by rail has taken many forms, but none is more noticeable than the fabulous Royal Mail red livery of the Class 325 Electric Multiple Units (EMUs) as in the above photo. These modern day trains were developed for RM as part of the Railnet project with operating contracts up to 2006.
However, on 6 June 2003, the Royal Mail announced that it was going to withdraw its entire rail network of services for mail distribution by March 2004, in favour of a road based distribution network.
"It's all about quality, but if quality can be had by other means then changes will be made."
Post Horn (magazine of the Post Office Vehicle Club) reported in its June/July 2003 issues...
On 15th October 2003 Allan Leighton said of the competitive post-privatisation market which the Royal Mail now faces, and the role of TPOs...
"This is about the modernisation of the Royal Mail. The fact that we have stock which is 50 years old travelling up and down with people sorting on it when we have machines which can do it a thousand times faster means we are not going to be able to compete."
The TPO (Travelling Post Office)
As well as mail being carried in bulk stowage vans, it was for many, many years, sorted 'on the move' in purpose built windowless carriages which were developed as Travelling Post Offices (TPOs). A TPO carriage could run as part of a passenger train, but more often than not would form a complete train, as a 'Mail Special'.
A unique railway under the streets of London
With special thanks to Steve Jones and Nigel Burkin for the use of their photos. Also, Post Office Vehicle Club, Post Horn; Mail by Rail, Peter Johnson.
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