Mail Rail Conservation Appeal
Please help us preserve a unique and iconic part of Britain's industrial heritage – vehicles from the Post Office Underground Railway which carried mail beneath London's streets from 1927-2003.
The Post Office Underground Railway (renamed Mail Rail for its 60th anniversary in 1987) is a unique and iconic part of Britain's industrial heritage. It is the only example in the world of a dedicated underground rail system for transporting mail and one of the most frequently enquired about aspects of the UK's postal history.
Throughout the lifetime of the network three basic fleets of trains were used. The first, introduced with the opening of the system in 1927, was quickly found to have a number of flaws and replaced by a new fleet of trains in 1930. The third and final design of vehicles was introduced in 1980.
See the British Postal History section of our website for further information about the Mail Rail story.
In May 2011 the BPMA was able to retrieve examples of the 1927 (the only known remaining of its kind) and 1930s units from the underground system, and unite them with a 1980s unit already in our care. Years of use and subsequent storage underground have, however, taken their toll. Surfaces where there was once paint are now exposed, increasing risk of corrosion and some of the moving parts are in danger of seizing up. A thorough conservation assessment of the status of the vehicles has allowed us to develop a conservation plan for their treatment.
We are now seeking funding to carry out conservation work on these units, enabling us to make them suitable for public display and bring the complete story of Mail Rail to the public for the first time.
How you can help
Grants from Arts Council England's PRISM fund and the AIM/Pilgrim Trust Conservation Scheme have made it possible for BPMA to commence work to conserve the units. However we urgently need to raise a further £15k to enable conservation of the remaining 1927 vehicle; the only known remaining example of its kind making it a unique piece of the UK's industrial heritage.
You can help us achieve this by making a donation to support our work to conserve, interpret and publically display our Mail Rail vehicles. Donations can be made by printing, completing and returning this donor form with your gift, or by contacting a member of the Development & Communications Team (details below) to discuss.
It is not possible at the present time to visit the Post Office Underground Railway network, however BPMA has a free 'Mail Rail supporters' mailing list for those interested in finding out more about our range of Mail Rail activities and developments. We are happy to add new supporters to the list and this group will be the first to know should visiting opportunities arise in the future.
To join our 'Mail Rail supporters group' mailing list, receive further information about our Mail Rail Appeal, or to discuss making a gift, please contact BPMA's Marketing and Development Assistant, Jana Harnett on 020 7239 2037 or email email@example.com.
Mail Rail Conservation Appeal - Donor Form (PDF, 146KB)