Junior Reporter Josh Chen wanted to share his Spring Break experience riding the London Mail Rail. He says, “When people think of museums in London to visit with kids, they usually think of the British Museum or the Natural History Museum. However, one place you might not have heard of is the Postal Museum”. Read the rest of his report below!
My Ride on the London Mail Rail
By Josh Chen
When people think of museums in London to visit with kids, they usually think of the British Museum or the Natural History Museum. However, one place you might not have heard of is the Postal Museum. It just opened in July 2017 and teaches you about the history of how mail is delivered in Great Britain. The most interesting exhibit was about the great train robbery of 1963, when fifteen thieves stole $3.7 million dollars from a postal train by changing the traffic signal from green to red and boarding the train. Most of the money was never recovered, and the last thief wasn’t caught until 2001!
At the museum, my family and I got to ride in an underground “mail rail” train and experience how mail was transported underground between 1927 and 2003. The six miles of tunnels had to be dug by hand. Each day, the train carried four million pieces of mail, and the workers only had four minutes at each stop to unload and load. Sitting in the train felt super cramped, probably since no one rode in them, which means they didn’t have to be very big. During the ride, we experienced a pretend power outage, when the train came to a sudden stop and it became pitch black in the tunnel, which was a common occurrence back then. I also saw the section of the tunnel, called the train graveyard, where old trains are still kept.
My favorite activity at the museum was the mail-sorting game. My sister and I dressed up in postal worker costumes and stood in a make-believe railroad car from the 1800s. We then competed to see who could sort mail the quickest while the floor under us shook to simulate moving on the track.
Even though the Postal Museum isn’t as big or famous as other museums, no other place is as unique. Besides the ride and interactive exhibits, it does a great job of making you appreciate the postal service. If you are in London, I highly recommend you put the Postal Museum on your must-see list.