Saturday, January 12, 2019

Visiting Neverwhere: Walking the Mail Rail

The Berlin bunkers weren't my only exploration in 2018 of the world's underground, as I also visited Neverwhere.

What is Neverwhere, you might be asking? Well Neverwhere was originally (back in the 90s) a TV series on BBC written by Neil Gaiman that was turned into a book and then lots of other things (comic book, stage play, radio play etc. etc.).

The idea of Neverwhere is that underneath London there is a second city, inhabited by those lost from the real city above, full of mythical peoples that echo the places above. So there is a real Earl's Court, a real Angel of Islington and don't ask about the Seven Sisters....

It was filmed in all sorts of brilliant locations, from Abbey Mills Pumping Station (as visited earlier), to the (at the time) derelict St. Pancras Hotel, to the (then abandoned) Battersea Power Station. There was also a scene on a small underground railway that I didn't recognise (@ 6 seconds):

Where or what was this railway?

This turned out to be the Mail Rail, a special railway for the Royal Mail that connected some of their main sorting offices as in this map from Wikipedia:

It was closed on the 31st of May 2003 and for many years the tunnels were dark and empty. But last year it was opened up to tourist rides of a special train, less dangerous than the one in the trailer above.

Just before Christmas there was an opportunity to walk through the tunnels, to get the real Neverwhere experience. 

It was fab!

There were even stalactites:

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