BY Geoff Courtney
More than 55,000 passengers were carried by Mail Rail – London’s newest and one of its most innovate visitor attractions – in its first four months, an achievement that has been hailed as “amazing” by its interim director.
The railway, based on a 2ft gauge subterranean line that was nicknamed ‘London’s secret railway’ in its operational days as few people were aware of its existence, opened for public rides on September 4, and by New Year’s Eve had carried 55,919 passengers in its specially designed battery-powered carriages, an average of 470 people every day.
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The figures mean that Adrian Steel, who stepped down as director on December 31, leaves behind him a success story that reflects the enormous interest in railways not only among enthusiasts, but also the general public.
Simon Opie, who has been appointed interim director following Adrian’s departure, said: “Mail Rail has captured the imaginations of people across London, the UK, and further afield. The response to its opening has been amazing, and immensely gratifying to all of us involved in getting it up and running.”
Adrian, who is 43, joined The Postal Museum in 2003 as catalogue manager, and became director in 2009. In addition to the launch of Mail Rail, he has seen as part of the same project the creation of a new postal museum nearby on the 7½-acre site of Royal Mail’s Mount Pleasant centre in Clerkenwell, near King’s Cross station.
“Adrian has led and worked tirelessly with the rest of the team to deliver the new museum and Mail Rail, which is a unique attraction,” said Simon. “We wish him every success for the future.”
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