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03 Feb 2010 254 views
 
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photoblog image Delivering the Mail

Delivering the Mail


Highlight of the Great Central railway is the Travelling Post Office demonstration. The GCR is the only heritage railway that can do this, in the yard at Quorn is a mailbag exchange where bags are delivered both onto and from the train as it passes at speed.

Standing about twenty feet from the double track you can hear, smell and feel the TPO as it roars past at speed, Leander, an ex-LMS Jubilee class locomotive passes the bag exchange catching the moment when the delivered bags are caught in the net and the other bags high on the frame await the pull of the receiving mechanism to throw the bags into the coach. A fine experience indeed.

The new locomotive Tornado will be back on the GCR in March and I can only hope it will work the TPO demonstration, it will be well worth the 250 mile round trip.

The TPO image also provides me with the opportunity to provide a link to a sample of one of my favourite documentaries produced by the GPO Film Unit, The Night Mail, with words by W H Auden. The engine being cleaned at the end of the clip is an un-rebuilt LMS Patriot Class, teh Seaforth Highlander. There is currently a new build of one of these engines being undertaken and it will be named the Unknown Warrior as a tribute to all those who died in war. It will be come the natioanl Memorial engine and it is hoped that it will be ready for the centenary of the signing of the armistice in 2018.

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Delivering the Mail


Highlight of the Great Central railway is the Travelling Post Office demonstration. The GCR is the only heritage railway that can do this, in the yard at Quorn is a mailbag exchange where bags are delivered both onto and from the train as it passes at speed.

Standing about twenty feet from the double track you can hear, smell and feel the TPO as it roars past at speed, Leander, an ex-LMS Jubilee class locomotive passes the bag exchange catching the moment when the delivered bags are caught in the net and the other bags high on the frame await the pull of the receiving mechanism to throw the bags into the coach. A fine experience indeed.

The new locomotive Tornado will be back on the GCR in March and I can only hope it will work the TPO demonstration, it will be well worth the 250 mile round trip.

The TPO image also provides me with the opportunity to provide a link to a sample of one of my favourite documentaries produced by the GPO Film Unit, The Night Mail, with words by W H Auden. The engine being cleaned at the end of the clip is an un-rebuilt LMS Patriot Class, teh Seaforth Highlander. There is currently a new build of one of these engines being undertaken and it will be named the Unknown Warrior as a tribute to all those who died in war. It will be come the natioanl Memorial engine and it is hoped that it will be ready for the centenary of the signing of the armistice in 2018.

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comments (10)

  • Louis
  • South Africa
  • 3 Feb 2010, 06:37
Big wheels keep on turning ...

Something similar was used for exchanges of air mail in remote places.
Les Auld: Thanks Louis, appreciate the comment.
  • Chris
  • England
  • 3 Feb 2010, 07:28
Thank you for this information Les. I had no idea there were plans afoot to build an original Patriot. We used to have these shedded at Bristol Barrow Road 7 I remember them working trains to the north at least until 1961
Les Auld: I can only remember the rebuilt patriots, it will be good to see an un-rebuilt one. Thanks for the comment.
lovely shot Les
Les Auld: Thanks Derek, appreciate the comment.
  • vintage
  • Australia
  • 3 Feb 2010, 12:36
Good photo There is a town in South Australia named Quorn famous for its trains
Les Auld: Co-incidence has no boundaries Vintage, thanks for the comment.
I think this is one of my favorites, the colours, the smoke, everything. Really nice Les.
Les Auld: Thanks Linda, glad you like it.
I seen it but never tried to capture it on camera Les. Well done and what a fine viseo, always worth a watch.
Les Auld: A benefit of multi shot capability Brian, thanks for the comment.
Well captured Les...Good one.
Les Auld: Thanks Ron smile
Great stuff Les. Funny how so many people think John Betjeman wrote that poem. I love it!
Les Auld: Perhaps Betjeman was more well known Bill. Thanks for the comment.
  • Ginnie
  • Netherlands
  • 4 Feb 2010, 07:05
That's a lot of steam, Les! Mail has always been important to me over the years, so I'm sure this train would be one I'd want to see in real life if I lived in the UK! smile
Les Auld: real mail is often far more satisfying than e-mail or texts Ginnie, thanks for the comment.
I like this Les, it's a fabulous looking engine smile
Les Auld: Not only good looking but has a great sound as well, thanks for the comment Ginnie.

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camera Canon EOS 50D
exposure mode full manual
shutterspeed 1/200s
aperture f/7.1
sensitivity ISO100
focal length 28.0mm
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