Playing with trains

25 November 2016

We’re getting closer! Recently we took a huge stride to unlocking the secrets of Mail Rail, as the trains for our immersive ride experience were lowered into the Mail Rail tunnels – the first ones to enter for more than 25 years.

It was quite an event, and we’ll be sharing that story soon, but first let’s get back to basics. What are these trains, and where have they come from?

View of the green train being built

View of the green train being built

For over 15 months, we’ve been working with a company called Severn Lamb to design and build the trains to take our visitors back in time, and reveal the history of Mail Rail where it actually happened.

They’ll take urban explorers on a 15-minute journey through the original tunnels and station platforms under London’s Mount Pleasant, where the amazing story of the service’s creation and operation will be told through a theatrical audiovisual show.

green-and-red

Construction of the different trains’ carriages

There will be two of these trains – one red and one green, the colours of past Mail Rail carriages from different eras.

Their design follows that of the original Mail Rail trains from 1987, but with a few tweaks, like a lowered floor to allow passengers to ride comfortably – as the tunnels are just seven feet high!

Part of a train design drawing. Not a robot!

Part of a train design drawing. Not a robot!

You might remember that earlier this year we posted about the testing of a ‘Mule’, a prototype train, to check that the designs would actually fit through the tunnels. Thankfully the tests were successful, so production followed!

Severn Lamb's 'Mule' in the Mail Rail tunnels

Severn Lamb’s ‘Mule’ in the Mail Rail tunnels

In their factory in Alcester, Severn Lamb have toiled to make the trains a reality. It’s been a unique challenge: as transport engineering specialists, they normally work on trains four times the size.

Have a flick through some of the stories from the trains’ construction!

Completing one of the train's control panels
Final touches are added to the trains' wheels
Fixing wheels onto one of the six engines
Checking everything runs smoothly
The red carriage's electrics are installed
The carriages' panels are polished
Anti-vandal film is attached to the glass canopies
Two carriages ready for engines to be fitted