Mail Rail

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Before the Mail Rail, there was that popular Victorian device, a pneumatic tube. The London Pneumatic Dispatch Company opened a postal railway under Euston Station in 1863 that could carry 35 bags of mail one-third of a mile in a minute. According to a comparison in the East Kent Times in 1864, the tunnel “represents the pea-shooter, and the train the pea, which is driven along in one direction by a strong blast of air, and drawn back again in the opposite direction by the exhaustion of the air in front of it.” It was deemed to do the job “exceeding well,” according to an 1865 edition of the Illustrated Times, but it proved expensive. The line closed in 1874, after a little over ten years of operation… More at Wired.

Interesting stuff.

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