23rd September 2021
As part of this year’s Birmingham Heritage Week (9 – 19 Sept), 30 lucky members of the public were given tours of a forgotten underground tunnel linking Mailbox to Birmingham New Street station.
More than 300 people applied to go on the tour of the 400-metre-long tunnel, which used to transport post from a former Royal Mail sorting office – now the Mailbox – directly to station platforms.
When the sorting office opened in 1970, it was the largest building in the city, with a floor area of 81,000 sq metres. The building closed in the late 90s and was redeveloped into the Mailbox. However, while the sorting office above was transformed beyond recognition, the old postal tunnel has remained frozen in time.
Few people have had access over the years but on Friday 3 September, ticket holders got the chance to go behind the scenes.
Bethanie Hayton, tour organiser from Network Rail, said: “We were blown away at the number of people who applied for tickets to get a rare glimpse of this near forgotten tunnel linking New Street to the old sorting office. Delivering mail by rail used to be a huge part of railway business so it was fascinating to arrange these tours and remember the past.”
Andy Jackson, Estate Director at Mailbox said: “The redevelopment of the Royal Mail sorting office signalled an important phase in the regeneration of Birmingham, and as one of the city’s most iconic landmarks, Mailbox was delighted to partner with Network Rail to celebrate this unique piece of history.”