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Sidetrack

01 Jul 2003

Postal tube cut

ROYAL Mail's private underground railway in central London was mothballed on May 30. The 610mm gauge Post Office Railway from Whitechapel to Paddington opened in 1927, carrying post between sorting offices and main line stations in driverless electric trains 21m below the city's streets.

Changes in the location of sorting offices and the costs associated with MailRail mean that the now-truncated line was no longer considered viable for postal traffic. However, basic maintenance will continue while other potential users are sought for the line.

CAPTION: Dieter

National Railways of Zimbabwe was forced to suspend services between Gweru and Harare when illegal gold miners tunnelled under the trackbed near Kwekwe. Acting General Manager Munesu Munodawafa said a 100m tunnel had been discovered, part of which passed beneath the railway. 'We are receiving a lot of rain, and we have to scoop out the water before closing the tunnels. It is sad that these gold panners do not value the infrastructure and human life.'