Norway seems rather short of ghostsigns, so it was a treat to stumble across the Electric Blue Cafe, near Ramberg in the Lofoten Islands.

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Metaline Falls, Washington, USA

More images from the outer reaches of the Post Office’s abandoned underground railway. While Mail Rail will open as a tourist attraction this summer at Mount Pleasant, the rest of the network lies unused and, now, pretty much unusable. Original report here. Above, the conveyor system at Liverpool Street designed to carry mail sacks from below ground to the mainline station platforms.

Mail sack identity ticket.

Some of the vast amount of electrical switchgear located at each station to manage the track power supply.

Above, an experimental vacuum cleaning train, designed to rid the tunnels of dust. Apparently it only succeeded in creating vast clouds of the stuff and has sat in this siding since, along with the locomotive unit below.

Eight storeys down on abandoned tracks

The news that London’s Post Office
Railway, aka Mail Rail, is due to open this July for passenger rides as part of
the new Postal Museum development, has rightly been greeted with excitement and
much anticipation. But only a small part of the 6½ mile-long network will be in
operation. Beyond the environs of Mount Pleasant, Mail Rail, its tunnels,
tracks and stations, are destined to remain silent.

As I discovered on a visit to the part
of the network that sits some 80ft beneath Liverpool Street mainline station,
most of Mail Rail is not so much mothballed as gently decaying, pretty much as
it was left when the current was switched off for the last time in 2003 and the
system was abandoned.

And though the Post Office has a duty
to maintain the tunnels, the chances of trains ever running again from
Whitechapel in the east to Paddington in the west are remote, given the
investment needed to bring the railway back to operational standard. That
supposes there is a demand for it. The network originally closed as the sorting
offices it served moved to the periphery of London and mail stopped being
delivered by surface rail. The direct conveyor belt links from the Mail Rail
tunnels to the mainline platforms at Liverpool Street and Paddington, have long
ceased to turn.

Alternative
uses have been proposed for the system from the worthy – moving emergency
medical supplies quickly across London – to the perhaps less so – a private
railway speeding top businesspeople into the City. But for the time being at
least, aside from the glorious renaissance of Mail Rail at the Postal Museum,
its dusty tracks and platforms will be undisturbed apart from occasional
maintenance workers, Crossrail engineers, and curious visitors like Leftover
London.

Montana ghost town views.

darksilenceinsuburbia:

Katharina Fitz

Post-Industrial England’s Boarded-Up Houses

In Europe today, there are around 11 million empty and unoccupied homes, 610,000 of which are in England. Large-scale vacancy in cities is often a sign of great upheaval within the urban space.

Focusing on typical, Victorian working-class terraced houses in post-industrial Liverpool and Manchester, this project highlights the sheer volume of long-term vacancies in the UK. It is a critical reflection on the unoccupied homes in England—as well as Europe—and their relation to the social housing market.

In times past, these historical houses symbolized the collective past of a flourishing industry and a strong working-class community. Nowadays, hundreds of houses in fairly good condition within former industrial cities stand abandoned and boarded-up awaiting demolition.

From an aesthetic point of view, boarded-up windows create a melancholic, mysterious, and sculptural atmosphere. In Gaston Bachelard’s book “The Poetics of Space,” windows are described as the souls of houses: when lit up at night, they give us access to their inner lives, their histories, and memories of past times.

By contrast, these images radiate uncertainty in relation to their future, which produces a sense of instability. The aims of the project are to create a conscious reflection of vacant houses and an awareness of the constant structural changes of our cities.

—Katharina Fitz