The last of the night mail

Recently I was photographing a conference at Buckinghamshire Railway Museum. While wandering round in a break I saw an old Travelling Post Office carriage that used to sort the mail overnight while travelling from London out to the extremities of the UK. It reminded me that I was privileged to be asked, by Royal Mail, to shoot the last train ever to sort mail in this way on January 9th 2004.
It wasn't an easy task. The route the train was taking was from their depot in Wembley down to Cornwall. Naturally, I couldn't accompany them all the way (budgets were tight even before the 2007 financial crisis) so it was decided I would just go to Reading. Which meant driving there, hopping on a train into London and getting a taxi to Wembley. At 11pm. No taxi driver wanted to know; driver after driver at Paddington station turned me down. Finally one relented. It then took us nearly an hour to find the unsignposted yard where the train was being loaded.
I remember it being incredibly cramped inside the carriages. A row of pidgeon-holes all along one side and sacks and sacks of unsorted mail ranged along the other side. A large tray jutted out underneath the pidgeon-holes were mail would be poured for the sorters to pick and file letters in the correct bays. It was a never ending process, done with speed and a fair amount of hilarity, mostly at my expense.
Keeping balance was an art and I tried to reflect it in some of the shots, using a slow shutter speed mixed with flash to convey the constant rolling and juddering as the train moved along the tracks. 
Facilities were basic. Sandwiches had to be brought and the only drinks had to be made from a water boiler; a slight progress from the previous hot water urn that had to last the journey.
Finally, and all too soon, my journey with them was over and I departed at Reading station, leaving the sorters and drivers to continue on westwards to Cornwall.