Postal Service

Please Respond
User avatar
m-in-m
Posts: 230
Joined: Sat 05 Apr, 2008 22.26
Location: West Suffolk/Cambs

I have a strange question and hoping the knowledge of the forum will be able to answer it.

In my part of the world Royal Mail recently closed, I believe, the sorting office in Cambridge. The work was split between Peterborough and Chelmsford depending on the postcode.

I was wondering if you post a letter in Cambridge for delivery within Cambridge does this mean it travels to Peterborough and back again or do they filter out local post first? The same also applies to towns that would have fed off Cambridge so Newmarket or Saffron Walden. If you posted a letter in those locations for the same location would it be filtered out at that town before post is sent into Chelmsford?

Finally how do they organise it so that a letter posted in Cornwall can be delivered the next day in say Newcastle or Scotland?
User avatar
WillPS
Posts: 2084
Joined: Tue 22 Apr, 2008 18.32
Location: Carlton
Contact:

m-in-m wrote:I have a strange question and hoping the knowledge of the forum will be able to answer it.

In my part of the world Royal Mail recently closed, I believe, the sorting office in Cambridge. The work was split between Peterborough and Chelmsford depending on the postcode.

I was wondering if you post a letter in Cambridge for delivery within Cambridge does this mean it travels to Peterborough and back again or do they filter out local post first? The same also applies to towns that would have fed off Cambridge so Newmarket or Saffron Walden. If you posted a letter in those locations for the same location would it be filtered out at that town before post is sent into Chelmsford?

Finally how do they organise it so that a letter posted in Cornwall can be delivered the next day in say Newcastle or Scotland?
Everything (except mass-mailout stuff which often gets injected at Distribution Centres) first reaches the local sorting office/depot. Local mail is separated there and everything else forwarded either directly to relevant sorting office (1st class) or to the distribution centre (2nd class/mailsort) who will then forward it on to the correct sorting office over the course of the next day.

The sorting office then break it up to each of the local delivery offices.

In the case of your Cornwall - Newcastle/Scotland example - it'll probably do a fair chunk of its journey by aircraft if its 1st; 2nd class normally will stick to roads though.

Although there's no guarantees - in most cases 2nd class mail within the area covered by your sorting office will be delivered next day.
Image
User avatar
Nick Harvey
God
Posts: 4027
Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 22.26
Location: Deepest Wiltshire
Contact:

As far as I know, everything now goes to the major sorting office and back.

We used to have the odd situation in Devizes (SN10) where all first class post was sent to Swindon (SN1) for sorting, but second class post had an initial sort in Devizes. If you wanted to guarantee that an item posted in Devizes, and destined for Devizes, got there the following morning, then the best way was to send it second class. If you sent it first class, and Swindon were busy with stuff from all the SN postcodes, then it could take two days. That's no longer the case, though, as everything now goes to Swindon to be slowed down, regardless of whether it's sent first or second class.

It's all rather pointlees now, however, as we now only get a delivery every other day. Royal Mail refuse, point blank, to admit that it's true, but since they reduced the hours the delivery people are allowed to work, and removed all overtime, our poor postie always runs out of time and has to go back to the delivery office before he finishes his round each day.

Their solution, which they also refuse to admit to, is that he does the round forwards the first day, then backwards the next, and so on. We're nearly at the end of his round, and get a delivery on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays the first week, and Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays the second week. It's very obvious at this time of year, when you know you should be getting Christmas cards every day, but they arrive alternate days. It's also obvious when my subsciption Radio Times arrives on Tuesdays and Wednesdays on alternate weeks.
Martin Phillp
Posts: 1028
Joined: Wed 11 May, 2011 01.28

For all the criticism Royal Mail get, the delivery service in my part of London is usually excellent with a mid-morning delivery of post, although depending on the cover for the postman, it has been as late as 5.30pm.

Recently I purchased a DVD from Amazon Prime, which arrived earlier using standard Royal Mail delivery than using a courier.

I remember when post would be franked by the local sorting office, then changed to the major sorting centres, such as 'London South' or 'Gatwick Mail Centre', the latter covered a wide area as I'd get post from Eastbourne sorted at Gatwick.
TVF's London Lite.
Alexia
Posts: 2974
Joined: Sat 01 Oct, 2005 17.50

Top Gear raced a letter from the Scilly Islands to Shetland in a car and lost. It was driven Scilly - Truro, Truro - Plymouth, Plymouth - Exeter Airport, flew Exeter - East Mids, then flew East Mids - Aberdeen I think, and then flew Aberdeen - Shetland.

They drove all night in a Porsche Panamera.
User avatar
m-in-m
Posts: 230
Joined: Sat 05 Apr, 2008 22.26
Location: West Suffolk/Cambs

Thanks for those replies. It seems madness the distance post travels when it is staying within a town. Interesting to hear that the USO is being breached but I wonder if there is any sanction against Royal Mail for it.
cwathen
Posts: 1152
Joined: Fri 15 Aug, 2003 17.28

Interesting to hear that the USO is being breached but I wonder if there is any sanction against Royal Mail for it.
Unless there is something like large scale whistle-blowing by posties, It is unlikely ever to be proven - if indeed it is happening at all. I noticed similar things to Nick myself when I recently took a week off work but didn't actually go anywhere and spent most of my time at home. There was an obvious pattern of the postie alternating between turning up at my building mid morning and mid afternoon each day. It was obvious he was alternating between two routes, although it didn't occur to me at the time that this is because he didn't have time to get to the end of the route each day and it was being done to at least do the whole route every other day.

The problem is, if it is widespread it will be sanctioned unofficially but is never going to be written down anywhere or communicated in any proveable form, and any challenge as to frequency of service or alternating routes will be explained away as timings will vary depending on volume, different posties take different routes, even if it's the same postie he can take different routes if he wants to, that there can be other factors which could delay things by a day, and even if someone was able to prove that on a given day the postie had post but didn't deliver it it will be explained away as a one off thing which will inevitably happen, and certainly not something going on as a matter of course (and of course, all of that could be true too).
User avatar
WillPS
Posts: 2084
Joined: Tue 22 Apr, 2008 18.32
Location: Carlton
Contact:

cwathen wrote:
Interesting to hear that the USO is being breached but I wonder if there is any sanction against Royal Mail for it.
Unless there is something like large scale whistle-blowing by posties, It is unlikely ever to be proven - if indeed it is happening at all. I noticed similar things to Nick myself when I recently took a week off work but didn't actually go anywhere and spent most of my time at home. There was an obvious pattern of the postie alternating between turning up at my building mid morning and mid afternoon each day. It was obvious he was alternating between two routes, although it didn't occur to me at the time that this is because he didn't have time to get to the end of the route each day and it was being done to at least do the whole route every other day.

The problem is, if it is widespread it will be sanctioned unofficially but is never going to be written down anywhere or communicated in any proveable form, and any challenge as to frequency of service or alternating routes will be explained away as timings will vary depending on volume, different posties take different routes, even if it's the same postie he can take different routes if he wants to, that there can be other factors which could delay things by a day, and even if someone was able to prove that on a given day the postie had post but didn't deliver it it will be explained away as a one off thing which will inevitably happen, and certainly not something going on as a matter of course (and of course, all of that could be true too).
The routes postal workers walk is prescriptive (or rather, the order and position the van should be parked), nothing to stop them ignoring what they've been told but it's discouraged both by the company and by the unions as you're basically out on your arse if it goes tits up/takes too long. Something a lot of people don't realise - most postal workers don't work alone anymore, they go out in pairs and share a van - most of the time they'll have some of their own streets and split the remaining few on the day according to workload. Those pairs work the same days as eachother - 5 days out of 6 with a different day off each week. The other day will be typically be run completely differently.

You're right on everything else though.
Image
User avatar
WillPS
Posts: 2084
Joined: Tue 22 Apr, 2008 18.32
Location: Carlton
Contact:

m-in-m wrote:Thanks for those replies. It seems madness the distance post travels when it is staying within a town. Interesting to hear that the USO is being breached but I wonder if there is any sanction against Royal Mail for it.
It'd be madness to install a sorting machine and man it within every Delivery Office, which is the alternative.
Image
simonipswich
Posts: 40
Joined: Tue 21 May, 2013 14.11
Location: Ipswich

Our mail was certainly sent to Peterborough from Ipswich, even for Ipswich to Ipswich mail as it would come franked: Royal Mail Peterborough! I guess they saw sense that it was stupid sending mail there from Ipswich for Ipswich and all Ipswich mail posted in Ipswich for an address in Ipswich is now franked: IPSWICH IP1 1AA, the sorting office in Commercial Road.
thegeek
Posts: 623
Joined: Sat 04 Jun, 2005 12.35

Nick Harvey wrote:It's all rather pointlees now, however, as we now only get a delivery every other day. Royal Mail refuse, point blank, to admit that it's true, but since they reduced the hours the delivery people are allowed to work, and removed all overtime, our poor postie always runs out of time and has to go back to the delivery office before he finishes his round each day.
You could sign up to the Postal Survey, and what's going on would probably become apparent to someone in charge eventually. You'll get some free stamps out of it too.
Alexia wrote:Top Gear raced a letter from the Scilly Islands to Shetland in a car and lost. It was driven Scilly - Truro, Truro - Plymouth, Plymouth - Exeter Airport, flew Exeter - East Mids, then flew East Mids - Aberdeen I think, and then flew Aberdeen - Shetland.

They drove all night in a Porsche Panamera.
I sent a postcard from the most northerly post office in the UK, on Unst (two ferries away from mainland Shetland) on a Tuesday, and it made it to London by the Thursday. If I'd got there before the last collection (at 0930), I'd imagine it would have made it on the Wednesday. It also had a rather nice postmark with some puffins on it. Pretty impressive for 62p.
Please Respond