Birmingham canals at night

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JakobW
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Re: Birmingham canals at night

Postby JakobW » 8 Sep 2018, 4:56pm

Sweep wrote:
JakobW wrote:OTOH, an evening super off-peak (after 1830) single rail ticket to Walsall or Wolverhampton is £2.50, and you can take your bike on board; from either station you can be in the lanes in about 15 minutes.


Interesting.

Am arriving at Birmingham Moor Street on a cheap ticket from London.

Which station do I take these Walsall or Wolverhampton trains from Jakob?

I take it these are just walk up and buy fares, available from a ticket machine or ticket window?

Which train company so I can check out timetables? - prefer to use company websites rather than national rail.


These trains go from Birmingham New Street, which is a 5 minute walk/2 minute cycle from Moor Street; they're walk-up fares available from the machines or the counter. They are valid for any train between New St and Wolverhampton; these will either be fast services operated by Virgin or CrossCountry, or a local stopping service operated by West Midlands trains. I'd go for the West Midlands service, as it's only about about 10 minutes slower, and you don't need to faff with the bike - you can just put it in the vestibule (though there is usually one carriage with a bike space) - Virgin require a bike reservation, and though CrossCountry don't, the bike spaces are not always free. For trains see e.g. the timetable at https://traintimes.org.uk/Bhm/Wvh/18:30/today

I'd be quite tempted to get the train - the canal out to Wolverhampton is quite isolated in stretches, and the bits around Wolverhampton city can be a bit dodgy; the on-road bit is urban sprawl, and - frankly - West Mids drivers are bloody awful. On that cycle.travel route, once you hit Coven you're nicely in the lanes.

mercalia
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Re: Birmingham canals at night

Postby mercalia » 8 Sep 2018, 5:11pm

if you get bored you could pop over to Manchester canals -

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-45173888

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Sweep
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Re: Birmingham canals at night

Postby Sweep » 17 Sep 2018, 9:39am

Many thanks for the top tip above Jacob about the Birmingham Wolverhampton off-peak fare.

Managed to get the ticket online and collect from my local London station's machine so I have the ticket in advance. Touch wood I should be fine with half an hour between my train arriving at Moor Street and leaving New Street.

National rail enquiries seemed to suggest that it was Arriva Trains Wales - the ticket says any train off peak Birmingham to Wolverhampton.

Are there perhaps three potential uses for the ticket?

Virgin
West Midlands
Arriva Wales (they of the lost property hostage taking)

?
Sweep

random37
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Re: Birmingham canals at night

Postby random37 » 17 Sep 2018, 10:48am

I lived on a boat for years. While I am not massively familiar with that bit of the network (I always preferred blasting through cities and living where there was no-one nearby), I would be careful of riding on a towpath at night.

There isn't the money to maintain the towpaths properly since British Waterways became a charity, and there are lots of potential areas where you could end up riding into the cut. Much of it is fine, but it is worth remembering that canal towpaths were not generally designed for cyclists.

Hitting a pothole and riding into a canal sounds funny, but at night if no-one was around, it could be the last thing you ever did. Accidents on water generally happen because people don't treat the water with respect.

mercalia
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Re: Birmingham canals at night

Postby mercalia » 17 Sep 2018, 10:51am

random37 wrote:I lived on a boat for years. While I am not massively familiar with that bit of the network (I always preferred blasting through cities and living where there was no-one nearby), I would be careful of riding on a towpath at night.

There isn't the money to maintain the towpaths properly since British Waterways became a charity, and there are lots of potential areas where you could end up riding into the cut. Much of it is fine, but it is worth remembering that canal towpaths were not generally designed for cyclists.

Hitting a pothole and riding into a canal sounds funny, but at night if no-one was around, it could be the last thing you ever did. Accidents on water generally happen because people don't treat the water with respect.


yes a silly idea to ride canal paths at night is my view ( unless they are the paved ones like in London)

Richard Fairhurst
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Re: Birmingham canals at night

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 17 Sep 2018, 12:21pm

random37 wrote:There isn't the money to maintain the towpaths properly since British Waterways became a charity


There wasn't the money to maintain them properly when BW was state-owned either!
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Si
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Re: Birmingham canals at night

Postby Si » 17 Sep 2018, 1:58pm

Noticed them resurfacing another section of the Birmingham-Wolverhampton mainline tow path last week...the bit opposite what was probably the worst section when I did it in the summer...at this rate the good paths at either end may one day join up.

PH
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Re: Birmingham canals at night

Postby PH » 17 Sep 2018, 2:29pm

Sweep wrote:they will see the proposed route with the canal bits usually highlighted in green for traffic free.

Never ridden the Birmingham canals at night, have ridden through the city centre in the early hours and found the roads pretty quiet.
Two little points - maybe Richard will confirm, but I'm pretty sure the green highlight on Cycletravel means unsurfaced, plenty of surfaced tracks are traffic free and not highlighted.
Second point - the train you're already catching probably doesn't terminate in Birmingham, neither does it carry on along the same trajectory. I made the mistake of watching my train leave the station in Stratford on Avon because the information board said Worcester which I knew wasn't in the same direction.... :oops: You may find that staying on the same train for a stop or two takes you away from the city to somewhere more pleasant to start the ride.
EDIT - Just had a quick look and it seems the Chiltern trains go on to Kidderminster. Cycletravel without any adjustments make that 3 miles longer to Prestwich. Though the default route from either still takes you through the centres of Wolverhampton, Stafford and Stoke. A little manipulation (Dragging slightly west) adds another 4 miles and avoids them, the extra distance Vs the urban navigation probably makes the longer route quicker and there's very little green highlight.
Looks like a good one, fancy some company?

brynpoeth
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Re: Birmingham canals at night

Postby brynpoeth » 17 Sep 2018, 5:17pm

Haven't been any direct trains from Stratford to Worcester for many years. Actually running trains through New Street and out the other side is great, more connections, the trains only stop at NS for a minute instead of waiting half an hour

The paths were made for horses to walk along slowly (5 kmh or less?), before that people used to drag the boats along. So they are really not designed for cycling at 20+ kmh

Used to know the Heart of England from the train, really hope to go cycling by the canals there sometime
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brynpoeth
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Re: Birmingham canals at night

Postby brynpoeth » 17 Sep 2018, 5:20pm

Reminded me of a great book I have, could not find it, gogled the title

Vivian Bird
By Lock and Pound, canal journeys from Birmingham

LTC Rolt wrote some good canal books too
Last edited by brynpoeth on 17 Sep 2018, 6:40pm, edited 1 time in total.
Cycling? Of course, but it is far better on a Gillott.. Alternative facts welcome

PH
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Re: Birmingham canals at night

Postby PH » 17 Sep 2018, 6:03pm

brynpoeth wrote:Haven't been any direct trains from Stratford to Worcester for many years. Actually running trains through New Street and out the other side is great, more connections, the trains only stop at NS for a minute instead of waiting half an hour

Mine went through Moor Street and a quick look at the timetable shows it's still running though not very frequent.

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RickH
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Re: Birmingham canals at night

Postby RickH » 17 Sep 2018, 9:49pm

It doesn't make much difference whether it is day or night if you ride through the Netherton Tunnel! :twisted:

JakobW
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Re: Birmingham canals at night

Postby JakobW » 17 Sep 2018, 10:21pm

I tend to save canal towpaths for my walking excursions unless directly advised that a given stretch is suitable; apart from the usual hazarda listed above, as a tall chap I'm always apprehensive cycling under those low bridges. For canal guides I cannot recommend Pearson's guides too highly ( http://www.jmpearson.co.uk ); though aimed in the first instance at boaters, they have a wealth of information for the walker, and are a delightful mix of history and geography, recounted with wit and erudition.

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Si
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Re: Birmingham canals at night

Postby Si » 18 Sep 2018, 8:37am

RickH wrote:It doesn't make much difference whether it is day or night if you ride through the Netherton Tunnel! :twisted:


You'd think so wouldn't you, but when you get to the bits where the there are ducts going straight upwards it's very different, assuming it's an uncloudy night. It's really weird seeing a large, infinity deep, circle of stars below you in the middle of the canal.

thornie1543
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Re: Birmingham canals at night

Postby thornie1543 » 18 Sep 2018, 3:59pm

I'm guessing the canal paths are in better nick than round where I live where they have huge wheel swallowing holes,sounds like you know the route though.