Edgbaston Tunnel - A Historic Gem!

The Edgbaston Tunnel is on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal. It is next to a tunnel on the Cross City Line, they both run under Church Road in Edgbaston. The towpath was widened in 2018.


Where is the Edgbaston Tunnel?

The Edgbaston Tunnel is on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal, below Church Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham, B15 3SJ. It is next to the railway tunnel on the Cross City Line, and between Hallfield School and Sunrise Edgbaston.

 

In brief

Edgbaston Tunnel is a 105 yards long canal tunnel on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal in Edgbaston. It was built during the 1790s to link Birmingham to Selly Oak, and eventually Worcester. The towpath was widened in early 2018. The nearby Church Road railway tunnel was built next to it almost a century later in 1876, on what was then called the Birmingham West Suburban Railway (now part of the Cross City Line).

Edgbaston TunnelEdgbaston Tunnel on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal (May 2018). Photography by Elliott Brown

 

Edgbaston Tunnel - history

The Worcester & Birmingham Canal was constructed between 1792 from the Birmingham end, reaching Worcester by 1815.

The canal reached Selly Oak by about 1795, so it is fair to assume that the Edgbaston Tunnel was built sometime between 1792 and 1795.

It is highly likely that the tunnel was dug out by navvies using picks and shovels. Built of red brick, the Edgbaston Tunnel is 96 metres long (105 yards long). It is well under Church Road.

Today the closest exits with steps are on Islington Row Middleway (near Five Ways Station) and at The Vale (University of Birmingham student accommodation).

Running parallel with the canal is what is today the Cross City Line. This railway line was built as the Birmingham West Suburban Railway from 1876 until 1885.

The Church Road Tunnel was built next to the Edgbaston Tunnel along with a Church Road Station which opened in 1876, not far from the North East Portal of the Edgbaston Tunnel. The station closed in 1925.

Located close to the South West Portal is Hallfield School and near the North East Portal is Sunrise of Edgbaston. When you are up on Church Road, it is a bit hard to see the canal and railway line from above (the brick wall is too high and there is a lot of tree coverage).

During 2018, the Canal & River Trust closed the tunnel, so that they could widen the towpath. This was completed by about May 2018. And now there is more space for cyclists and walkers alike, even with painted lines and "Slow" signs.

Take our post link to Edgbaston Tunnel.

 

Edgbaston Tunnel - South West to North East portals

You can get onto the Worcester & Birmingham Canal from either University of Birmingham (Westgate/University Road West), Somerset Road, or from The Vale.

Follow the towpath towards the Edgbaston Tunnel, it runs parallel with the Church Road railway tunnel on the Cross City Line.

The canal tunnel is about 96 metres long. The towpath in the tunnel was widened in 2018. From this side, you might see Hallfield School to the left .

Photos below were taken in 2016, about two years before the towpath was widened inside of the tunnel.

Edgbaston Tunnel

Edgbaston Tunnel

Edgbaston Tunnel

Edgbaston Tunnel

Edgbaston Tunnel

Edgbaston Tunnel

Edgbaston Tunnel

Edgbaston TunnelEdgbaston Tunnel, Worcester & Birmingham Canal (April 2016). Photography by Elliott Brown

 

Edgbaston Tunnel - North East to South West portals

After the towpath was widened on the Edgbaston Tunnel in 2018, there was new railings installed, as well as SLOW signs and ramps at both ends.

You can get onto the Worcester & Birmingham Canal anywhere between The Mailbox and The Cube to Islington Row Middleway (which is the last steps from a road before The Vale). Walk down the towpath, the railway will be on the right. Look out for cyclists before walking into the tunnel. You may occasionally see narrowboats going through the tunnel.

Edgbaston Tunnel

Edgbaston Tunnel

Edgbaston Tunnel

Edgbaston Tunnel

Edgbaston Tunnel

Edgbaston TunnelEdgbaston Tunnel, Worcester & Birmingham Canal (December 2018). Photography by Elliott Brown

 

We hope you have enjoyed our feature about The Edgbaston Tunnel. 

Project dates

22 Aug 2021 - On-going

Passions

History & heritage, Transport, Rivers, lakes & canals

Contact

Your Place Your Space

Jonathan Bostock

0121 410 5520
jonathan.bostock@ yourplaceyourspace.com