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The Lichfield Canal has to tunnel under the busy Cross-city railway line from Lichfield to Birmingham through a well-elevated embankment, a difficult obstacle in terms of railway management, especially where there are foundations for overhead line electrification equipment as there are in this case. In 2007, despite those in the “it can’t be done” camp, when the Lichfield Southern Bypass was to reach Birmingham Road the Trust raised £490,000 without grants to install a canal culvert under the new roadway, stopping just short of the railway embankment. Plans by County Highways to extend the Southern Bypass are well advanced where there is a vital Agreement in Principle with Network Rail to drive the road through and install a new railway bridge during a brief possession of the line, probably in late 2018. That means work must begin many months before that.
Design specifications mean that the road and canal culvert have to stand apart by a short distance with the culvert still below road level, which obviously could have a dynamic influence on the bridge abutments. The work is such that it would be immensely more difficult and substantially more expensive to construct the culvert after the road is completed, and particularly so if proposals for two 400+ house developments either side of the railway go ahead. Will 25 years of successful restoration be “stopped in its tracks” and placed beyond reach?
Above, Birmingham Road roundabout and beyond it the railway embankment through which the new bypass road and canal will be tunnelled.
A culvert for the canal has already been installed under the roundabout at the time of its construction in 2007.
Below, February 2007 and the culvert is nearing completion. The line of the canal can be seen heading towards the middle catenary support. The catenary is the main reason the road and canal tunnels have to be separated.
Read more here
Left - An artist’s impression by Andrew Wood looking towards the southern bypass with the new canal tunnel on the left and the new road bridge on the right.
A culvert has already been installed under the roundabout on the opposite side of the railway embankment to connect with the new tunnel.
Below left - A Google Earth view of approximately the same location.
Click the pictures for a larger view
Bird’s eye view of the site
Roll your mouse or click over picture
Sketch by Peter Buck January 2016
Whilst routine works still go ahead with modest funding streams, professional estimates put the cost of this railway tunnel upwards of £1 million. In reality, this must be in hand by the end of 2017 so that contract commitments by the County Council can be made with certainty. It can be done, it must be done, but institutional funding is not the answer. Success depends on the heart of the nation in responding to the Lichfield Canal “Tunnel Vision” Appeal.
|Working Party Blog|
|Cut Both Ways|
|Teddy Bear's Club|
|Feet of Clay Appeal|
|David Suchet Appeal|
|Lichfield Canal Maps|
|Hatherton Canal Maps|
|Heritage Towpath Trail|
|Stretegy and Policies|
|Lichfield Canal Overview|
|Lichfield Canal Aqueduct|
|The First Lord Hatherton|
|Hatherton Canal Overview|
|History of the W & E|
|Darnford Lane Restoration|
|Tamworth Road Restoration|
|Heritage Towpath Trail|
|Working Party Blogs|
|Cut Both Ways Archive|
|Published Reports Index|
|Hatherton Feasibilty Study|
|Hatherton Supplementary Feasibilty Study|
|Lichfield Canal Feasibilty Study|
|Festivals, Shows and Rallies|
|Aerial Views of Lichfield Canal|
|Hatherton Canal in the 50's|
|Cannock Extension in 1962|
|Environment Event 2006|
|Teddy Bears Club|
|HHG News 2015|
|Huddlesford Gathering 2015|
|Huddlesford Gathering 2013|
|Huddlesford Gathering 2011|
|Huddlesford Gathering 2009|
|Huddlesford Gathering 2007|
|Huddlesford Gathering 2004|