Birmingham Cyclist

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Anyone else go through Edgbaston tunnel on the canal path near Five Ways regularly? The lights in the long tunnel have been out for weeks. I reported it to the council on 2 July using the number on the sign, and called them again just now for an update. They eventually confessed it was nothing to do with their department, as they do Highways only, and put me through to a bemused man called Graham in another department. I've sent him a link with exact coordinates as apparently they had "trouble locating the tunnel". Has anyone else been calling? Apparently nothing can be done until a third man returns from holiday, and even then it may take weeks...

Is this a common occurence?! Is there any way we can put the pressure on collectively to get the lights fixed? It's horribly dark in the middle - especially when it's not particuarly bright outside!


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I'm assuming it would be the responsibility of the Canal and River Trust and not the council to fix the lights.

Contact details for the West Midlands are below but I couldn't see a telephone number there.

British Waterways own the tunnel so it would probably be their responsibility.

As a habitual wearer of photochromic glasses, I find that canal tunnels are horribly dark when it *is* bright outside.  :)

If you cycle through that tunnel on your 'bent, Kim, you are one amazing lady imho!

Kim said:

As a habitual wearer of photochromic glasses, I find that canal tunnels are horribly dark when it *is* bright outside.  :)

I haven't actually been through that one on the Streetmachine, only on my hybrid (which I'll generally use if I know I'm going to be doing towpaths - it's much better at tight corners and anti-cyclist barriers).  That said, my partner has been through the Edgbaston Tunnel on her trike a couple of times, which I reckon is far more impressive as it's only about an inch wider at the narrowest point!  It did need a bit of mudguard adjustment after one of the goes, though...

That tunnel claimed me for the second time today in broad daylight. It's either narrower bars or dismount from now on I think!

I've a feeling the path isn't the same width all the way through.  I'm fairly certain the height isn't.


When I cycle through there I flatten myself to as near as horizontal as possible and try and keep my handlebar the same distance from the railing all the way through.

Yep, it's definitely narrower in the middle - and that's where it's darkest now too. I generally wobble my way through each day or force myself to try and keep going in a straight line even though I can't see.

Good news is that the Graham and the council are now onto it, in conjunction with the Waterways Trust, and have emailed to say they are going to fix it soon. Hopefully ti won;t take another month...

I am glad I'm not the only one who struggles with it! Problem is if you are half way along and someone at the other end catches your eye you have had it! I don't think lights will help me to be honest I am just too wonky! But hope it improves things for everyone else. If you see me in a heap just humour me when I pretend my chain fell off !

I had a fun time trying to report this to the council on Friday - their system can't cope without giving a street name...

Anyway it was eventually logged in their system, however now I've read this I doubt they'll be able to do anything. They were passing it out their contractor and despite the detailed description I suspect they'll turn up on the bridge and have no clue how to get down to the path let alone fix them!

From an unrelated email reply from the Canal and River Trust their number is: West Midlands Waterways 01827 252000 if it's  of usefulness to anyone.

On Saturday a girl on a bike emerged from the tunnel crying and rubbing her shoulder, presumably because she couldn't see where she was going (I certainly can't; I just keep the light at the end dead ahead).

This is maddening. I last called BCC on 5 September and was assured by Graham MacNicol that this would be fixed within 2 weeks. I actually have stopped commuting down there now as I have a new job in a different area, but obviously they haven't fixed anything yet. Kristin, if you feel inclined, it might be worth you trying Graham at BCC and picking up my trail:

Graham MacNicol
Principal Engineer
Street Services Division
Tel: 0121-303-7664
Mob: 07803-259300

Graham told me that they needed to arrange a canal barge with a scaffold on it, in order to get up there and fix the lights. When I spoke to him on 5 September, he told me they had been down there and done a recce of what was needed already. So all that remains is to actually do it.

Phil Elwell was also copied in on an email Graham sent me ages ago on this, so yes, it might be worth trying him again too.

If the unlucky girl Robert describes is anything to go by, its clearly a dangerous issue that's only going to get worse as the days draw in. BCC are being ridiculous.  I first reported this back on 2 July!

Good luck!






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