Old Main Line

About 2 years ago, we walked the BCN new main line from Birmingham city centre to Tipton: this Saturday we took the old route, or at least the part of it that doesn’t just loop around in Birmingham- near the centre the new canal cuts across the old one several times, resulting in several loops that carried on serving factories. We’ll revisit and walk those another time.

The old main line proper splits from the new at Smethwick Junction, then goes up and over the summit level at Smethwick, while the new line just cuts straight through. Some of the old line looks very rural for Smethwick, though not the grim bit just north of the (modern) Summit tunnel where I ended up ankle deep in mud and oil….

The journey through West Bromwich and Oldbury is pretty industrial, and the M5 is dead overhead for some time too: in fact we had a detour around a 200 yard section as repairs were being done to the M5 above. We passed very close to Netherton Tunnel (a future visit), and ended up at Tipton. A well deserved couple of pints, but no pies this time. We reckon this was another 11 mile job by the time we were done, but the GPS batteries packed in.

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