Birmingham & Black Country

Canal at Gas Street in Birmingham to be drained due to leak

The aqueduct over Holliday Street
Image caption Canal and River Trust said the leak had been reported near the aqueduct over Holliday Street

A canal in Birmingham city centre is to be drained as water is leaking close to a railway line.

The stretch of water that runs alongside Gas Street links the Worcester and Birmingham Canal to the Birmingham Canal Main Line.

A Canal and River Trust spokeswoman said the leak had been reported near the aqueduct over Holliday Street and work would start as soon as possible.

She said the work, affecting a 656ft (200m) section, would take weeks.

The site provides a mooring for many boats and is a popular route for boating holidays.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Gas Street Basin was once a busy transport hub linking the Worcester and Birmingham Canal to the Birmingham Canal Main Line

The leaks are thought to be going into a railway arch. The railway runs underground, close to Holliday Street.

Boat owners are to be informed individually of the work and a "fish rescue" will take place once water levels have dropped.

"We will drain the water down and then carry out a fish rescue so we can move them out of the area before we begin work," Sarah Rudy of the Canal and River Trust said.

Hayley Harper, the project manager, said there had not been a lot of time to plan the necessary work.

"Leaks were reported, I understand, over the weekend and they are getting worse," she said.

"We will be closing the safety gates in the canal and putting pumps in to take out the water until levels are nearly at the bottom.

"We can't say what the problem is at the moment until we can get the water drained away.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Birmingham Canal Main Line, which starts at Gas Street, was designed by Thomas Telford

"No boats will be able to get into that area and it will have quite a big impact."

Trains unaffected

She estimated the work would take a minimum of a month to complete.

Network Rail said the leak was not affecting rail services.

"Water from the canal is entering a disused railway tunnel in the area," a spokesman said.

"It is not impacting on trains and we are in regular contact with the Canal and River Trust."

But boater John Mappley, who is moored outside The Cube said it was an "inconvenience".

"We came up the Grand Union Canal and were going to continue to Dudley tomorrow but now we can't. We will go up the Worcester and Birmingham Canal instead. It's an inconvenience but we're not complaining.

"We did come across a couple who had not been told and they had to turn around. It would have taken them three or four days to get back to their base instead of half a day if we hadn't seen them."

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