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News article created on 19 February 2015

Central Birmingham canal drained

We're currently draining a 200-metre stretch of the Worcester & Birmingham Canal in central Birmingham to investigate a potential leak following reports of water seen escaping into a service road beneath the canal.

It is thought that water may be escaping from the bottom of a historic canal aqueduct, which was constructed to carry a now disused railway under the canal, now in the ownership of Network Rail.

Boats currently moored in the affected stretch between the Mailbox and Gas Street Basin are being moved further along the canal before the water is drained. A specialist fish rescue team will be on hand tomorrow (20 February) to remove the thousands of fish that will be in the waterway.

Thoroughly inspect the aqueduct

Hayley Harper, from the Canal & River Trust, said: “The leak appears to be quite significant so we need to know as soon as possible exactly where it’s coming from. The only way we can know for sure is to drain the canal and thoroughly inspect the aqueduct. I can’t remember the last time we drained this part of the canal so it will also be interesting to see what other changes have occurred to the canal bed as well as finding out exactly what has caused this leak.”

The towpath remains open for the time being and the canal will be back open to boaters as quickly as possible. We will be able to give an update on the likely duration of the closure sometime next week once we have thoroughly investigated the aqueduct.