Curzon Street Tunnel - a Historic Gem!

The Curzon Street Tunnel was built over the Digbeth Branch Canal in 1838. The engineer was J. Locke. It provided access above to the original Curzon Street Station. It is 49 yards long.

Where is the Curzon Street Tunnel?

The Curzon Street Tunnel is on the Digbeth Branch Canal, B4 7XG. The South Portal is near Fazeley Street, and the North Portal near Curzon Street (and the current HS2 site).


In brief

The Digbeth Branch Canal was opened in 1799. It was built by the Birmingham Canal Navigations Company to link the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal to the Warwick & Birmingham Canal (now the Grand Union) in Digbeth. The railway bridge behind the canal lock is part of the first railway line between London and Birmingham built during 1837 to 1838.

Curzon Street TunnelCurzon Street Tunnel (September 2018). Photography by Elliott Brown


Curzon Street Tunnel - history

The Digbeth Branch Canal was opened in 1799, from Fazeley Street at Typhoo Basin (now sealed off), towards Aston Junction, where it was joined onto the Birmingham & Fazeley Canal. At Digbeth Junction it connects to the Grand Union Canal (Digbeth Branch). Originally this was the Warwick & Birmingham Canal at Warwick Bar.

The London and Birmingham Railway and the Grand Junction Railway built their railway lines into Curzon Street, which opened in 1838. The engineer of the line here was J. Locke. The north-east elevation is unaltered, and is still a brick and stone tunnel, while the south-west face was incorporated into a bridge widening when the line was carried through to New Street. It is built of brick with ashlar dressings.

The original bridge was 49 yards in depth, with a slightly skew brickwork to the vault above.

The 1838 section of the railway bridge into Curzon Street Station has been Grade II listed since 1982.

Curzon Street TunnelFrosty morning from the Curzon Street Tunnel near Ashted Bottom Lock (January 2019). Photography by Elliott Brown


North Portal to South Portal, Curzon Street Tunnel

You can access the canal towpath from Curzon Street.  Walk down the ramp, then go past the Ashted Bottom Lock. Walk along the towpath in the tunnel on the left. It gets dark inside, but there are lights inside.

Curzon Street Tunnel

Curzon Street Tunnel

Curzon Street Tunnel

Curzon Street Tunnel

Curzon Street Tunnel

Curzon Street Tunnel

Curzon Street TunnelCurzon Street Tunnel - North Portal to South Portal (April 2017). Photography by Elliott Brown


South Portal to North Portal, Curzon Street Tunnel

Head down to the towpath from Fazeley Street in Digbeth, then head over the bridge at Digbeth Junction (where the Grand Union Canal meets the Digbeth Branch). Continue until you enter the tunnel at the South Portal. The towpath is on the right. Emerge from the darkness near Ashted Bottom Lock, and exit (if you wish) at Curzon Street.

Curzon Street Tunnel

Curzon Street Tunnel

Curzon Street Tunnel

Curzon Street Tunnel

Curzon Street Tunnel

Curzon Street TunnelCurzon Street Tunnel - South Portal to North Portal (August 2021). Photography by Elliott Brown


We hope you enjoyed our feature about The Curzon Street Tunnel. 


Project dates

19 Aug 2021 - On-going


History & heritage, Transport, Rivers, lakes & canals


Your Place Your Space

Jonathan Bostock

0121 410 5520