On the road to…Coventry
For only the second time this season, I make a trip not just to a stadium I’ve never been to, but a club I’ve never been to in the form of that fallen giant of the West Midlands, Coventry City. And, as is often the case with away trips to the Midlands, I undertook mine not from London, but from Nottingham.
Date: 19 November 2011
Stadium: Ricoh Arena
Away Section: South Stand
Score: Coventry City 1-2 West Ham United
Nearest station: Coventry
Local Rozzers: West Midlands Police
Total Travel Cost: £28.30p (1 x Off-Peak Return, 2 x Off-Peak Tram Only Singles + 1 Matchdaysaver)
NET Line 1 - Royal Centre to Nottingham Station Street (AT 6/5 Incentro)
11:37 – Nottingham to Birmingham New Street (CrossCountry Class 170 Turbostar)
13:03 – Birmingham New Street to Coventry (CrossCountry Class 221 Super Voyager)
17:48 (Arr 17:50) – Coventry to Rugby (London Midland Class 350 Desiro)
18:04 (Arr 18:11) – Rugby to Nuneaton (London Midland Class 350 Desiro)
18:51 (Arr 18:53) – Nuneaton to Leicester (CrossCountry Class 170 Turbostar)
19:30 – Leicester to Nottingham (East Midlands Trains InterCity 125 High Speed Train)
NET Line 1 - Nottingham Station Street to Royal Centre (AT 6/5 Incentro)
Station to Stadium: I have often commented on the building of new stadia on the outskirts of towns and cities, and their inevitable accessibility problems. The Ricoh Arena is possibly the zenith of this – not only is it not near the railway station, but it is also three miles from the city centre, so unless you live right on top of it, the only options are a car, or the football special provided by National Express Coventry that runs from Pool Meadow bus station non-stop to the stadium. Of course, you then have to get to the bus station from the railway station, but fortunately route 27 runs direct, and you can purchase a £3.50 “Matchday Saver” ticket that allows unrestricted travel on all National Express buses, including the football special, all day. A good thing if getting to the stadium from the station and back requires four buses.
Anything else?: The Coventry-Nuneaton line runs right next to the stadium, and there are very long term proposals to build a railway station to serve it. However, this will be long after the Ricoh Arena (as the City of Coventry Stadium) plays host to the Olympic Football tournament in 2012, which makes you wonder why the Olympic Delivery Authority didn’t offer to put up some money to build the station in time for the Olympics.