Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

On the road to…Aston Villa

Posted in Great Britain, On the road..., Other general stuff about railways by Chairman Pip on 13 February 2013

When one goes to watch football in England, there are certain places that perhaps resonate more than others. Wembley, the “Venue of Legends” is of course the ultimate one, one that I’m forever pleased to say I’ve now been to. As a Londoner, supporting a London club, trips to our local rivals are also up there. But then there are others, those major, major grounds that have history for practically everyone, which is what this one does – this one, the scene of yet another of those magical moments in my personal story, the home of Aston Villa.

Date: 10th February 2013
Stadium: Villa Park
Capacity: 42,788
Attendance: 30,503
Away Section: Doug Ellis Stand
Score: Aston Villa 2-1 West Ham United
Nearest station: Witton
Local rozzers: West Midlands Police
Total Travel Cost: £20.50 (1 x Off-Peak Day Return, 1 x Tram Only Dayrider)

Rail journeys:
NET Line 1Lace Market to Nottingham Station Street (AT6/5 Incentro)
10:27 – Nottingham to Leicester (East Midlands Trains InterCity 125 High Speed Train)
11:19 (Dep 11:21) – Leicester to Birmingham New Street (CrossCountry Class 170 Turbostar)
12:43 – Birmingham New Street to Witton (London Midland Class 323)
15:17 – Witton to Birmingham New Street (London Midland Class 170 Turbostar)
16:12 – Birmingham New Street to Derby (CrossCountry Class 220 Voyager)
17:40 – Derby to Nottingham (CrossCountry Class 170 Turbostar)
NET Line 1 – Nottingham Station Street to Royal Centre (AT6/5 Incentro)

Station to Stadium: Villa Park is unquestionably seen as one of the great stadia in England; one that all those that follow a club feel they want to go to at least once. So, it is perhaps fortunate that, while its position is not totally equidistant, it does sit between a pair of railway stations, making it somewhat easier to arrive at the ground from different directions. Of the two (Aston and Witton), Witton is the closer by some margin, being only around 500m from the entrance to the away section as the crow flies. Of course, fans will have to walk, which makes it a little bit longer. Coming out of the platform onto Witton Road means you need to turn left under the railway bridge, and then take the next left onto Manor Road, at which point you can see the stadium over the roofs of the surrounding buildings.

Anything else?: In my personal experience, Aston Villa is the only away trip I have made where “football specials” still run. These run on the former freight section of the Chase Line before turning back towards Birmingham New Street. As a consequence, it is possible on these trains to arrive and leave Witton on the same platform.

Witton railway station

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