Show me the way from Birmingham to Norwich (UK)
September 22, 2005 3:16 AM   Subscribe

I need to get from Birmingham in the UK to Norwich in the UK without a car. What is the most efficient route to take if I want to go by Coach or Rail (i.e. National Express etc.). The "direct" route seems to take about 5 or 6 hours which is ridiculous. I feel sure there must be a much quicker option involving stopping off somewhere in between and catching another coach or train etc. If anyone can advise me I'd be extremely grateful. TIA.
posted by empedia to Travel & Transportation (14 answers total)
The National Rail Journey Planner has it taking 3h44m via Peterborough. The Traveline journey planner (which finds the fastest possible route using any form of transport) concurs.
posted by cillit bang at 3:39 AM on September 22, 2005

Response by poster: I know the official journey times from Birmingham I just feel sure that there must be an indirect route which is faster - particularly for National Express etc. as I'd prefer to go by coach if possible.

Thanks for your help
posted by empedia at 3:46 AM on September 22, 2005

Given the cross-country routing, it's pretty hard to imagine doing it faster. Google Maps says distance is 160mi and driving time is 3h46 so the coach isn't going to beat the train on this one.
posted by sagwalla at 4:14 AM on September 22, 2005

The main problem for you is that Norwich has no motorway going to it. This means that going an 'indirect' route has no particular advantage to going direct. The fastest indirect route I would guess is via London but the express Bir-Lon is 2h40m and Lon-Nor is 3h (not allowing for the connection) so you don't save anything.
posted by Cuppatea at 4:29 AM on September 22, 2005

I can confirm that anyone seeking to get to Norwich from a given location by road can expect to endure a long and not entirely interesting journey through some of the UK's leading hellholes.
posted by Jofus at 4:36 AM on September 22, 2005

Maybe I wasn't clear. The Traveline planner checks for unofficial routes involving a mix of modes of transport, and still says getting the train is fastest.
posted by cillit bang at 4:40 AM on September 22, 2005

England is not as small as you may imagine, and you're talking about travelling from the west side to an isolated town at almost the easternmost point of the country. The transport system, both rail and road, in the UK is set up as a hub and spoke system, with London being the hub. Birmingham and Norwich are far enough removed from London to make going in to London and coming back out again worthless, so cross-country is what you're left with. I would suggest you have the best answer you're going to get in that it will take you four hours, give or take, by train or road.
posted by benzo8 at 4:44 AM on September 22, 2005

It took me more than 4 hours to drive my own car from the outskirts of Birmingham to the outskirts of Norwich last month, going 80 mph where I could, so 5 or 6 hours seems entirely reasonable, when you factor in that the coach goes from city centre to city centre and (hopefully) doesn't exceed the speed limit
posted by Pericles at 5:14 AM on September 22, 2005

I think the first answer from cillit bang was right. My (limited) experience driving Cambridge to Norwich and Cambridge to Bristol suggests no particular time advantage by road.
I would go rail unless the number of travellers made this uneconomical.
posted by bystander at 5:37 AM on September 22, 2005

Jofus - which hellholes might such a drive offer?
posted by rolypolyman at 5:58 AM on September 22, 2005

Jofus - which hellholes might such a drive offer?

If one starts their journey in Birmingham, then Birmingham.
posted by wackybrit at 6:29 AM on September 22, 2005

I've more or less done this journey, or at least the Peterborough-Norwich leg. There is no alternative. And National Express is not an 'efficient' way to reach East Anglia. (Steve Coogan put Alan Partridge in Norwich for a reason.)
posted by holgate at 6:42 AM on September 22, 2005

As cillit bang said - for this journey I'd let the train take the strain.

Also I'd recommend, in addition to the Traveline, Transport Direct which has some pretty useful journey planning options.
posted by patricio at 7:47 AM on September 22, 2005

Response by poster: Excellent. Guess its the train or nothing then for me. Thanks all for your answers.
posted by empedia at 8:13 AM on September 22, 2005

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