The slower route is by London Midland all the way.
But as Chris Tarrant was wont to say, "but we don't want to sell you that!" The journey can be cheaper than £21.05. Of course it can be very much cheaper if you buy restricted "Advance" train-specific deals.
How come? The answer is a ...
The ticket is valid from 0900 Monday to Friday (all day Saturday, Sumday and Bank Holidays) over a wide range of lines radiating from Birmingham as shown on this map (click on it to enlarge).
Anyway, Alan was setting off to the Stafford Model Railway Show. Here the fares options are even more insane ...
Alan, of course, bought the Ranger and used it for a somewhat circuitous route home; of which more in due course.
And finally; The Lone Ranger never removed his mask, appearing undisguised only in disguise! Here's what he (as Clayton Moore) really looked like.