A Virtual Stroll Along the Mickle Trafford-Shotton Railway

Here we see a detail of the track bed
of the old railway, over which trains once steamed between the now-vanished Northgate Station (the site of today's Northgate Arena) to Deeside and beyond.

The paraphernalia of the railway are long gone; the rails and signals have been torn up and the ground now boasts a covering of lush vegetation. At the time this photograph was taken- May 1999- the section illustrated, however, unaccountably seems to have resisted such encroachment.

We have left Blacon and the last of the conglomeration of urban Chester behind us now and rural peace prevails upon both sides. We spotted a weasel crossing the line near here.

In the distance, we see yet another of the handsome little sandstone bridges we have encountered all along the course of our stroll- this one carries a quiet lane through the fields to Hermitage Road, which takes you on to the village of Saughall- and a pint at the Egerton Arms, if you should feel the need...

We have now moved on
to the far side of the bridge illustrated above- and forward in time to a sunny Sunday afternoon fifteen months later, in August 2000. The old bridge and woodland remain much the same but the gravelly trackbed has been totally transformed.

Should it ever come about, Phase II of the two-lane CDTS busway would have to somehow be squeezed into the narrow space under this bridge and adjoining the new cycletrack. Just how this is to be achieved is at present far from clear.

We are now close to the Welsh border. The neighbouring authority, Flintshire, have made it clear that they are not interested in investing in CDTS but they have been expressing interest in constructing a tramway along their stretch of the old railway line. how this is to be made to interact with Chester's buses is also a mystery- and the problem of lack of space remains..

busesJust in case you were experiencing difficulty in visualising just how much space two buses side-by-side actually take, here is a rather fuzzy photograph taken at the Upton Park-and-Ride site. Compare their width with that of the cycleway above- not a lot in it, is there?

The bus photo, incidentally, originally appeared in the Chester local press at the end of August 2000 to accompany an appeal by Anne Jones of the Society for the Preservation of Rural England (CPRE) for the retention of the route as a haven for walkers and cyclists.

Observe the rural peace hinted at in the above photograph- or many of the other illustrations featured in our Virtual Stroll and visualise how much would remain once a concrete roadway wide enough to accomodate these two monsters was laid...

Go here for some 'artist's impressions' of how it will look- not a pleasant sight! And what would be left for the rest of us? Precious little it seems.

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