A Virtual Stroll Along the Mickle Trafford-Shotton Railway

railway station

Here the cycletrack on the old Mickle Trafford railway
passes above the British Rail main line junction, where one branch enters Chester Station and the other sweeps west into North Wales.

Large areas of land currently lie derelict between the railway lines and West Street.

A pedestrian and cycle path could easily be provided hereabouts to allow commuters convenient access both to the station and the area around Brookside Terrace and West Street- seen in the distance- from where Hoole Road could be easily reached.
But here, photographed in late July 2000, is the completed and newly-opened SUSTRANS cycleway close to the railway bridge crossing, with Brook Lane running to our right. The handrail of a flight of steps for pedestrians may be seen on the right and a ramp connecting the cycleway to Brook Lane is hidden behind the bank of flowering Bay Willow Herb. How incredibly quickly nature has repaired the damage caused during the construction of the cycleway!

The lady approaching us may be just the sort of person who would be nervous about cycling along the busy nearby roads, but here is allowed to travel in safety and perfect peace.

What a great pity it would be, then, if much of the idyllic scene in our picture were to be destroyed by the laying of a two-lane concrete busway along the route!...

Here is a dramatic photograph, kindly contributed by Hoole resident Ralph Hodgkinson, of the same area back on the 23rd March 1957 (at 12.52 pm!) During his working life, Ralph actually drove these mighty beasts along this line.

We can see locomotive 62669 as it roars over the bridge which crosses the Chester main line shown at the top of the page. Brook Lane can be seen on the right hand side of the picture. The industrial area beyond- an aluminium processor and switchgear factory- is now the site of the Duke's Manor housing estate..

"Being a regular user of the Sustrans cycleway, I see the many cyclists and walkers who enjoy this tranquil space. I can let my 17-month-old son walk on his own without any fears and see many families with young chilren who walk and cycle free from any danger, noise or pollution.
One would think that the council would be proud of having had a hand in providing this wonderful 'country feel' resource for the people who put them in power. But instead they are intent, for their own purposes, on destroying it and adding more concrete to this already built up area.
Why can they not see what a disaster and a tremendous waste of money the CDTS would be?
Now that the cycleway is established and being enjoyed by so many people, please can they think again? It takes a strong person to admit that they are wrong and to reconsider rather than pushing on blindly with such a flawed scheme. There are better ways of spending this money!

Sue Thompson, 29 Shavington Avenue, Hoole, Chester: September 2000

Many more letters regarding the Busway are here.

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