A Virtual Stroll Along the Mickle Trafford-Shotton Railway

chester collegeHere we see part of the Cheyney Road campus of Chester College as viewed from the old Mickle Trafford-Deeside railway line, photographed at the end of 1997. Not much evidence of bicycling students here!

Nontheless, this is an obvious and beneficial location for providing cycle and pedestrian access between the college and the projected greenway- there is plenty of space, the slope down from the line is moderate and a ramp could be easily constructed here, thus providing a valuable commuter route for Chester's large student population.

It seems a shame that the gate connecting the campus with the towpath of the Shropshire Union Canal (which we shall cross soon), another valuable car-free route, is, for 'security reasons', currently kept permanently locked- as was remarked upon in
September 2000 by a correspondent in the local press:

"It looks to me as if the surfacing of the canal towpath and creating the Sustrans route down the old Mickle Trafford to Shotton railway line could have more potential to improve the health of many Cestrians than a whole raft of central government sponsored health initiatives could ever hope to achieve.

The number of people of all ages who are walking and cycling because of this new network is evidence of the beginnings of culture change within Chester. People are realising that walking and cycling are a pleasant and realistic alternatives to taking the car for short local joumeys.

We now have surfaced traffic-free corridors running north to south (the canal) and east to west (the Sustrans route) and they link up with each other. Instead of planning to spend millions of pounds on putting in the car-dependent busway against the will of most Cestrians, the Joint Councils should consider spending just thousands on creative ways to expand this network.
What we need is more access points and feeder routes leading off the main corridors e.g. Iink up the Deva link road cycleway by a ramp to the canal beside Chester College.

Whilst on the subject of Chester College, it's ridiculous that even though it is bordered on one side by the Sustrans route and on another by the canal that it still doesn't allow access into campus for students or lecturers from these routes. We are not talking "rocket science" here but it seems too much for the intransigent "powers that be" at the college. Let's see some action on this.

Graeme Lyall, 47 Oaklea Avenue, Hoole, Chester

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