Alsager has a bike track that runs along the route of the old Salt Line, which took coal and other stuff from Stoke on Trent into Cheshire and returned with salt. The track is well used by walkers and families with young children, but it doesn’t really go anywhere, so when you ride the saltline you tend to turn round at the end and ride it back again.
Only a short stretch of the original line (A mile and a half) has become the bike track. What a missed opportunity! This could have provided a continuous route from Alsager to Sandbach.
You can see from the picture that it’s not exactly geared to the commuter. Fences and strange gates designed to deter motorcycling teenagers obstruct the way and the surface is not brilliant.
The picture shows the Eastern end of the line. The route of the line continues for another mile and a half before rejoining the existing railway. I wonder why this section was not upgraded? It’s the obvious natural extension of the line, which could easily run through to the B 5077.
An existing footpath runs along this route and the upgrade to Cycle Path would be relatively easy and cheap. But no doubt this has all been thought about before and there will be politics in the background that I’m unaware of. And yet I can’t help wondering whether it’s the right time for someone to try again. Cycling is on the up, even out here in the sticks. Our kids are also getting fat.
If the Salt Line were extended along the route in the map, it would arrive here, right by some cute Shetland ponies.
Ordnance Survey maps are full of these sad ‘dismantled railways’ so full of nostalgia and lost opportunity. Sustrans are reclaiming and transforming them. Perhaps there is yet hope for an extended Salt Line.