Today felt like summer had arrived. I came home from work to find my daughter and friend sunbathing in the garden and we ate outside. Anyone who has spent the last few cold wet weeks in the UK will know how significant this is.
So it was the perfect evening for a bike ride. Heading down a little lane from Oakhanger you find this crossing:
This raises the question of whether a bike is a slow vehicle which would require me to phone someone!
There is a single track line here, although the gate and the wide verge in the next picture make me wonder whether this used to be a double track:
Of course I immediately thought Spare flat space all the way from Alsager to Crewe, perfect for a new bike path. Whether cyclists would like to be quite so close to trains is another matter. They could be preferable to cars and trucks though, they don’t swerve about for one thing.
This ride goes through the pretty village of Barthomley, where I nearly took a picture of all the outdoor drinkers but felt a bit intrusive, so rode on past. Looping back I arrived at the second crossing, at Radway Green, where there are definitely two tracks. Is this a sign that there used to be two tracks all the way to Crewe, or is it just that there was a station for the factory workers at the explosives factory?
Local rumour has it that the armament factory was built to look like a terrace of houses to prevent it being targetted in bombing raids. From this viewpoint that certainly seems plausible:
A detour down Hall Drive brought me to Crossing number three where there is also a subway:
Now why have both? My theory is that the subway was there first, but the farmer beyond the line complained that he couldn’t get his tall machinery through, so he got a level crossing. Unfortunately they then went and electrified the line…
Passing some fishing ponds leads to a pleasant path beside a stream, all perfectly rideable and a nice find as I’ve never been this way before.
The path emerges at Fanny’s Croft near Alsager station which gets me to the final crossing:
If any reader likes a challenge, can you find a route that starts and finishes in Alsager with five crossings of the line?