Sunday 26 April 2015

Ashton Canal Update

A quick update on the resurfacing of the Ashton Canal towpath as part of the Velocity 2025 works. We managed to walk the entire canal today in the sunshine and saw the progress being made. The first section of the canal path is unchanged.

There was some litter picking and planting being done by volunteers around New Islington.

The sections of cobbles at the locks are as bad as ever, and getting worse with the water and frost damage over the winter.

The Cyclists dismount signs have not been removed.

The wide section of path along the side of the Football Academy is now beginning to look good with the new trees planted. This was not part of the Velocity works.

Unfortunately the anti-cycling barriers have not been removed - this is the only one where the gate remains locked, though wider machines can get a bit more space on the right.

The new section of tarmac starts just after Clayton Lane.

Though the cobbles are not being covered, which is dangerous.

What this does mean is that it is now possible to reach the Stockport Branch Canal route from the centre of Manchester without having to cycle through mud.

At Crabtree Lane there is more sign of the work being in progress.

Along this section some of the locks didn't have cobbles so the path is fully tarmaced.

Again the barriers have not been removed.

The tarmac currently runs out at the Marina in Fairfield, the junction with the old Holinwood Branch Canal.

The path is gravel from here awaiting the tarmac finish.

After the bridge under Market Street, the tarmac returns. Care is needed at this point as it is the works base. It is good to see that they are using the canal to transport the stone from this point.

Unfortunately whilst the path itself is going to have a high quality finish for most of the way, the same can't be said for the access paths at the moment.

The tarmac ends just before the Hill Lane bridge.

From here some sections have yet to get the gravel foundation.

The last section of gravel

ends at the bridge under the M60 motorway.

From here on there has been nothing done to the path and e saw several people cycling gingerly through the mud.

Those on road and touring bikes were not doing at all well.

The path is very bad in places.

The last section through Guide Bridge isn't too bad

and the sign just before the junction with the Peek Forest Canal suggests that the resurfacing will get this far.

For updates on the path works and closures you can go to the Canal and River Trust web site.

Saturday 25 April 2015

April Showers Critical Mass

This month saw a good turnout, despite the forecast rain.

However, we faced a city centre gridlocked with traffic.

We spent several minutes waiting to get down one side of Albert Square,

before deciding to turn left down Southmill Street, led by our youngest rider ever :)

Out on Deansgate the traffic wasn't much better and the ride held together as a group rather than trying to squeeze past the traffic. It made this ride feel very safe despite the conditions.

There was much discussion about the route as we tried to escape the gridlock.

Out onto Whitworth Street West we finally found the space to ride.

We then weaved round onto Hulme Street and onto Oxford Road as the rain began to fall lightly.


Finally, we reached the Northern Quarter, which for me feels like the spiritual home of the ride.

There were two tandems with us again.

The ride got into a bit of a twist trying to negotiate the traffic, at one point performing a U-turn in Picadilly to avoid getting trapped without a right turn off London Road.

There were two sound systems, the other being the trike.

Gently does it across the tram tracks...

We passed three fire engines in Spring Gardens, apparently there had been an overheating light bulb in the pretentious new hotel.

After some unconventional navigation round the roadworks the ride turned into Bridge Street and into Salford.

I left the ride as it crossed Chapel Street. It was a somewhat damp ride with heavy traffic, but the ride was highly sociable and felt very safe with people all looking out for each other.

Sunday 19 April 2015

Getting moving: a cycling manifesto for Greater Manchester

Are you responsible for a company, corporation or charity which would like to show its support for cycling in Greater Manchester?

Love Your Bike has updated its cycling manifesto for Greater Manchester and is now looking for new signatory organisations to support the updated manifesto.

Image from Love Your Bike

You can find out more about how to become a signatory and what it means to you.

Contact Love Your Bike by email at or tweet to @gmloveyourbike to show your support.

Tyldesley Loopline 1 - Monton to Roe Green - Updated

This route is entirely traffic free and runs for just over one and a half miles along the disused trackbed of the Tyldesley Loopline in Salford. The Tyldesley Loopline was part of the London and North Western Railway's line from Eccles to Kenyon Junction on the Liverpool and Manchester Railway. The line opened in 1864 and closed in 1969. Part of this route is covered by a Herritage Trail leaflet.

This post covers the section from the site of Monton Green Station through Worsley Station to the junction with Roe Green Loop Line at Roe Green and has been updated with some new photos now that much of this section has been extensively resurfaced.

The site of Monton Green Station was several feet above this small roundabout on the B5229. The  station has been completely demolished, as has all sign of the line to the south. There is no signage at all on this road pointing out the start of the railpath, which is on the right just after the roundabout despite it being part of NCN Route 55.

This is the entrance, the winding path that begins behind the red barrier. There is no drop kerb or any other concession to pedal cycles. The entrance to the left of the picture leads to a brand new car park, so drivers have been well looked after...

The path leads up a short slope into the trees and straight into the one and only barrier on this section of path. It is a horrible U-bend barrier with a bike A-frame bypass. Enough to defeat some pedal cycles, but not as bad as many in Salford.

Once through the barrier you can get a glimpse of the car park on your left, and wonder how much it must have cost compared to the resurfacing of the path...

This first section of the path is well surfaces with a reddish tarmac. It runs along a wide embankment with trees on both sides. Unfortunately there has been little management of the trees and you get just a few glimpses of the open views on both sides.

To the left at this point is Broadoak Park the subject of a residents' battle to prevent it being built on, now a residents' victory and to the right is Worsley Golf Course.

About 3/4 of a mile up the path it crosses a stream on a rebuilt bridge

and brings you to the site of Worsley Station. Unlike most other former stations in the area, this one still has some reminder of it's existence with platforms on both sides.

At the end of the old platforms there is access via Hollyhurst, the old station access road up onto the A572 Worsley Road.

Here is where the resurfacing work starts. The new surface is a very smooth black tarmac without the usual grit finish, suitable for all cycles.

Just to the north the path passes under Worsley Road, through a rebuilt bridge, much smaller than the original.

The bridge is a corrugated iron tube and the old wooden gate that used to sit across the path here has been removed.

Beyond, the extensive drainage works can be seen on the left. Somewhere along here a short branch  line to the Bridgewater Canal joined this line from the left, but I have never noticed the junction amongst the various footpaths.

New access steps have been installed along the route with groves for wheeling a bicycle up and down, but they are useless for anything heavy or with a trailer.

At the bridge under the M60 the trees have been cut back and a new bench has been added.

However, there is still no lighting under the bridge.

A short way further on the trees on the left disappear, along with the embankment.

This is the site of a new United Utilities facility built to prevent sewerage getting into Kempnough Brook. It consists of an underground bifurcation chamber fitted with a powered screen, a 1,545m3 detention tank, a weir and a powered screen chamber.

This was the work that closed this route over the summer of 2013.

From here the trees close in again on the left along with an original wall holding back the cutting.

This section now leads to the junction at Roe Green, where the two bridges carry Greenleach Lane over the junction.

The bridge to the left straddles the continuation of the Tyldesley Loopline as it turns west. Here the tarmac ends.

Under the bridge to the right the resurfacing continues along the newer Roe Green Loopline which heads north for Bolton.

Continued in separate posts.

Tyldesley Loop Line 2

Roe Green Loopline 1

View Tyldesley Loopline 1 - Monton to Roe Green in a larger map