Latest News from Hulmes Ferry.

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3rd December, 2016.

The new timetable for 2017 has now been agreed.

The popular 'Bollin' ferryboat will be back in service once again from April the 28th and we have gained an extra hour through October. See timetable for full details.
6th November, 2016.

After an outstanding year with 1,737 crossings recorded,
the ferry service is now sadly closed for the winter period till April 2017.

Final Report of 2016 as we look forwards to 2017:-

A big thank you to all who have used the service and especially those who helped with the awareness campaign through word of mouth, facebook, twitter, websites etc. Hope to see you all again in April.

With all your help more people are gaining the knowledge of their ferry and right of way that the ferry facilitates.
It has resulted in my target of 1500 crossings which did seem, even to me, very ambitious, being well and truly smashed!

There is still lots work to do on the awareness side though. Even on the very last two days people who have lived in the area for years where still finding the ferry for the first time.

My target next year is 3000 crossings and I propose to do a leaflet drop to help achieve this before the start of next season. I want this ferry service really buzzing as it should be.
With the numbers of crossings achieved this year there is no going back to scully boats.

Problems with the Irlam side access path are still ongoing. Back in July the council agreed, after many years of neglected responsibility, to add some hardcore to the path using volunteers from Hamilton House and to erect a brown information sign but so far nothing practical has happened.
They did tell me that money had to be taken from the devulged council budget to get the volunteers out there so I am guessing they cant afford the petrol for their van even.

In the mean time the path has been continuously waterlogged, obscured by discarded lorry trailors. The crossing of the A57 is non existant ( one able bodied young man without a pram took 25 minutes to cross the road ). Weeds continually threaten to obliterate it and it becomes slippery, we suspect due to detergents used to clean the cranes.
No waymakings or signs exist for the real public right of way and I see no evidence of where it is. Nowhere for people to park and no continuation of the access path where it leads into the industrial estate security fence( guarded by growling guard dogs ). No continuation of the cycle paths.
I did contact the Highway Authority who are supposed to be responsible for Public Rights of Way but they deny reasponsibility for this, pointing me in the direction of Salford Council.

I naively thought the council where going to help us and I did convey to them the fact that the 1500 people may use the path this year, many now with prams and newborn babies as well as senior citizens who have to wade ankle deep through water every time it rains, risk life and limb crossing the busy A57, and negotiate the discarded lorry trailers to get through. But I guess I should have taken note that hardly anything has been done in perhaps over a decade regarding your Right Of Way despite the well known problems. I find this sad as in my opinion this is potentially the best attraction that Irlam has to offer and i'm not alone with that thought.

During the winter period I hope to do some work on the pathways to make things better but with a hardly any budget, little time and only hand tools it might not be as good as it should be.

The water on the path appears to be trapped behind the mound probably formed when the golf course shooting range was leveled and the drainage ditch on the other side was dug out. The path side has no drainage and the water has nowhere to go thus forming its own lake over the access path. I am told that the real Public Right of Way runs up through the golf course shooting range but that is yet to be confirmed.

I am also hoping to add an events page to this site with free advertizing for any events on either side of the canal. Any interested, bona-fide events organizers may contact me via email supplying your contact details and email and I will give you access for events postings when the events listings page has been created.

Because many crossings where still being made through october we are applying to extend the times by one hour through october.
Although this is a positive move in the right direction it is still nowhere near the times the service should be run.
As one person said in November "What are people supposed to do till April ... swim accross? ... Peel Holdings are getting away with it very lightly! After all it used to be run 24/7 year round to cover our rights and without that they wouldn't have a canal there."

I do wish Peel Holdings success with their brave and ambitious project to take on a failed canal and breathe new life into it. It does deserve support, but not at any expense and to override anything and everything on the way to turning a profit.
Peel are dependant on central government support who inturn are dependant on peoples vote to remain in power. The only saving grace the ferry has is the Act of Parliament that protects your rights.
You the people have a say in this.

15th August, 2016.

155!! Its new record for the number of passengers in a weekend! 1100+ so far this year!

New Ferry Numbers where spurred on this weekend by the Trafford Ramblers followed up by an ever increasing number of people finding the ferry for the first time through word of mouth via facebook, twitter or verbally.

With all your help more people are gaining the knowledge of their right of way that the ferry facilitates. It will be hard to get away with letting this historic site silently slip away again in the future!
17th July, 2016.

700 passengers so far this year!

Despite poor weather and no Air Show event we just exeeded 700 passengers within the first 2 1/2 months compared to 560 for the whole of 2015. 2015 being a record year in itself.

Thank you all the people who are enjoying the service and helping to promote it by sharing your experience with others who may not know that this service exists.
We are still only scratching the surface as many out there still havn't heard of this service so please keep up the good work and spread the word.

16th July, 2016.

Improvements to the Boysnope Access Path has been agreed.

After doing a great job of clearing the access path of debris once again Roger Jones, Labour councilor and the team from hamilton house has speedily stepped in to help our community.

The team have now agreed to purchase hardcore to save people wading ankle deep in water along the access path and have also agreed to purchase a proper sign to the ferry.

Whilst access is still far from the ideal this is a great step forwards in current times with cash strapped councils under a great strain and this is a great gesture considering the access path isn't even the real Public Right Of Way.

We will next be campaigning for better access and parking where the current pathway ends as the exit to the path is now overrun with trailers to the extent that the access path is not easily visible. I am told they shouldn't be there anyways. The Path should also visibly extend to the A57 where a safe way of crossing should be made and we will be campaigning for this also.
In the mean time there is an alternate ( unofficial ) route ... HERE

Lack of wheelchair access has been noted and at some point in time this will need to be addressed too as wheel chair users do have a right to this service, however for the time being we currently don't have the funds to provide proper access for this and are stretching funds and resourses we do have as far as possible to ensure that this historic right of way remains open.
11th July, 2016.

Colapsed Barton Lift Bridge, updated report.

Today monday 11th July a lifting pontoon towed by a large tug passed hulmes ferry and is now moored at Barton locks awaiting instructions from the insurance company to go ahead and lift the colapsed bridge out.

An unofficial report indicates that the cause of the colapse was due to one of the counter balance weights getting jammed in the concrete pillars causing the bridge to tilt and eventually colapse.
The thoughts are that two pillars may have to be scrapped but this is unconfirmed.
The bridge will be lifted, turned and deposited on the banks of the canal.

It is fortunate that there was no loss of life with this incident but unfortunate for all concerned with the set backs to this ambitious Peel Holdings project.

Hopefully the canal will resume normal operations soon and lessons learned so that such a disaster doesn't occur again.

Whilst shipping on the canal has been stopped the Hulmes Bridge Ferry services have been unafected and your Public Right Of Way remains open.
It is a shame that the Ferry service that has been provided for 130 years by a dedicated team from the Manchester Ship Canal company in order to uphold your Public Right Of Way doesn't get the support it deserves.
After all the Canal couldn't be built in the first place if the public right of way hadn't been respected by the owners of the canal with the compromise of providing a ferry service and thats why an act of parliament was put in place to ensure your Public Right Of Way was preserved.
1st June, 2016.

138!! Its new record for the number of passengers in a weekend!

A big thankyou! to all who are enjoying the service and spreading the word by word of mouth, facebook posts and twitter posts.

Many people are now seeing the service for the first time, some who have lived in the area for many years and didn't know that the ferry existed. Many who do know of its existence still haven't realized that it has been running again for 4 years and has been modernized.

You have a right of way to cross over where the ferry service is as you would have if the footbridge was still there, which the ferry service replaced.
Its the canal cuts through your right of way and not the ferry that obstructs the canal. The ferry is just a compromise that allows the canal to function and it is backed by an act of parliament.

The more people realize this the less chance of it being allowed to silently slip away again.
The official hours where 6am to 10pm, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and this is the way it was run with an on-call ferryman living in the adjacent house.
Although current hours due to lack of funding from Peel who as owners of the canal are obliged to fund this service are 12 Noon to 5.30pm, Friday to Monday, April to October.

There is still a lot of work ahead to fully re-instate this service as it should be run but so far so good its back on the map again!
A big thank you also goes out to Trafford Ramblers without whom the service may have been forgotten about completely with 130 years history lost!

As a point of interest the right of way appears to run right through the new proposed container base that is now under construction.A second branch also runs along the Makro side of the dual carriageway but is not currently signposted as is the ferry service section. There also doesn't appear to be any appearance of a path along Makro side linking to the ferry. The Council owned, Irlam side dirt path comes to an abrupt end where the lorry trailer graveyard begins with nothing beyond but the busy dual carraigeway. This leaves people to weave around the trailers then cross the dual carriageway without a proper crossing, some with newborn babies in prams, toddlers and senior citizens alike. Let alone wheelchair users who currently have no access to the ferry.

The Highway Authority is responsible for this and I will be taking this up with them in due course.
10th May, 2016.

The new ferry now in service.

New Ferry The new ferry boat is now in full service and we recorded 114 crossings with it during its second weekend of the season, attributable to the greater confidence in the more stable vessel. This is a resounding success over previous years and testimony that the service is still in demand.

Roger Jones of Irlam council also stepped in at short notice deploying a team from hamilton house who braved the bad weather to clear trailer loads of debris from the Boysnope access path in advance of the ferry opening.
We now await further action on the planned surface treatment to the path and the erection of better signs than my hand painted ones.

Whilst we have made a great start to 2016 there is still a lot of work ahead. Whilst the awareness campaign is making headway a vast amount of people either dont know of the ferries existance or are still unaware that it has restarted so it still isn't reaching its full capacity.
1st April, 2016.

The Ferry Service to resume in 2016

The ferry service will resume on 29th April, 2016 at 12 Noon.

Preparation has began for the new ferry. The old jetty steps have been removed as the new ferry boat should be flush with the jetties making it a walk on / walk off service which is a marked improvement for the less agile.
Also, the new ferry will be capable of carrying bicycles and has night time capability.

A great deal of expense and effort by Bilway Ltd has gone into ensuring that the service continues and remains a free service.
Its up to you the public now to use it and demand your right to have this service in place.
In theory the service should be run 6am to 10pm, 7 days a week and for free, if there is no demand for that then it may once again be allowed to dwindle into dissuse.