Completion of the Ordsall Chord bridge will enable new through services and journey opportunities in Greater Manchester and across the North

 

The £85m Ordsall Chord bridge was built in two years

 

The first trains are expected to start running between Manchester’s two main railway stations, Victoria and Piccadilly, next month following the completion of the Ordsall Chord bridge.

The structure, the first asymmetric railway bridge in the world, is billed as the centrepiece of the government’s Great Rail North project. It will enable new through services and journey opportunities for rail passengers in Greater Manchester and across the north of England.

By 2020 infrastructure upgrades and the introduction of new fleets by train operators Northern and TransPennine Express are expected to provide an additional 2,000 services per week. Through trains across the chord will reduce congestion at Manchester Piccadilly by 25%. New direct services planned include routes from Newcastle to Manchester Airport.

Northern regional director Liam Sumpter said the first new services in December would include trains across Manchester from the Calder Valley. 

The Ordsall Chord is a vital part of the Northern Hub programme of works that will unlock the major bottlenecks in central Manchester

Councillor Andrew Fender, chair of the Transport for Greater Manchester Committee added: “The Ordsall Chord is a vital part of the Northern Hub programme of works that will unlock the major bottlenecks in central Manchester. Together these will deliver the capacity and connectivity improvements that are urgently needed to enable rail services across the North of England to better meet growing demand for travel.”

The £85m chord was built in two years but took nine years from planning to completion, partly due to heritage concerns.

“Greater Manchester has long called for the Ordsall Chord to unlock capacity on the rail network across the North,” the city’s mayor Andy Burnham said. “A modern, well-connected rail network is vital to unlocking the full economic potential of our city-region and the whole of the north.”

 

This article appears in the latest issue of Passenger Transport.

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