Passenger Service to Cross Ordsall Chord

Richard Furlong - City Surveys Group

Home » Passenger Service to Cross Ordsall Chord

Published: 12th December 2017

This Article was Written by: Richard Furlong - City Surveys Group


Northern Rail welcomed customers onto the first passenger service to cross Manchester’s Ordsall Chord on Sunday, 10th December.

A limited number of lucky customers were able to claim a golden ticket to commemorate the first day in service of the iconic bridge.

The Ordsall Chord is a brand-new short stretch of track. The jewel in the crown of the Great North Rail Project that connects North and South Manchester via Manchester Victoria, Manchester Oxford Road and Manchester Piccadilly stations. Believe it or not, these three key city centre stations have never before been linked by rail.

The £85 million, 300-metre track and bridge will speed up journeys, removing the need to change for many commuters. This boost the frequency of services from the north of Manchester to the south of the city and Manchester Airport.

This short but important rail route features a striking 1,600 tonne bridge that was two years in the building and completed last month – it has been named the Network Arch due to its appearance and features unique, decorative steel curves called the Irwell Cascades.

On Sunday, passengers holding the special commemorative ticket crossed the River Irwell on the Ordsall Chord.  Sharing this experience with important figures in the rail industry.

To begin with, services crossing the Ordsall Chord will only travel between Oxford Road and Victoria. This is due to current capacity issues at Piccadilly ahead of a timetable re-jig.

The opening of the Chord heralds a new age of railway travel in the same location that birthed George Stephenson’s railway vision of the 19th century. Alongside the Ordsall Chord, George Stephenson’s bridge, built in 1830, has been restored to become a historical showcase.

Martin Frobisher, Route Managing Director for Network Rail, said: “The completion of Ordsall Chord is a seminal moment in the Great North Rail Project, which will transform train travel for millions of customers across the north. The old is giving birth to the new. We are mirroring the vision of George Stephenson for the benefit of the communities we serve for generations to come.”

The new bridge is a key link in the modernisation of rail services in the north west, and will enable Northern Rail’s customers to travel from West Yorkshire, through the Calder Valley, direct to Manchester Oxford Road. It will also make way for future east-west links.

From May 2018, Northern’s customers will also benefit from services running straight from the east coast through to Manchester Airport, via Manchester Victoria.

Managing Director at Northern, David Brown, said: “The Ordsall Chord is now an iconic part of the railway in the north of England – as well as the Manchester skyline – and is tangible evidence of the Great North Rail Project and the rail industry working together.

It’s fantastic that our customers are now able to cross the city by rail and we look forward to the extension of these services from Bradford through to Manchester Airport.”

Rail Minister Paul Maynard said: “This is a historic day for the north and for rail travel in the UK because Manchester’s three main stations are linked for the first time. The Ordsall Chord will help to support faster, more flexible journeys for passengers across the region.

“It’s a key part of the Great North Rail Project, which will increase direct rail links between Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle and other cities in the north.”

Chair of Rail North, Cllr Liam Robinson, said: “The first passenger services travelling over this vital new infrastructure represents a major milestone in improving rail connections for passengers as part of the Great North Rail Project.

“We look forward to building on this success through further infrastructure and franchise enhancements to allow people to travel more easily by rail.

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