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As part of our plan to improve rail travel in the North, Northern Hub, we need to build a new viaduct to connect Manchester’s Victoria, Oxford Road and Piccadilly stations
Since October 2015, work has been taking place on the Ordsall Chord. This will be 300 metres of new track which will create a link between Manchester city centre’s main train stations for the first time. This new section will be to the north west of Castlefield Junction, linking the line with the Deal Street Junction line, connecting Manchester Victoria, Oxford Road and Manchester Piccadilly. However, for this vital piece of track to be fitted, a huge amount of work needs to take place beforehand. This includes realigning existing track, building new bridges, removing disused arches and restoring Grade I listed structures.
Once the work is completed by December 2017, the chord will help provide many benefits not only to passengers but the wider economy.
Ordsall chord map
Princes Bridge is now closed and people should follow diversions over the new bridge on Trinity Way
Work is continuing at a fast pace on the Ordsall Chord and the landscape at the worksites change on a daily basis.
During the coming weeks and months, you will notice larger cranes appearing on site near to Water Street. Later in the year, a 600 tonne crane will be transported to the compound to lift sections of the new Trinity Way Bridge into place.
Following that, in early 2017, an even bigger crane, weighing around 1300 tonnes will arrive. This will help lift sections of the iconic network arch bridge onto supports crossing the River Irwell.
Heritage plays a key part in the whole project. Princes’ Bridge, which is an old footbridge crossing the River Irwell, has been taken down and will be replaced by a new footbridge. This will run alongside the Grade I listed structure Stephenson’s Bridge. A girder extension has hidden the iconic bridge from view since 1860. Now, due to its poor state of repair, it has been removed and Stephenson’s Bridge, which was built in 1830, has seen daylight for the first time for over 150 years. The bridge will then be cleaned and restored to how it used to look for the public to enjoy. The column, which acted as a support for the girder extension will remain, serving as a reminder of what was once there.
We have recently had a number of visitors on site to see how the scheme is progressing. Representatives of train operating companies such as Northern and Transpennine Express have given their full backing to the project, recognising the benefits the chord will deliver to their customers. Manchester City Council leader Sir Richard Leese and Interim Mayor for Manchester Tony Lloyd have also donned Network Rail orange and commented on the scale and complexities of the programme while also understanding how it will help improve rail travel.
You can email the project team with any further queries at Ordsallchord@networkrail.co.uk.
We will update this page with further information as it becomes available.
April 2016: Irwell footbridge under construction at Severfield's factory in Horwich
May 2016: Construction of Irwell footbridge continues on site
May 2016: Irwell footbridge fully constructed on site
June 2016: Girder extension covering George Stephenson's bridge - this will be removed before Stephenson's bridge is cleaned and revealed to the public
June 2016: This is how Stephenson's bridge currently looks - in the background you can see Prince's bridge which will be removed and replaced by the Irwell footbridge
July 2016 – Princes’ Bridge has been removed by a large crane and will soon be replaced by the new Irwell footbridge
August 2016 – The Irwell footbridge has been constructed on site and is ready to be lifted into place
August 2016 – The footbridge is ready to be lowered by the crane. It won’t be open to the public until later next year
September 2016 – One section of the iconic network arch bridge. This, along with another being constructed on site, will be lifted into position in early 2017
September 2016 – A view from above the new bridges for Water Street. These will be installed as part of the Christmas work on the Ordsall Chord
October 2016 – Precast concrete being installed as part of the Castlefield viaduct
October 2016 – A point-of-view shot of where the network arch bridge will go. It will fit in between the two supports currently in the River Irwell and cross over the footbridge towards Trinity Way
Get updates on our projects in the north