Spotlight on Easter 2017: Ordsall Chord

We’re introducing new track to link Manchester city centre’s main train stations.

Over the Easter bank holiday weekend (14–17 April), we will be working to deliver more than 200 projects on the rail network across Britain as part of the Railway Upgrade Plan.

The work we’re doing will provide more and faster services to help relieve overcrowding on the railway.

Passenger numbers have doubled in the last 20 years, and this growth is set to continue. Around 22,500 trains run every day in Britain – nearly 1.7 billion passenger journeys each year. Another 400 million rail journeys will be made by 2020.

We plan our larger work projects over bank holidays as they’re generally quiet periods, with fewer passengers travelling by rail – find out more here about why we plan work for bank holidays.

If you’re travelling over the bank holiday, please remember to check your journey plans on, as there will be changes to rail services in some areas.

What’s the Ordsall Chord project?

Since 2015 we’ve been working to introduce 300 metres of new track – the Ordsall Chord – to link Manchester city centre’s main train stations: Manchester Victoria, Oxford Road and Piccadilly, as part of our plan to improve rail travel in the north of England.

More about our Railway Upgrade Plan

The new section will be to the north west of Castlefield Junction, linking it with Deal Street Junction, but work needs to take place before the new track can be fitted.

How will it benefit passengers?

With more capacity on the railway as a result of the new chord, there’ll be more frequent trains and improved connectivity through the city and beyond.

Congestion that’s currently experienced at Manchester Piccadilly will reduce by a quarter, with some services being rerouted through Manchester Victoria.

What benefits will it bring to the local area?

The local and wider economy will be boosted, with the improved connections helping to create more jobs, and links near to new business and residential developments. There will also be new direct links to Manchester Airport from across the north of England.

What work is happening this Easter as part of the project?

Starting over the Easter weekend and continuing through April (Thursday 13 April to Monday 24 April), remodelling work will be taking place around Salford Central station. This will include widening an existing viaduct, strengthening structures, and demolishing and replacing Chapel Street bridge.

New Bailey Street bridge and a section of Chapel Street bridge will be strengthened.  A crane will remove the old section of bridge and a new section will be driven into place by a Self-Propelled Modular Transporter (SPMT) – similar to the SPMT machines that transport NASA rockets.

New overhead line equipment and signalling will be installed, and track from Salford Central and Manchester Victoria will be realigned to accommodate the new layout. Middlewood viaduct is being widened, also to accommodate the new section of track.

How will passenger services be affected by the work at Easter?

To complete the work safely, some train services will be affected throughout the year coming in and out of Manchester Victoria between:

  • Early Thursday 13 April until the last service on bank holiday Monday 1 May
  • Every Sunday from May 7 until 2 July
  • Early Sunday 28 May until the last service on bank holiday 29 May
  • Early Saturday 8 and 15 July until the last service on Sunday 9 and 16 July
  • Sunday 20 and 27 August
  • Saturday 2, 9, 16, 23 and 30 September
  • Sunday 3, 10, 17, 24 September and 1 October

A replacement bus service will operate between Manchester Victoria and Salford Crescent from Friday 14 April to Sunday 16 April, and alternative routes will be open.

Passengers are advised to plan their journey ahead and check before they travel with

There will also be road closures in the area due to the extensive work:

  • Chapel Street – between New Bailey Street and Bury Street – Monday 10 April to Friday 28 April
  • Yorkshire Street – Friday 7 April to Friday 28 April
  • Johnson Street – Friday 7 April to Friday 28 April
  • Browncross Street and Quay Street – Friday 7 April to Friday 28 April.

There will be access to local businesses and nearby construction sites. Diversions will be in place.

Find out more

The Ordsall Chord project

Picture (top): Matthew Nicholls Photography