The Ordsall Chord links Manchester’s Victoria, Oxford Road and Piccadilly stations and is part of the Great North Rail Project.

We started work in October 2015, and the 300 metres of new track over the world’s first asymmetrical rail bridge has created a link between Manchester city centre’s main train stations for the first time, as well as enabling new, direct services to Manchester Airport from the North.

The team has put in a huge amount of work and when the first passenger train uses the chord in December 2017, it will help provide many benefits not only to passengers but also to the wider economy.

The iconic new Ordsall Chord railway bridge opened on Thursday 9 November 2017

The benefits

  • There will be new direct links to Manchester Airport from across the north of England.
  • Congestion currently seen at Manchester Piccadilly will reduce by a quarter with some services being rerouted through Manchester Victoria.
  • There will be more capacity on the railway, meaning more frequent trains to run.
  • Three main Manchester stations will be linked, meaning improved connectivity for those travelling through the city and beyond.
  • The local and wider economy will be boosted, helping create more jobs.
  • There will be links near to new business and residential developments.
  • The project will support the delivery of our multi-billion pound Great North Rail Project, part of the wider Railway Upgrade Plan, meaning faster and more frequent trains.

Did you know?

  • We have used 28,500 tonnes of ballast. That's the equivalent weight of just over 142 of the north east landmark Angel of the North.
  • The amount of concrete we used would be able to fill just under six of the Olympic-sized swimming pool at Liverpool Aquatics Centre.
  • Over 4,000 tonnes of steel will have been constructed and welded. That's around the same weight as seven and a half Airbus A380s, the world's largest passenger plane to land at Manchester Airport

Project milestones at a glance

  • Princes bridge has been taken down and replaced by the new footbridge crossing the River Irwell. It will open to the public at a later stage.
  • There were three major and complex sections of work at Easter 2016, Christmas & New Year and Easter 2017.  This involved removing old bridges and replacing them with new structures, realigning track and installing new signalling.
  • Stephenson’s bridge has been painstakingly cleaned underneath. The process took two weeks and the bridge was cleaned by hand. Restoration work is ongoing.
  • The Trinity Way bridge was lifted into place.
  • Two huge cranes – one the largest in Britain – lifted two conjoining 600 tonne arches onto the Network Arch bridge, creating a stunning addition to the Greater Manchester skyline and the world’s first asymmetric rail bridge.
  • The Irwell cascades were lifted into place, adding a unique look to the bridge.

Thank you

A big thank you from everyone on the team for your patience, understanding and support during this huge project as we add one more major piece to the Great North Rail Project.  Don’t forget, the first passenger train will use the chord in December 2017!

CGI representation of passenger trains on the Chord