Five years ago, Network Rail entered a landmark phase of an ambitious project to transform rail travel across the North of England.
The multi-billion pound Great North Rail Project moved forward when we submitted ground-breaking plans for a link between Manchester’s Piccadilly and Victoria stations – UK’s first network arch bridge – in September 2013.
We applied to build a solution to a rail bottleneck south of Piccadilly station, enabling faster, more frequent rail services in the North. The result? The Ordsall Chord – a structure that would cut Manchester’s railway congestion by a quarter and win acclaim for its innovation and elegant design.
The Ordsall Chord is the flagship scheme in the Great North Rail Project, part of Britain’s Railway Upgrade Plan. The 300m chord would also create new direct links to Manchester Airport from cities such as Bradford and enable more trains to stop at Manchester Piccadilly.
Construction began in October 2015 with the bridge opening in November 2017. In June last year, the design won the prestigious major project award at the Rail Industry Innovation Awards 2017.
Liverpool Lime Street reopens
Milestones for the Great North Rail Project this year include the reopening of Liverpool Lime Street for train services in July.
An eight-week closure of Merseyside’s gateway station enabled Network Rail to transform travel for the city, taking a historic site into the future with digital technology and 4D modelling.
Passengers now benefit from longer trains and more frequent, more reliable services.
The Liverpool Lime Street upgrade
We build a railway station in just nine months
In June, the brand-new railway station in Merseyside opened in June after just nine months of construction.
The £13m scheme was part of the broader £340m railway investment in the Liverpool City Region. It was funded by the Government’s Local Growth Fund (LGF), transport executive Merseytravel and the Homes and Communities Association.
Network Rail undertook the scheme on behalf of Merseytravel, appointing contractor Buckingham Group.
How did we deliver the station so quickly and carry out most of the works while keeping the railway line open? A head start, line access and a tight summer deadline.
Robert Grey, a project manager of infrastructure projects at Network Rail, said: “Nine months is quite short for a station… The restricting factor is the access. We had quite a bit of flexibility there. We had access for long weekends and a 12-day possession of the line after Christmas… Without those we’d still be there now.”