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Ordsall chord construction finished

Ordsall chord construction finished

Construction work on the £85 million Ordsall Chord rail link in central Manchester has been completed, providing the first ever direct rail connection between Victoria and Piccadilly stations.

The project, a key part of the government's £13 billion investment in rail services in the Northern Powerhouse area, connects two lines on the edge of the city centre that currently only connect as they run northwards towards Salford Crescent. Now, the curved link will enable trains to run in the opposite direction, with up to 2,000 extra trains a week being run. 

It is an historic link both in terms of resolving a long-held desire to connect Piccadilly and Victoria by heavy rail to improve north-south links across the conurbation, and also because it is the first asymmetric railway bridge in the world. 

The vicinity of the bridge is already a central part of railway history, for the adjacent Liverpool Street station was the first passenger rail terminus in the world, and is now a part of the Museum of Science and Industry. Unfortunately, the construction of the chord has cut off the link from the station to the mainline, meaning the museum can no longer run steam train excursions.

Referring to the historical context surrounding the site, Network Rail route managing director Martin Frobisher commented: "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. Team Orange is mirroring the vision of George Stephenson for the benefit of the communities we serve for generations to come."

Various links between Piccadilly and Victoria have been suggested in the past. These included a possible underground tram link in the 1900s and work actually began on the Tube-style Picc-Vic line in the 1970s before the government pulled the plug for cost reasons. 

These two schemes had been among ten proposals for some kind of underground railway in Manchester, but eventually the Metrolink tram system was established in 1992, providing a direct connection between the two stations.

Image: DfT


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