Network Rail seeks Ordsall Chord approval


Plans to deliver faster, more frequent rail travel across the North of England progressed today as Network Rail submitted an application for a new link connecting Manchester’s Piccadilly and Victoria stations – the Ordsall Chord.

The plans will ease a rail bottleneck to the south of Piccadilly station and enable more trains to travel through central Manchester. On completion in late 2016 / early 2017, it will provide:

– Two new fast trains per hour between Manchester Victoria and Liverpool

– Six fast trains, instead of four, an hour between Leeds and Manchester

– Faster journeys between Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool

– A new direct service through Manchester city centre to Manchester Airport

– Faster journey times to Hull, Newcastle and the North East

The application is a key part of the wider Northern Hub programme to deliver up to 700 additional trains on the network every day, providing space for around 44 million passengers a year, whilst stimulating much-needed economic growth. It is estimated the Northern Hub will generate over £4bn worth of economic benefits and create around 20,000 to 30,000 new jobs.

Following 18 months of consultation with local and regional stakeholders, the plans were submitted for consideration to the Transport and Works Act Unit within the Department for Transport. If permission is granted, work is expected to start in late 2014 / early 2015.

Dyan Crowther, Network Rail’s route managing director, said: “Britain relies on rail and with demand for rail travel increasing it’s essential we invest in the railway to provide a better service for passengers with more trains, additional seats and fewer delays.

“Submitting the Ordsall Chord application is a key milestone for the Northern Hub programme. The new viaduct will unlock much-needed capacity on the rail network and deliver faster, more frequent services across the North, as well as stimulating low carbon economic growth.”

The application documents are available to view online at and the Transport and Works Act Unit is accepting representations about the proposals until 28 October 2013. People wishing to submit comments are advised to look at Network Rail’s website for further information.

Source: Network Rail press office


  1. Whilst this is laudable, for may years people have written to MPTE and others asking them to look over the last decade or any future period of time, at relocating G-Mex to another needy area which needs a boost of footfall and spend (like BBC went to Salford for example) and restore Manchester Central as a third main railway terminal; a ‘St Pancras of The North’, with a tri-angulated City Centre cross-flow of footfall and spend, Western arcing rail access to it and more capacity. Likewise, the South Manchester Rail Corridoric Loop from former Woodhead/Chinley as well to Trafford and looping round into Central, would allow Sheffield, reopened Derby-Manchester via Airport direct and vice-versa, Manchester-Derby and Nottingham/East Midlands Airport as well as ‘green transport modal access’ to the Peak District. Hull-Liverpool Land Bridge pan Euro-Portal-Atlantic ship across; saves air-freight miles, fuel and other resource use and de-congests London and South East. Alas… HS2 are a 17 year trail, whilst good ideas like this are supressed. Things must change, maybe regional elected (like Police Commissioners) Public Transport Bus, Coach and Rail Providers with some virticle integration to get these kind of smaller, local projects which region by region can do more, for less cost and quicker than HS2. It seems ludicrous we’re gearing up on multiple major infrastructure and capital renewals and other structural projects, yet we’re turning away EEC Member States through bureaucratic blockages and inequalities; when the Romanians built the Class 56 locomotives remember!

    • “when the Romanians built the Class 56 locomotives remember!”
      And what a total mess they were in too! Bogie plates left with raw, flame cut edges and gas pipe used in place of proper electrical conduit being but two of the host of faults on them.


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