Between Sunday 18 December 2016 and Monday 2 January 2017 Network Rail engineers worked on the longest and most complex stage of the project to build the Ordsall Chord.
The Chord, which includes a 300-metre section of new track, will open up new direct routes to Manchester Airport from across the North, easing congestion and creating space for more trains to run. It will also link Manchester’s Piccadilly, Oxford Road and Victoria stations.
Martin Frobisher, route managing director for Network Rail said: “The benefits of the Ordsall Chord will be felt for generations by customers as far off as Newcastle, Hull, Liverpool and countless other towns and cities in the North.
“The far-reaching vision of this railway upgrade in central Manchester reflects and builds on that showed by the Victorians in the early 1800s when they built the railway we are now seeking to maintain and improve.”
The Ordsall Chord is part of Network Rail’s £1bn+ Rail Upgrade Plan to ensure passengers in the North can access more frequent trains and travel to their destination faster.
Liam Sumpter, Regional Director for Northern, said: “The Ordsall Chord is a vital component of the modernisation of rail in the north of England and it’s incredible to see so much progress during Christmas.
“The work on the Ordsall Chord – and other projects across the region – goes hand in hand with Northern’s own modernisation programme which will see significant improvements to stations, trains and services, delivering a rail network fit for the 21st Century.”
Kathryn O’Brien, Customer Experience Director for TransPennine Express said: “Firstly, I want to thank customers whose journeys were affected by the work over Christmas for their patience and understanding.
“The Ordsall Chord is an important part of improving Manchester’s railway and connectivity across the north and will allowing us to introduce more journey opportunities, frequent services and brand new trains.”
Councillor Andrew Fender, Chair of the TfGM Committee said: “I am absolutely delighted that the recent enhancement works in and around Manchester city centre have been completed on time and normal services are now operating. The Ordsall Chord will transform rail services in Greater Manchester and will provide passengers with more journey choices and destinations and a more reliable railway. During the closure 250km of new signalling cables have been commissioned –completing one of the most complicated signalling jobs of the last 40 years in the North West.
The workforce worked around the clock to install:
• 3km of new overhead wiring
• 8 new sets of switches and crossings
• 1km of new track installed
• 9,000 tonnes of new ballast along with lifting 500 tonnes of new steel into place for two new bridges
These changes will allow the Chord to connect with the new track layout before work is completed by December 2017.