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Ordsall Chord plans submitted to DfT

Network Rail has now submitted its plans for the Ordsall Chord, allowing more train to travel through central Manchester by unclogging the bottleneck at the throat of Piccadilly.

If approved, when completed by early 2017 it will allow two new fast services an hour between Manchester Victoria and Liverpool, six an hour Leeds-Manchester (up from four), overall journey time improvements between the three cities, a new direct service to Manchester Airport, and also improved journey times to other locations in the north.

It is a key part of the broader Northern Hub programme, whose overall aim is to upgrade the infrastructure to allow an extra 700 trains across the network per day.

The Ordsall Chord is now subject to DfT approval via the Transport and Works Act process, with work hoped to start in late 2014.

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.”


Comments on the proposals can be made until October 28. Paper copies can also be viewed at a number of locations across Manchester and Salford – see the above link for details.

Although the Ordsall Chord plans have generally been welcomed, Peter Johnston, Rail Services Officer with responsibility for rail timetabling and operations at GMPTE from 1993 to his retirement in 2005, who devised and wrote the Passenger Service Requirement Specifications for the Greater Manchester local rail network at the time of privatisation, has argued that the proposals are flawed. You can see his article for Rail Technology Magazine here.

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email


Ninsuchmike   22/09/2013 at 14:49

It is not so much the extra fast trains that will become available from the centre of Manchester but the extra capacity for local trains that this chord will facilitate which endears this project to both Mancuniphiles and Transport Buffs alike.

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