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First passenger train runs across historic Ordsall Chord

The first passenger train has travelled across the iconic Ordsall Chord.

The 08:40 Northern service departed from Victoria station to Oxford Road, then back to Victoria before going on to Leeds on Sunday morning.

The historic centre piece of the Great North Rail Project joins Manchester’s Piccadilly, Oxford Road and Victoria stations together for the first time.

The world’s first asymmetric bridge forms a key part of the £13bn investment in transport in the north.

Rail minister, Paul Maynard, who travelled on one of the first trains to cross the bridge, said: “This is a historic day for the north and for rail travel in the UK because Manchester’s three main stations are linked for the first time.

“The Ordsall Chord will help to support faster, more flexible journeys for passengers across the region.

“It’s a key part of the Great North Rail Project, which will increase direct rail links between Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle and other cities in the north.”

Managing director of Northern, David Brown, described the Ordsall Chord as an: “iconic part of the railway in the north of England” and called it “tangible evidence of the Great North Rail Project and the rail industry working together.”

Martin Frobisher, route managing director for Network Rail, said that witnessing the first train crossing was an “extremely proud moment.”

“It is the centre piece of the Great North Rail Project, which is helping transform train travel for people across the North right now and for generations to come,” he said.

Cllr Liam Robinson, chair of Rail North, added: “The first passenger services travelling over this vital new infrastructure represents a major milestone in improving rail connections for passengers as part of the Great North Rail Project.

“We look forward to building on this success through further infrastructure and franchise enhancements to allow people to travel more easily by rail.”

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Andrew Gwilt   11/12/2017 at 14:48

New and current Electric, Diesel and Bi-Mode multiple unit trains and freight trains will also be using the Ordsall Chord. As its been completed.

Frankh   11/12/2017 at 15:04

It's not going to get much use if today is anything to go by. Over a 4 hour period, 1 service Oxford Road to Leeds and an empty stock move to Newton heath.

Lee   11/12/2017 at 15:58

....freight trains will also be using the Ordsall Chord. As its been completed. Just what freight trains will these be Andrew. The only freight flows are aggregates traffic through Manchester Victoria to Salford Hope Street and Pendleton, Waste traffic between the North East to Merseyside via Chat Moss and Brindle Heath, Deane Lane and Runcorn and intermodal traffic to/from Trafford Park and Crewe/Birmingham, etc. with Biomass between Liverpool and Yorkshire, none of which does or needs to travel via Oxford Road AND Victoria stations. What would be useful id Networkrail finishing the additional capacity measures between Oxford Road and Piccadilly stations including the two new through platforms at Piccadilly.

Andrew Gwilt   11/12/2017 at 23:59

Maybe freight trains are prohibited from using the Ordsall Chord as its to be used for passengers trains traveling between Manchester Victoria, Piccadilly and Oxford Road stations from cities and towns across the Northwest and beyond.

Lee   12/12/2017 at 07:57

Andrew, freight trains aren't prohibited as far as I am aware, there simply isn't any demand or need to operate freight trains across the chord. The link was built to allow Manchester Airport trains to run via Victoria instead of Piccadilly, removing the need to reverse out of Piccadilly station, freeing up platform capacity there. However the link was supposed to be combined with a re-modelled Oxford Road station which would have four lengthened platforms and the fifth terminal platform removed, bi-directional signalling along the Oxford Road corridor and two additional through platforms at Piccadilly station. So far the chord has been built and the Oxford Road corridor has been resignalled for bi-directional running. Site investigation work has been carried out for the additional through platforms at Piccadilly and the lengthening of Oxford Road stations platforms along the Whitworth Street viaduct. However one of the Manchester Universities has objected to the scheme on the grounds of the impact construction works would have on delicate measurements of nuclear experiments on the campus, which can not be easily shut down for the duration of the works. The station platforms schemes seem to have been quietly put on hold since the objection was made, unless anyone else knows what is happening now. IF any freight trains run across the Ordsall Chord in the foreseeable future, they are likely to be engineers trains, not bulk haulage. There is no point running freight trains across the Ordsall chord as that would require locomotives working intermodal trains to Trafford park having to haul trains through Stockport, then via Denton and Ashton to get to Miles Platting, passing through Victoria and then continuing through Oxford Road and Piccadilly to then have run around the train at Longsight and haul it back through Piccadilly and Oxford Road to get to Trafford Park, instead of taking the much quicker and more direct route via Heald Green, Slade Lane Junction and direct to Trafford Park. Aggregates and waste trains run directly through Victoria to/from the Peak District and Deane Lane. There are no other freight terminals in or around Manchester that are rail served that would benefit from trains passing over the Ordsall Chord and there are unlikely to be now or in the forseeable future.

John Webster   12/12/2017 at 13:00

Capacity problems along the Deansgate to Piccadilly route will not be solved until trains from the West are diverted to Victoria, i.e. from Southport etc., so very few trains will use the Chord until this happens and Southport Users are up in arms about losing their direct trains to the Airport.

Lee   13/12/2017 at 07:45

Correct John, however Victoria only has four through platforms which are largely used as terminal platforms. Adding more services through this station will also lead to capacity issues, hence the need to build the additional through platforms at Piccadilly. There was at one time discussion about running intermodal trains to/from Trafford Park via Wavertree to free up the two hourly paths they use through Piccadilly, but that would entail reversing freight trains into and out of Trafford Park and running round trains at Edge Hill.

Andrew Gwilt   15/12/2017 at 00:39

Maybe you are right Lee.

Frankh   21/12/2017 at 23:57

And tonight the 00.33 5W33 Victoria - Ardwick TMD empty stock move isn't using the chord. It's going to Salford Crescent, reversing direction and using the old route.

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