When Network Rail is given the support, the time and the money, they really can deliver these pieces of infrastructure…

Aerial shot of curved railway bridge installtion

Britain’s first asymmetrical network arch railway bridge was dramatically installed today – a major landmark in a Network Rail scheme that, once complete, will bring transformative benefits for train customers across the North of England.

Witnessing the two vast Ordsall Chord arches being lifted into place over the River Irwell in central Manchester by Britain’s largest crawler-cranes was David Brown, chief executive of Transport for the North.

“I’m sure Network Rail are going to use this as one of their really good examples of how when they’re given the support, the time and the money, they really can deliver these pieces of infrastructure, “ he said. “Now we need them to go on and do the rest across the north.”

Today’s historic moment took place fittingly at the birthplace of modern intercity railways, where in 1830 ‘father of railways’ George Stephenson unveiled his Manchester-Liverpool line, the world’s first rail connection of two major cities.

From December this year when trains start running across it, the Ordsall Chord will enable faster, more frequent services to run through Manchester to and from all the major economic centres in the north. It will, for the first time, connect Manchester’s main railway stations – Piccadilly, Oxford Road and Victoria. This will reduce railway congestion across the city, a railway hub, by 25% and will reduce journey times for customers as far afield as Newcastle.

Peter Jenkins, of BDP, the architects, worked with engineers from WSP, Aecom and Mott Macdonald to design the 89-metre single-span ‘network arch’ bridge, the second-longest in the world. Weighing 600 tonnes, it is designed with a low curve in a tennis racket-style lattice. Unlike any other in Britain its design is asymmetrical.

Liam Sumpter, Regional Director for Northern, said: “I am looking forward to seeing the new Northern services carrying our customers across it.”

Paul Staples, Fleet Director for TransPennine Express, added: “This milestone moment brings us one step closer to the completion of this great engineering feat.”

About Network RailNetwork Rail logo

Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain’s railway – the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts, and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.6bn journeys by rail every year - double the number of 1996 - and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We’re investing £38bn in the railway by 2019 to deliver more frequent, more reliable, safer services and brighter and better stations.

  • Join our community for FREE today!

  • Create and share your own profile

  • Join the discussions

  • Publish your own items

  • Subscription to our Weekly eNewsletter

your benefits?

Get connected with Mass Transit Professionals Worldwide

Create your account

Go To Registration

FREE membership benefits

  • * create and share your own profile
  • * join the discussions
  • * publish your own items on Mass Transit Networkmanage news, jobs, tenders, companies, events, showcases, educations, associations and literature.
  • * subscribe to our eNewsletter
Add news yourself


There are no comments yet for this item

Join the discussion

You can only add a comment when you are logged in. Click here to login