Ordsall Chord nears completion with signature beam lift

Network Rail's Ordsall Chord Alliance has carried out two 40t beam lifts to complete the arch bridge central to the Northern Hub rail link connecting Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Victoria stations. The project now moves onto permanent way and rail systems installation before the first trains are scheduled to run in December this year.

The £85m Ordsall Chord project, which is being built by a Network Rail Alliance with BAM Nuttall, Skanska, Amey and Siemens, will allow passengers to use train services passing east-west through Manchester, connecting Manchester Airport and areas to the west of Manchester with trans-Pennine services to the east.

A first steel cascade of the project's signature bridge was lifted into place on Sunday, with the second cascade installed on Monday.

Network Rail programme manager Allan Parker said: “The installation of the cascades completes the final and unique steel ribbon-effect which runs along the outside of the network arch bridge.  We’ve reached yet another major milestone in the project and I would like to thank all the teams who have played an integral role in making this happen.  We are a step closer to providing the infrastructure for more frequent trains and better connections, not only within the city, but the north of England.”

BDP Transport architect director, Peter Jenkins, said of his flowing cascade design for the viaduct bridge: “The overall concept for the bridges is that of a continual, flowing ribbon which incorporates individual structures into a single over-arching identity.

“This latest piece of steelwork connects the River Irwell and Trinity Way bridges with a twisting, sinuous form which smoothly brings the concept of the structure to fruition. The development has been a true team effort from the original sketch through to construction, integrating different people and different tools to achieve the vision."