Latest legal challenge to Ordsall Chord dismissed

The Court of Appeal has dismissed a legal challenge to the process by which permission was granted to Network Rail’s Ordsall Chord, a piece of rail infrastructure which will link Manchester’s Victoria, Oxford Road and Piccadilly Stations.

The challenge was brought forward by objector Mark Whitby, a rail engineer who was originally on the design panel that chose the route for Ordsall Chord, until he quit after his preferred option was not selected.

The High Court rejected three separate legal challenges by Whitby in October, but in January Whitby was granted leave to appeal by the Court of Appeal.

Network Rail began work on construction of the Ordsall Chord in October, and has continued throughout the appeal process.

Whitby is a former president of the Institution of Civil Engineering. He wanted the viaduct to be built along a route that would bisect Scarborough Developments’ Middlewood Locks development area. He said this would have preserved the grade one-listed George Stephenson-designed railway viaduct that the Ordsall Chord will cut through.

The Ordsall Chord is part of a programme of improvements across the North of England included in Network Rail’s railway upgrade plan.

Manchester Victoria and Salford Central stations will be closed over Easter to allow for work on a new track layout and bridge work to support heavier loads provided by the Ordsall Chord.

Martin Frobisher, route managing director for Network Rail, said: “We welcome this decision which will allow us to continue to implement the Ordsall Chord Order. The Ordsall Chord is an essential part of the Northern Programme and once built, will help remove congestion from Manchester Piccadilly. This will help create space for hundreds more trains to operate through the city each day.

“The new viaduct will provide many benefits to not only the population of Greater Manchester but the whole of the north of England.

“Vast improvements within transport networks go hand in hand with boosting the economy both locally and nationally. There will be improved connectivity between the great cities of the north, helping boost the economy, prosperity and create jobs across the region.”

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