Manchester’s Ordsall Chord rail link welcomed its first passenger trains on Sunday, marking the opening of the connection between Victoria and Piccadilly stations.
Existing Northern Rail services from Leeds to Manchester Victoria will now be extended to stop at Manchester Oxford Road, although will not continue on to Piccadilly station due to insufficient capacity.
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The route from Leeds will be extended to Manchester Airport in May 2018.
Construction work on the Ordsall Chord, which forms part of the wider Northern Hub project, officially completed on 9 November, having started in October 2015. The Northern Hub will complete by the end of 2017.
The project has been built by a joint venture of Skanska, Bam Nuttall, Amey Sersa, and Siemens, alongside steelwork contractor Severfield, consultants WSP, Aecom, and Mott MacDonald, and architect BDP.
Martin Frobisher, route managing director of Network Rail, said: “The completion of Ordsall Chord is a seminal moment in the Great North Rail Project, which will transform train travel for millions of customers across the north. The old is giving birth to the new. We are mirroring the vision of George Stephenson for the benefit of the communities we serve for generations to come.”
BDP’s transport architect director Peter Jenkins added: “I’ve been working on this for six years and it’s been a difficult project to work on – it’s been controversial with lots of difficult moments. But it was just great to go on a train with passengers.”
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