Ordsall Chord: Rail link plans backed by High Court despite protest

Drawing of the Ordsall Chord Image copyright Network Rail
Image caption The link is part of the multi-million pound Northern Hub upgrade for rail services

Plans to connect Manchester's two biggest railway stations have received High Court backing despite claims they will damage a key part of rail history.

The Ordsall Chord will link Piccadilly and Victoria but has 30 "heritage assets" on the route.

Critics focused on the former Liverpool Road station - a terminus on the world's first passenger railway which opened in 1830 - which will be cut off.

A judicial review of the government's backing of the scheme was unsuccessful.

Ministers had decided the public benefits associated with the Ordsall Chord outweighed any harm to the site.

And the judge said she could find "no flaw" in the government planning inspector's conclusions.

'Detailed report'

As a result of the new rail link, Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) will lose its connection to the main line.

The museum's site is part of the former Liverpool Road Station, the original Manchester terminus of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway.

The station, the house in which the station master once lived and a warehouse building dating to 1830 are all Grade I listed and sites of pilgrimage for railway buffs.

Construction of the line will also involve the demolition of the Girder Bridge and the Cast Iron Bridge.

Image caption The former Liverpool Road station is the site of Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry

Mark Whitby, a former president of the Institution of Civil Engineers, said in his challenge that running the new line further to the west, across Middlewood Locks, would cause far less damage to the historic buildings.

Not enough account had been taken of the serious harm that would be caused, he warned.

But Mrs Justice Lang said the governmentinspector, Brendan Lyons, had given "considerable weight and importance" to the desirability of preserving them.

The viaduct will enable an extra two fast trains per hour between Manchester Victoria and Liverpool and Leeds and Manchester, plus a direct service through Manchester city centre to Manchester Airport.

The scheme is part of the multi-million pound Northern Hub upgrade for rail services across the North of England.

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