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Datum Proudly Part Of Ordsall Chord Team

December 17, 2017

Datum Group engineers are celebrating the opening of the £85 million Ordsall Chord rail bridge in Manchester.

Our team has been working on the stunning engineering feat for the past 11 months providing a range of monitoring services across the project.

The Ordsall Chord is a new 1,600-tonne rail bridge which links Manchester Victoria, Oxford Road and Piccadilly stations.

It will also provide direct links from the north to Manchester Airport.

Ordsall Chord is a hugely significant site. It is home to George Stephenson’s 1830 Grade I-listed bridge over the Irwell and the site was also the birthplace of the world’s first passenger trains.

Ordsall Chord

Datum CEO Rory O’Rourke, said: “We are proud to be part of the team at Ordsall Chord. It is a terrific feat of engineering and we were delighted to be able to help.

“We were initially contracted to supply weather and temperature monitoring which was crucially in assisting with the construction phase of the bridge, assisting with concrete pours for example.

“We provided structural monitoring during the first phase of the stressing of the hangers and then, in partnership with BDI, installed strain gauges to each of the hangers and manually monitored the entire structure during tensioning.

“Our team worked around the clock to provide monitoring to the second tensioning phase and then finally installed vibration monitors.

“It was a terrific project to work on and I’m very proud of our team of skilled engineers.”


The Ordsall Chord project consists of 300m of track and a series of bridges and viaducts. The single-span network arch bridge will be the second-longest in the world to carry twin heavy-rail tracks.

Experts believe an expansion of Piccadilly station is required to allow the Chord to meet its potential – but this project has been thrown into doubt by ministers.

A Skanska-BAM Nuttall joint venture was appointed as an alliance partner and awarded a contract to deliver the Ordsall Chord project as part of Network Rail’s £1bn+ rail upgrade plan for the North of England.

Skanska Executive Vice President, Thomas Faulkner,  said: “This is a major engineering achievement that will not only improve connectivity but also open up opportunities for people within the region.

“It’s a historic moment, for the delivery team, for Manchester and for the legacy it will leave for the railway and we are proud of the part we have played.”

Architect Peter Jenkins, Transport Architect Director at BDP’s Manchester studio said: “Stephenson’s Bridge was neglected and disused before the Ordsall Chord. Now it can be celebrated for its character and importance.”

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.”

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* Images and video courtesy of Network Rail

* Find out how The Datum Group can assist with your project by talking to our team via this link.