Northern Hub


Northern Hub


Network Rail

Date Commissioned



The Ordsall Chord project formed a key part of the government’s programme of works to create a Northern Powerhouse. The project saw the construction of a new rail viaduct, providing (for the first time in history) a direct link between Manchester’s three main line stations (Piccadilly, Oxford Road and Victoria Station).

The project spans the boundary between Manchester and Salford, passing through the area of the first passenger railway (with paying customers) in the world, based on Liverpool road. This new line will improve connectivity across towns and cities in the north of England, and create new direct links to Manchester Airport

The project was delivered from the commercial standpoint of a “Collaborative Alliance Agreement”, whereby D2 work in conjunction with Network Rail (the Client), as well as other alliance members such as Siemens, AMEY Sersa and Skanska BAM.


The key objectives identified to ensure successful delivery of the Northern Hub Programme were as follows:

  • Deliver Works efficiently with minimal disruption to key stakeholders, local neighbours, including train and freight operators, Manchester and Salford Councils, river and canal trusts, Highway’s agency, and local residents.
  • Provide a standard delivery process across all disciplines.
  • Development and maintenance of a detailed, underpinned and fully integrated schedule to drive deliver of the project on time, to budget, utilising accurate resource forecasting.
  • Develop and integrate effective and innovative ways of communicating project status/ performance

Solutions Provided

  • Deployed a Fully integrated alliance planning team including railway access and isolation planning team working alongside planners and delivery staff to ensure SQEP on hand for delivery.
  • Staged design requirements were identified early in the project via multi-disciplinary workshops ensuring all design requirements were fully understood.
  • Robust integrated schedule with resource profiling, risk and change management processes embedded in the project.
  • Alliance site management team formed to monitor progress of works on site and manage key disruptive possession works and blockades.
  • Weekly staging diagrams to communicate the complex staging arrangements.
  • Fully integrated construction, logistics and whiteboard meetings with consistent outputs showing all works planned.
  • Fully integrated reporting metrics established for all disciplines and combined periodic reviews with all project managers and planners to manage scheduled delays and agree mitigation measures.
  • Daily collaborative working sessions held each morning to ensure working methods are perfectly aligned, everyone works to a single safety principle, and the strengths of each organisation are employed to optimise outcomes.
  • Effective use of Quantitative Schedule Risk Analysis (QSRA) for stage enabling works and key disruptive possessions. This analysis has helped identify critical processes where additional mitigations were needed to ensure that works progressed as planned; Effective use of formal lessons learnt workshops after significant blockades ensured that innovations were implemented for subsequent works.


  • Delivery
    • To date, each key stage of the project has been successfully delivered on time, ensuring all safety requirements met, accounting for all disruptive possessions.
  • Remodelling
    • Over an 11-day blockade during Easter 2016, the alliance delivery team successfully completed track remodelling, and OLE / signalling commissioning work at Manchester Victoria Station West. During the same railway possession, we also completed the renewal of a bridge that forms the Ordsall Chord connection to the Chat Moss Lines at Salford Central
  • Alliance Reporting
    • A standard set of processes and controls have been fully embedded in the day-to-day working of the alliance.
    • The robust integrated schedule, effective change management and risk/opportunity processes have provided the alliance management team with accurate information that has been used to control the project and help us make informed decisions.
  • Stakeholder engagement
    • A number of significant outcomes have been achieved in terms of minimising disruption to the built and natural environment of Manchester City centre and keeping the many stakeholders in the project satisfied in what, on the face of it, may seem an impossible undertaking.


“Working with the Project Team, it very quickly became apparent that we were working with engineers who totally understood the work to be done and had an extremely detailed plan. We ultimately agreed a programme which involved partial and total blockades at the least busy times of year”

David Langton – Timetable Strategy Manager, TPE

“Brilliant achievement, well done on the successful completion of the Easter 2016 blockade…. now for next time”

Andy Gent – Regional Director – Network Rail IP Central