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Published on : Saturday, June 11, 2016
A relative of George Stephenson, who built the first public inter-city railway line in the world in Manchester, has given his backing to the Ordsall Chord.Architect Roger Stephenson has followed in the footsteps of his famous ancestor and built a career in the design and construction industry.
He was invited on site to hear about the restoration plans for Stephenson’s Bridge and how it will be brought back to life once the chord is completed by December 2017.He was interested to learn of the benefits of the Ordsall Chord will bring to the local area as well as the north of England.
He was told how the chord will link Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Victoria for the very first time, which means there will be faster and more frequent trains for passengers and how it will help support the delivery of the £1bn+ Railway Upgrade Plan for the north of England.
At the moment, Stephenson’s Bridge, which was part of the first passenger railway in the world, is hidden from view from the general public. As part of the project, the current Girder Bridge, which hides the Grade I structure, will be removed. Stephenson’s Bridge, which was built in 1830, will be fully restored and be free for members of the public to admire.
A new footbridge will also be built to cross the River Irwell, allowing people to see the beauty of the bridge at close quarters.Although the Girder Bridge will be removed, the current support which is holding the Grade II structure will be kept as a reminder of what was once there.A new bridge, which will be the first type of its kind due to the unique design, will stand next to the Stephenson’s Bridge, highlighting the history and future of the railway.
Roger Stephenson said: “I was aware of the work Network Rail and partners were carrying out but I wasn’t too sure on what benefits the Ordsall Chord would bring.“After talking to members of the project team and understanding how it will improve train travel, not only for local people but for commuters across the region, I think it will be of great benefit to the people and businesses in the north of England.
“Being an architect myself, I was extremely interested to hear about the thoughts behind the design and construction of the new bridge. Once completed, this will be a stunning addition to Manchester’s skyline.”“It is also fantastic to hear that such an important part of our history and heritage is being brought back to its former glory. At the moment, if you didn’t know Stephenson’s Bridge was there, you could quite easily miss it. With what the project team have planned, this will ensure the bridge will have a new lease of life for many years to come, something I’m sure George would approve of.”
Allan Parker, programme manager for Network Rail, said: “I was delighted to meet Mr Stephenson and it was a pleasure to explain how we were going to rejuvenate a bridge a family member constructed all those years ago.