The Ordsall Chord is a significant infrastructure project which will connect Manchester Victoria Station with Deansgate, Oxford Road and Piccadilly stations for the first time in nearly 200 years of railway development. This dramatically improves the rail connectivity across the whole North West of England.

As the site is adjacent to the first railway bridge and passenger railway station in the world BDP were appointed, in collaboration with engineering firms Mott MacDonald and Aecom, to develop the design for the structures and urban realm.

The project has subsequently won a number of design and collaboration awards and the first train traveled across the bridge on 10th December 2017.

The BDP model of the project was exhibited at Museum of Science and Industry (Manchester) in 2016.


RIBA 2019 – ‘National Award Winner’

RIBA North West 2019 – ‘Building of the Year’

RIBA North West 2019 – ‘Regional Design Award’

RIBA North West 2019 – ‘Project Architect of the Year’ – Michael Riley

GGB Award 2019 – ‘Best Built Project of the Year’. This is awarded in honour of the BDP founder Sir George Grenfell Baines.

Architects Journal 2018 – ‘Infrastructure Project of the Year’

50th Structural Steel Design Awards – ‘National Award 2018’

Royal Academy of Engineering – ‘Major Project Award 2018’

ICE North West Award 2018 – ‘Large Project of the Year’

CIR Risk Awards 2017 – ‘Major Capital Programme of the Year’

Green Apple Environmental Award for Building, Construction and Innovation 2017 – ‘Silver Medal’

BCI Award 2017 – ‘Partnership Initiative’ and ‘Temporary Works’

RICS North West 2017 – ‘Best Infrastructure Project’

Railway Industry Innovation Awards 2017 – Innovation Award.

North West Regional Construction Award 2017 – Health, Safety and Wellbeing Award

North West Regional Construction Award 2017 – Digital Construction Award

Trimble ‘Tekla’ BIM Awards 2016 – ‘Best Infrastructure Project’


Civic Trust Awards 2019 – ‘National Award Commendation’

Manchester Society of Architects Awards 2018 – ‘Community – Built Award’ – Highly Commended

North West Regional Construction Awards 2017 – ‘Civil Engineering Project of the Year’ – Highly Commended

North West Regional Construction Awards 2017 – ‘Integration and Collaborative Working’ – Highly Commended

RIBA citation:

Where does architecture begin and end? What can architectural thinking bring to super-scale infrastructure? This project provokes these questions and responds with impressive success.

Architect’s Journal 2018 citations:

This complex and trailblazing project is an example of what Network Rail can deliver when good engineering is combined with outstanding urban design in a holistic approach to city-making. Described by the judges as ‘A layered intervention which extracts and adds value to the surrounding public realm and lays the framework for high-quality urban regeneration over the next decade’.

Structural Steel Design Awards 2018 citations:

The Ordsall Chord Project is a major piece of new railway infrastructure that has a truly civic presence. The project combines a new network arch railway bridge and approach viaducts with integrated public realm. Weathering Steel is used as a strong unifying element that flows through from the viaduct and bridge approach upstands into the main arches of the railway bridge, giving the scheme a strong architectural identity within its urban setting.

Royal Academy of Engineering Award 2018 citations:

Nusrat Ghani MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department for Transport: The Ordsall Chord will bring many benefits to Manchester and the north of England, helping to connect people better to jobs and opportunities across the region, just as George Stephenson’s railway did nearly 200 years ago. It’s vital that the UK has a transport infrastructure that meets the needs of passengers, local communities, businesses and the economy as a whole.

“Congratulations to the team on receiving the Academy’s Major Project Award, a real recognition of the impact the Chord will have on many people’s lives. This is exactly the kind of achievement we are celebrating in government during 2018, the Year of Engineering.

Professor Raffaella Ocone FREng FRSE, Chair of the Royal Academy of Engineering Award Committee: The Ordsall Chord is a remarkable feat of engineering and a great example of the impact digital technologies can have on infrastructure engineering. Engineering is a collaborative endeavour and by working in partnership, and focusing on the skills needed to deliver such a complex project, the engineers involved in the project were able to set aside self-interest and work towards a clear, shared objective.

North West Property Awards 2018 citation for the ‘Architect of the Year 2018’: The judges said BDP’s portfolio expressed diversity and quality. Projects included Ordsall Chord, which was hailed as a “statement piece”.

Note: Ordsall Chord was mentioned as an exemplar of BDP’s work and used to demonstrate the quality of the firm. BDP won Architect of the Year 2018 at the North West Property Awards.

RICS Judges quote: It is clearly evident that the success of the Ordsall Chord was due to the hard work, commitment and collaboration of the organisations involved. In consideration of the range of challenges that were present, and the fact that the project was the biggest rail project in the north of England for decades – connecting Manchester’s three principal stations for the first time. The concept was enhanced by the network arch bridge, which is the world’s first asymmetric network arch.

Image credits: BDP, Paul Kourellis, Matthew Nichol (Copyright retained by original authors).