A victory for common nonsense
Network Rail has emerged victorious in a court battle with engineer Mark Whitby, who was set on stopping the company’s £85 million Ordsall chord being built, the Manchester Evening News reported.
[One man battle to derail Ordsall Chord finally comes to an end as Judge dismisses appeal, Charlotte Cox, 23 Mar 2016]
Work has already started on the major scheme, which Network Rail says will speed up travel times and increase capacity.
However the legal row has set the completion date back from December 2016 to the end of 2017.
Rail expert Mark Whitby first brought a case to against Network Rail last year, claiming the planning permission process for the project had been flawed.
Mr Whitby, who had initially been a consultant on the project for Network Rail, also claimed there was an alternative route which would do less damage to Manchester’s rail heritage.
But a judge ruled in October that the Ordsall Chord could go ahead and work began.
However in January, Mr Whitby won his right to appeal and a further case was heard.
But today Judge Simon, sitting at the London Court of Appeal, decided to dismiss Mr Whitby’s three appeals.
Two were statutory challenges of the Transport and Works Act order of Listed Building Consent and one was a judicial review of the planning permission.
The chord is part of Network Rail’s wider Manchester Northern Hub programme, but the evidence for the Ordsall chord ‘speeding up travel times and increasing capacity’ is graphene thin.
In a November 2011 article for Rail Technology Magazine, Peter Johnston, former Greater Manchester PTE Rail Services Officer, pointed out that Ordsall’s capacity benefits were largely illusory, and it would make journeys from the north to the airport longer, not shorter.
Clearly, the Ordsall chord is in no way a substitute for well-designed rail connectivity across Greater Manchester. But the outlook is bleak. Amanda White, Transport for Greater Manchester’s “head of rail”, engineered the preposterous HS2 route into the city.