A new rail link known as the Ordsall Chord has been provided between divergent rail lines, connecting Victoria and Piccadilly Station for the first time. The project had significant historic issues to incorporate as it provides a series of viaducts and bridges arcing around past Liverpool Road Station, the first passenger railway station in the world and a contemporaneous bridge by pioneering rail engineer George Stephenson.
Public Realm Lighting
A sensitive new lighting scheme for the Grade 1 listed Stephenson’s Rail Bridge and extensive surrounding public realm landscape works as part of the Ordsall Chord project. Ordsall Chord is a series of new bridges and viaducts in one of the most important sites in the history of the railways. The lighting scope includes feature, heritage and functional lighting across various architectural, structural and landscape elements of the site. BDP Lighting developed a lighting design through a series of mock-ups and extensive 3D modelling that highlights the historic elements of the area and also provides a safe environment for the public and rail operatives.
To enhance the public realm, Stephenson’s Bridge has been exposed to view in a way that was not been possible for over a century; it has been restored to become the centrepiece of this new urban neighbourhood. To prevent the bridge losing prominence at night, a considerate lighting scheme was required. Due to the Grade 1 listing of the structure it is considered inappropriate to mount luminaires onto the bridge itself; it is therefore washed with light from both the Manchester and Salford riverbanks to ensure that the bridge remains part of the scene at night.
The original railway bridge over Water Street connecting the station to the 1830 Viaduct no longer exists; the current structure is simpler than its predecessor, which was described by a contemporary writer as follows: “There were 11 Doric columns on each side the footwalks below which form colonnades and gave the interior the appearance of an elegant classical temple the parapet is of cast iron enriched with pilasters and neatly empanelled.” The design makes reference to the lost columns through interpretation and design detailing in the paving. Each of the columns has been expressed with a steel disks cut to the profile of the original Doric column, set into the yorkstone paving of the surrounding area. The lighting strategy emphasises their location by night, with individual spot-lights positioned in alignment with the disks.
Lighting to the footbridge has been provided via a discreet LED luminaire system integrated within the handrails; this again avoids the use of lighting columns and highlights the bright aluminium deck of the bridge. The stonework from the previous Prince’s Bridge abutments was retained and reconstructed as part of a design concept which aims to express the new structures as being cut into the masonry of the older bridge. The plaques from the 1905 bridge have been remounted and are highlighted at night with inground wall wash luminaires.