Manchester bees are buzzin’ about the Ordsall Chord: IMG 0128

Friday 15 Sep 2017

Manchester bees are buzzin’ about the Ordsall Chord

London North Western

There was no sting in the tail for 30,000 honey bees that made their temporary home on the site of a major railway upgrade scheme in Manchester.

The swarm decided a railway compound near Trinity Way was the perfect place to build their honey haven but as the building work on the Ordsall Chord is reaching its final stages and the site is being cleaned up, there were concerns the hive would be destroyed.

The team, which involves an alliance of Network Rail, Skanka Bam, Siemens, Amey Sersa and other contractors, were in contact with a registered bee keeper in Warrington and he offered to safely remove them.

First, the honeycomb was placed into frames and stored so the bees would follow before the hive was removed.  They are now enjoying a new life in hives in the Warrington area.

Environment manager Samantha Smith from Skanska Bam said: “There was a real buzz in the air when the team discovered our new house mates but, for their own safety, they couldn’t stay.

“One in three mouthfuls of the food we eat is dependent on pollination at a time when the honey bee population is facing a crisis so it was really important we found them a new home.

“The Ordsall Chord is a hive of activity ahead of opening to trains in December but it was great we could find the bees a new home and they are now enjoying a new life in Warrington.”

The Ordsall Chord is being constructed as part of Network Rail’s £1bn+ Great North Rail Project and is due to be completed by December 2017. It will connect Manchester’s three main stations, create new direct links to Manchester Airport from the north and reduce congestion at Manchester Piccadilly station by a quarter.

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Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.

About the Railway Upgrade Plan

The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:

  • longer, faster more frequent trains;
  • better, more reliable infrastructure; and
  • better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.

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