HS2 gets the green light from Boris Johnson

The Prime Minister has given the go ahead to the controversial HS2 project that could cost the country more than £100 billion. The announcement means work will continue on the first part of the high-speed railway project connecting London to Birmingham, before the second phase to Manchester and Leeds.

This decision puts an end to months of back and forth over the future of the project, which one government official describes as the “biggest infrastructure decision since World War Two”. Boris Johnson says it’s been a “controversial and difficult decision”, and that a full-time minister is being appointed to oversee the project. There’s been concerns from both Conservative and Labour MPs over the exact route, as well as how delayed and over budget the whole project is. But supporters of the scheme say it will create jobs, reduce over crowding on trains and help rebalance the UK’s economy.

The new line is expected to make journeys a lot quicker, and allow trains to carry up to 1,100 people and reach speeds of up to 250mph. It’s also thought there’ll be as many as 14 running per hour in each direction. The Department of Transport says travelling between London and Birmingham will be cut from one hour 21 minutes to 52 minutes. This first part of the high-speed rail link was due to open by the end of 2026, however Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, told MPs in September 2019 that it may now be 2028-2031 before the first trains run on the route. The second phase to Manchester and Leeds was expected to open on 2032-2033 but has been pushed back to 2035-2040.

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Steve Clifford is Owner of Clifford Talbot Partnership which was formed in 1984 to provide solutions to energy and utility management issues in commerce, industry, government and the public sectors throughout the UK.