The beginning of the HS2 high-speed rail line in Birmingham took place, while Conservative ministers disagreed about the future of HS2 at their party conference. The Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling visited the site in Birmingham city centre as machinery moved in to begin work. However, following Boris Johnson calling for the scheme to be put on hold, ministers made it clear how important they deemed the scheme to be.
The schedule will see the HS2 station open in 2026 and it will provide a new direction for rail travel that this country desperately needs. It will enable the UK to lead from the front as it will support thousands of jobs and businesses, the results of which will be felt across the globe.
The land at the Curzon Street site is being prepared with all archaeological works being part of the process as well as the construction of the new station. The West Midlands will see a real change following the installation of the new line and in some instances, businesses are already moving into the area because of the way in which the station will be at the centre of the network. It will bring together the north, south and the Midlands, connecting people like never before.
Therefore, the start of the work is a pivotal moment in the whole process, and so, the moving in of construction workers and equipment was a great marker of what lies ahead. However, Boris Johnson has other ideas as he believes that there are other transport projects in the North that should take priority of HS2. He said that the government should consider making it a priority to build new high-speed rail links in the north, complaining that the time it takes to get from the east of the country to the west is extortionate. His comments generated angry responses, and one in particular from Greg Clark, business secretary who said that halting HS2 is the wrong approach. Clark, who was speaking at a fringe event at the Tory conference made it clear that one of the more difficult criticisms to deal with that relates to successive governments in the UK, is that the country has not stood up and invested in the infrastructure in order to support the economy. Therefore, he believes that the decision to invest in HS2 has been made and that is the decision that we have to stick to.