Today legislation for the first phase of the planned high speed rail line (HS2), linking London with the West Midlands, has passed the final hurdle. The Parliamentary bill has been granted Royal Assent, meaning that construction is now able to commence.

The new line is expected to triple the number of seats available between London and the rest of the country, alleviating rail overcrowding between the country’s major cities, as well as reducing journey times to just 39 minutes between the capital and Birmingham.

Transport secretary Chris Grayling commented: “Getting the go-ahead to start building HS2 is a massive boost to the UK’s future economic prosperity and a further clear signal that Britain is open for business”.

The scheme is seen as a massive boost to the UK’s construction and rail industry with many significant contracts already out to tender. Up to 9,000 apprenticeships are set to be created during the first phase alone.

Planned to open in 2026 with a further second phase due to run to Leeds and Manchester by 2033; construction is expected to start on phase 1 later this year.

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