The next phase of high-speed rail line HS2 connecting Birmingham and Crewe has been given royal assent today.
Known as phase 2a, the £3.48 billion, 36-mile scheme will run between the new Curzon Street station in Birmingham city centre to Crewe station in Cheshire, with six services per hour planned.
HS2 estimated that at least 5,000 jobs would be supported during construction of this phase, with many more in the supply chain as business and contract opportunities become available.
In addition, the railway will support 140 permanent jobs at its maintenance base near Stone, in Staffordshire.
Construction of phase 2a is due to begin in 2024 and open by 2033.
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “Today is a landmark moment in our infrastructure revolution.
“HS2 is the most significant expansion to our national railways in a generation – transforming connectivity between our towns and cities and vastly increasing the capacity of our rail network.
“By proceeding full steam ahead, we are delivering on our commitment to unite and level up the country.
“The construction of Phase 2a will support thousands of jobs and create opportunities for local businesses as we build back better.”
Phase one of the project is currently under construction between London Euston, Solihull and Birmingham city centre while phase 2b is set to run between Crewe, Manchester Airport and Manchester city centre.
The other aspect of phase 2b is between Birmingham, the East Midlands and Yorkshire although doubt hangs over that after the National Infrastructure Commission recommended last year it should not go ahead.
HS2 chief executive Mark Thurston said: “Parliament’s approval for extending HS2 beyond the West Midlands to the North is a clear sign that MPs recognise the enormous potential of this scheme and continue to give their strong support.
“As the first major railway built in the North for over 100 years, HS2 will spur massive economic growth for our towns and cities, help to level up the country, and provide cleaner, greener public transport for millions.”