The building of HS2 began in Birmingham on Sunday 30th September
The multi-billion pound HS2 project is set to pass near Balsall Common, Hampton-in-Arden and Chelmsley Wood, with two major new stations being built in the West Midlands. One is to be at Curzon Street in central Birmingham and the other is an ‘interchange station’ close to Birmingham International Airport.
The West Midlands Mayor, Andy Street, was joined by Transport Secretary Chris Grayling to mark the start of construction. Following this, Mr Street joined the Conservative Party Conference, saying that HS2 is evidence that the party ‘stands up for those in the great towns and cities of the Midlands and the North of England’.
High-Speed Rail is set to bring some economic advantages to Birmingham. Jacobs Engineering, the retailing banking section of HSBC and Deutsche Bank are among companies relocating their headquarters or expanding Birmingham-based operations.
HS2 is aimed at supporting future generations by opening a National College for High-Speed Rail, teaching 1,265 students a year. The new infrastructure will also add to the already developing area. John Clancy (leader of Birmingham City council) said ‘It will super-charge the city as the place to invest and locate, and we are already feeling the positive impacts here and across the wider region’.
Rail travel between Birmingham and London is expected to double in the next 20 years, so HS2 is adding up to 18 services an hour to-and-from two of the UK’s core economies.
A resident of Solihull, named Mandy, told Redbrick of fears the area’s residents share, stating that ‘HS2 will cut up Solihull. It’s going through roads, footpaths and even villages.’ Locals argue that the noise will alter life for the residents of Birmingham, changing sleep patterns and the ability to relax or concentrate at home.
Richard Lloyd, a key member in the Heart of England High-Speed Railway Action Group, states that the residents of the Chilterns area have been appalled by the recently-published HS2 plans. These have been described as ‘hideous concrete’.
The completion of HS2 is estimated to be after 2033.