HS2 construction formally begins with ‘shovels in the ground’ moment

Construction on HS2, the controversial high-speed railway, will get under way today, with a “shovels in the ground” moment.

The government-owned company HS2 Ltd has not revealed the site of the event where breaking ground will take place, but it is understood Prime Minister Boris Johnson will attend.

Mr Johnson said: “HS2 is at the heart of our plans to build back better – and with construction now formally under way, it’s set to create around 22,000 new jobs.

“As the spine of our country’s transport network, the project will be vital in boosting connectivity between our towns and cities.”

HS2 will connect London with the West Midlands, Leeds and Manchester, and is the largest infrastructure project in Europe.

The aim is to run 18 trains an hour in each direction to and from London – at speeds of up to 224mph – compared to between two and six an hour on Europe’s high-speed railways.

It involves the construction of more than 300 bridges and 70 viaducts for the London-West Midlands phase alone.

There will also be six new stations including Birmingham Curzon Street, and extensions for London Euston and Manchester Piccadilly.

However, the final bill for the service could reach £106bn, according to a report commissioned by the government.

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