ROYAL Assent for the HS2 bill that will pave the way for the construction of phase one of the line from London to Birmingham was granted on February 23.
Construction is due to begin in April or May, with the building phase creating around 25,000 jobs as well as 2,000 apprenticeships. It will also support growth in the wider economy, bringing an estimated additional 100,000 jobs.
The construction of HS2 is still fiercely opposed in many areas, but when open it will allow capacity enhancements on the West Coast Main Line for passenger and freight traffic, expansion of which has reached saturation point.
The Government has announced a £70million funding package for communities along the route, of which £30m will go towards local road safety schemes in areas not currently accustomed to construction traffic.
Procurement for rolling stock, which has been underway for some months, looks as if it will be fiercely competitive, with interest from Siemens, Alstom, Bombardier and Hitachi.
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