What is the HS2 project?

High speed Rail 2 or HS2 is a government project to build a high speed rail, linking London to the Midlands and the North of England. It is one of the largest and most complex infrastructures undertaken in the UK. 

HS2 is Britain’s second purpose built high-speed line, the first being High Speed 1 (HS1) , which connects London to the Channel Tunnel, trains on this line reach speeds of 185mph.

HS2 has been split into three phases, phase 1, phase 2a and phase 2b. The first phase, started in 2017, which links London to Birmingham is expected to be complete between 2029 and 2033. Phase 2a will link the West Midlands and the North via Crewe, and phase 2b will complete the line to Manchester, the East Midlands and the North, aiming to be complete between 2035 and 2041. 

The full electric trains on this line will reach speeds of a whopping 225mph, which will make it faster than China’s high speed network at 217mph! 

What is the purpose of the HS2 project?

If you have heard of HS2, you will know it’s been one of the most controversial infrastructure projects proposed in history, so why has it been proposed in the first place?

HS2 say they are combatting three strategic problems our country is facing. 

– The first is the overcrowding of our current rails, the HS2 project is proposed to ease the capacity, through redirecting the long distance traffic. 

– Secondly, HS2 is said to improve regional growth through better connections, giving the North of England more access to the opportunities in the South of England, whilst creating tonnes of new opportunities and jobs. 

  • Finally, the HS2 project will be powered by zero carbon energy from day one of operation. 

So why the opposition?

Firstly we can look at the cost of HS2, since the project was originally approved a decade ago, the scheme has tripled in price. Rising inflation costs and the fact the project is running at least three years late have meant the project budget has been blown out of the water, and other areas of funding have been axed because of this, including £4billion of improvements to other parts of the UK railway system. 

Another area of concern is the impact on wildlife, The Woodland Trust opposes HS2 because of the proposed route, it is reported that 108 ancient woods are threatened with loss or damage from the project.

And then we have the objection from those that own houses on the proposed rail route, hundreds of people have had to sell up and move, not always happily. 

With all this in mind, the project has still been pushed forward, with the understanding of it becoming the ‘backbone of the UK rail network’ connecting eight out of ten of the largest cities, and reducing the pressure from the existing network. 

I think it is fair to remember that people often oppose projects when they are under construction, but then in fact are happy they are there once they see the benefits for themselves?

Whether you are for or against the project, you can’t deny that HS2 has done a great job in terms of employment opportunities, HS2 claim to have a workforce of 30,000, whilst supporting over 1,000 apprenticeships, not only in engineering but a whole range of careers including HR, environmental work, planning and finance.

What are your views on the HS2 project? Has the construction of the project directly affected you? Do you feel like you will reap the benefits of the HS2 line when and if it is ever complete?

Here at Wick Hollow we are proud to have helped with the recruitment of labour to the largest infrastructure project in Europe and the most important economic and social regeneration project in decades.

If you are looking for work in the construction sector, register yourself and your trade on our database, you can also contact HS2 directly: HS2enquiries@hs2.org.uk. 

Sam @ Wick Hollow.