Troubled Carillion among HS2 contract winners

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But the contract award comes as an independent expert calculated that the initial section will cost nearly £48bn, making it the most expensive railway in the world and 15 times the cost per mile of the latest TGV line in France.

The eastern section of the line, linking Birmingham and Leeds via Sheffield, will go through a newly-built housing estate.

The DfT said 16 properties on the Shimmer estate will be demolished.

The Government today confirmed the route that the rail will take from Crewe to Manchester, and from Birmingham to Leeds.

However, Grayling said he has decided not to proceed with proposed changes of the route at Measham, Leicestershire, which would have involved the relocation of the alignment to the east of the town, away from the A42.

HS2 was also quick to reassure that Carillion is part of a consortium with Kier and French firm Eiffage and all three have given guarantees to underwrite each other on the project.

Carillion said its joint venture deals with Eiffage and Kier were worth a total of £1.2bn.

"Stage One will be a 16-month period to develop a design, a programme and a Target Cost for the construction of the works".

Former Labour leader Ed Miliband accused Mr Grayling of a "gross discourtesy" as the route announcement was confirmed in a written policy paper when he had been expected to come to the despatch box and make a statement to Parliament.

SCOTLAND will benefit from a new high-speed rail line which will create business opportunities, jobs and skills, according to UK Transport Secretary Chris Grayling.

"HS2 will deliver vital links between some of our country's biggest cities, helping to drive economic growth and productivity in the north and midlands", he added.

"We will now press ahead with building the line, while continuing to ensure affected communities get appropriate support and are treated with fairness, compassion and respect", he concluded.

This comes amid concerns about the HS2 project as a whole, with campaigners from Stop HS2 claiming that costs will double to £111bn.

But supporters hope it will reduce the need for environmentally-damaging domestic flights between London and northern cities.

The official unveiling of the northern leg of the project comes on the same day as two other major announcements for the future of high-speed rail in the United Kingdom: construction contracts worth £6.6bn were awarded to a number of companies, and the shortlists for the designers and engineers who will deliver three brand new stations and majorly expand London Euston.

Preparatory work has begun and major construction projects are due to launch in 2018-19.

He is expected to bring forward the planned completion date for the next phase from the West Midlands to the West Coast Mainline from 2033 to 2027.

Grayling published Monday a new government bill for the next phase of HS2, from Birmingham to Crewe in northern England.

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