'HS2 drill switch-on is milestone for the ambitious project'

  • In Science
  • 2022-10-06 16:52:54Z
  • By BBC

In West Ruislip, it used to be a golf course and a pub. Now, it is a huge construction site - 1,200 people work there - for part of Europe's biggest and arguably most controversial engineering project, High Speed 2.

Today, one of the huge tunnel boring machines started its journey. But while the start of tunnelling is a milestone in construction terms, could it also change perceptions?

Campaigners will no doubt say they will fight on and try to stop the scheme.

Those behind this project hope that when people see what is being achieved it will be easier to win their hearts and minds.

Over the next 22 months, the machine will grind under west London, churning 24/7 with its only planned stoppage on Christmas Day.

It is certainly an impressive feat of engineering - but as we have reported many times, HS2 is a project that has seen opposition from Camden to the Chilterns.

  • What is HS2 and where will it go?

  • HS2 station construction work begins

  • HS2: Anger, frustration versus promises of progress

Homes and businesses have been demolished. Woodlands and hedgerows flattened. It has caused disruption and distress. Campaigners dug their own tunnels under Euston to protest at the project.

And the business case has been questioned. Many say it is simply not needed.

It has also faced continual political scrutiny and interference.

Backers are keen to promote the scheme as being good for the country and good for the economy.

Along with easing capacity on the existing rail network, its supporters argue it will create jobs, promote low carbon travel and aid levelling up.

Of course, both sides of the argument about HS2 are well-rehearsed and we have heard them many times.

Certainly the bosses knew the start of tunnelling was a big day for the project.

No doubt they will also hope it marks a turning point in some public perception.

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