Three centuries apart: the link from capital to second city

Images show the most recently-completed section of HS2’s Colne Valley Viaduct after deck segments were laid to span the Grand Union Canal near Denham.

They juxtapose the new 140-mile high-speed London-Birmingham railway against the 18th Century’s solution to connecting Britain’s two largest cities.

Both were built under powers granted by Act of Parliament. They arrive in the Birmingham district of Digbeth and with similar lengths – HS2, 140miles, the canal (completed in 1805) 137 miles.

They are two of the largest civil engineering endeavours of their time.

The two differ dramatically in other respects. Compared to the sedate progress of canal boats, trains will travel across the 2.1mile viaduct at speeds of up to 200mph, completing the journey between the capital and Britain’s second city in just 49 minutes. 

Paying tribute to his team, HS2 senior project manager Billy Ahluwalia said: “Their remarkable achievement will be for all to see across this century and well into the next.”  


Hillingdon Times | News