Despite the project generating a lot of political controversy and threatening internecine warfare within both major parties, when it came to the vote to continue preparations, MPs voted by 350 to 34 in favour.
The High Speed Rail (Preparation) Bill has now completed its passage through the Commons and moves to the House of Lords for consideration. The legislation is required to authorise further spending on preparation for the £42.6bn HS2 project.
Earlier in the week, city leaders from the midlands and the north put the squeeze on the Labour leadership, which seemed to be coming out against the project. Birmingham City Council leader Sir Albert Bore told Labour party leaders: “If the party continues to put out such a negative message on HS2, I will be concerned that there will be a protracted public conflict between the party leadership and the Labour led core cities when we should be working closely together to develop a winning campaign for 2015.”
There is also opposition among Tory MPs with seats in the Home Counties and the Chilterns where some homeowners might be adversely impacted by the new line.
Among those voting against the bill at its third reading stage, 17 were Conservatives and 11 were Labour MPs.
Shadow transport secretary Mary Creagh said that her party supported the continuation of planning the project but a future Labour government would axe it if costs were not kept under control.
Next Tuesday, 5 November, sees the HS2 Supply Chain Conference taking place at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Birmingham. The conference will be the first in a series of events enabling suppliers to meet with the HS2 team, as well as with companies from the wider infrastructure supply market. However, registration for this event is now closed.