The train now arriving at Platform One is high speed
When we launched our HS2 campaign in December it was with a splash: City Centre Or Bust!
Some strident stories demanding a switch of station from Meadowhall followed. Easy enough to do, but there followed a period of reflection as the scale of the task in hand became clear.
This was an attempt to change the policy of a national organisation attempting to build a £55bn railway line - the first of its kind since the Victorian age.
And it’s about as controversial as they come. Thousands of people, perhaps millions, either want it - or don’t.
And they all want to bend the ear of those in charge.
Despite this reality, the campaigners ploughed on, people in power had conversations behind the scenes. Sheffield Chamber organised an HS2 Summit in February at which 200 companies signed to say they supported a switch. The City Council was vocal.
The Star ran a spread revealing the rock at Meadowhall was a waterlogged ‘mush’ riddled with faults and old mine workings - and the last place you’d want to build a colossal two mile, six-lane concrete viaduct stiff enough to carry trains at 225mph.
That structure would have gone over a car park at Meadowhall, rather ruining the view from Boots and Marks and Spencer. It would also have affected Outokumpu and Firth Rixson and other firms vital to the city’s economy.
But was anyone listening?
It appears that they were. In fact, it seems HS2 Ltd and the Department for Transport were following developments in Sheffield very closely. And it appears that the arguments we were making were having an impact.
Last week, Sir David Higgins visited Sheffield to tell city region leaders about a planned switch of site and for HS2 trains to run into the city centre.
The day after the National Audit Office issued a report claiming it would save £768m.
Meanwhile, Transport for the North - the body plugging HS3 trains linking northern city centres via half-hour journeys - has been insisting HS2 take its plans into account.
So clearly a number of factors were in Sheffield’s favour. And collectively they appear to have forced HS2 Ltd to go back to the drawing board and come up with a completely new answer to an old question.
Team Sheffield pulled together and did it.