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The eastern section of the line, linking Birmingham and Leeds via Sheffield, will go through a newly-built housing estate.
Mr Grayling said: "This is a hugely important step in the construction of Britain's new railway and underlines this Government's determination to deliver an economy that works for all.
"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.
Preparatory work has begun and major construction projects are due to launch in 2018-19.
Services on phase 2a from the West Midlands to Crewe are expected to begin in 2027.