HS2's impact on the landscape around Lichfield has been reduced after an amendment was agreed for the route to pass under the A38 and the West Coast Main Line rather than over them.
Further amendments will also be made to remove two crossings over the Trent and Mersey Canal, Secretary of State for Transport Patrick McLoughlin revealed.
The changes follow petitions from local residents and stakeholders, including the Canals & Rivers Trust, and follows swiftly on from the news that a HS2 college would be based in Birmingham.
Mr McLoughlin said the changes reduced the size of embankments in the area and meant large sections of the railway would run in cutting, limiting its visual impact on the landscape.
He said: "This decision underlines the ongoing work HS2 Ltd is doing with communities along the route to ensure the construction of this vital new railway takes their views into account.
"I am confident that by working together we can ensure HS2 is designed in the right way and we will have spades in the ground in 2017 as planned."
Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant described the changes as "a major victory for campaigners" in the area.
Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council's cabinet member for economy, environment and transport, said: "Although we are opposed to HS2, from the outset we have put all our efforts into getting the best deal we can for Staffordshire and its people.
"We are pleased the Staffordshire voice has been heard and these new proposals will help protect the Lichfield skyline, limit extensive, intrusive construction and significantly reduce noise.
"While this is great news today, we recognise too the importance of exploring further mitigating options with HS2 and supporting communities affected by the national transport scheme."
Campaigners had warned embankments and crossings close to the listed Woodend Lock and Lock Cottage on the Trent and Mersey Canal would have had a dramatic impact on a tranquil length of rural canal currently enjoyed by boaters, walkers and cyclists.
HS2's chief executive Simon Kirby said: "I am delighted that through partnership working with Staffordshire County Council we have been able to find an engineering solution that reduces HS2's impact on the area.
"Subsequent partnership working with Staffordshire County Council to further investigate the ground conditions produced results that presented the opportunity for improved route design."