HS2 say that most passengers from the North-East go to London and so their southwards route by-passes Leeds. This is to big up London. It is a truth of transport that shorter journeys outnumber longer journeys, and indeed more passengers want to go Leeds + Manchester + Liverpool than do to London. So the thorn-shaped route goes into Leeds where it forks, westwards to Manchester and Liverpool, and by reversing, southwards to London.
Eastwards from Leeds the existing 2 tracks run on arches at roof eaves height, this can be widened to 4 tracks without too much destruction. The route passes through open country south of Colton and on to the Vale of York.
(The route to Hull could branch off just east of Garforth and a route could run from near Garforth to near Barnsley to by-pass Leeds and provide express service Scotland-London)
The only engineering difficulty is that the Vale of York has many flood plans, The route is too far from significant settlements to warrant a station. HS2's "Broad Options..." says that from Leeds to Northallerton the shortest route cuts across the Vale of York, reducing the length from 77 kms to 62 kms, and it estimates that would cut the running time by 20 minutes. I cannot find this reduction in length, the cut in running time is surely found by cutting out the stop in York. That would be a loss. York is a town of 200,000 and I think it would be better to eliminate the stop in York and instead serve it from a station in Copmanthorpe going on to a route which skirts the west of the city to rejoin the classic route to Thirsk and Northallerton. There is space along the south side of the old route for a tramway or busway to link Copmanthorpe and York
38_Copmanthorpe for York
From Northallerton the route runs on to Middlesbrough aka "The Lower Tees", home to 560,000, as against Darlington, population 100,000. The route runs on low viaduct between Middlesbrough and Stockton parallel to the A19 road which is also on low viaduct. There is a lay-by station to be called "Stephenson" for obvious reasons on the south bank of the Tees where it interchanges with the Tees south bank railway. This is a key place on the road and rail networks and with its excellent road connections it can also be a parkway station.
We cannot build another viaduct through Durham like the classic route, so the þ-shaped route runs through County Durham to a lay-by station with bus services and park and ride at Middle Rainton where it crosses the A690 Sunderland-Durham road, near J62 of the A1(M). This serves the west side of Sunderland, Durham city and most of county Durham, both close.
The route goes on past junction 63 of the A1(M) to join the old route between Chester and Birtley just north of Drum Rd near the Barley Mow. The route runs through Newcastle Central where there is plenty of space for wider trains, and trains 400 M long would fit into an aisle which might have been made for them.
Half the trains will run forward to Heaton works, for cleaning and layover; half will run north on the old route. The trackbed here is not wide enough for another pair of tracks, though only for a short length are there houses close enough to have to be demolished. But unless traffic grows very greatly will there be no need to do so.
The route forks off at Dudley, and crosses over the old route to the west of Cramlington to pass to the east of Morpeth; The old route through Morpeth has a curve which is a severe restriction on speed. From Widdrington onwards the new route is built side by side with the old route, taking out little kinks as the extra width makes possible.
49_Morpeth and Ashington
51_Alnwick and Alnmouth
55_Crossing the Tweed
The new route separates from the old route to cross the Tweed inland from Berwick. There will be a loop off to Berwick.
The route goes past Fouldens and crosses the old route nearer Reston. It would be possible to “straighten out” Penmanshiel, but there be would huge objections, so the route turns north-west to run parallel to the A1107, turns west at Miekle Black Law and comes down diagonally across the slope to Woodend and runs alongside the classic route from near Cockburnspath.
I have drawn a route by-passing Penmanshiel, but this would be expensive, and using it would cut only 3 minutes off going through Penmanshiel glen at the normal line speed.
The route continues side-by-side with the old route, taking the opportunity to straighten it as it did in Northumberland, by-passing Drem.
Entering Edinburgh, there are two tunnels. The north one is the most used. The height of rock above it is so small that probably the most cost-effective thing to do would be to open it out as a cutting, but that would destroy its craggy good looks. But both tunnels will be easy enough to enlarge.
400 M long trains would take over much of Princess St. gardens and nobody would like that. As in Newcastle to set aside two platforms for the route would be enough, but even if the route’s platforms were raised above the Classic platforms, Waverley is so deep that the roof would still be below Princes St.
Lowering the tunnel floor and having only one running track in each may allow oversize trains though the tunnels between Waverley and Haymarket or maybe the tunnels can be enlarged. Modern signalling allows trains to be run at 3 minute intervals, which is 20 trains per hour. It is acceptable to run high speed and ordinary trains over the same tracks for such a short distance. When the trains have come out of the tunnels the points can sort the trains to the right platforms and routes.
The route takes the South Gyle route westward out of Edinburgh, as they come round the curve trains must already be slowing for their stop in Edinburgh. This takes the route through Edinburgh Gateway station, with its tram connection to the airport, it is also planned as a collection point for minor routes which would otherwise converge on Edinburgh. Should The Route stop here? At South Gyle the route curves westwards to cut through the site of the Royal Highland show, where there will be a station for the airport. The route passes over or under junction 1 of the M9 and runs between the A69 and the M8 until Deuchmont and from there on runs along the north side of the M8, only roughly parallel to it because it must be straighter than the M8.
The route curves south of Chapelhall and crosses the A8/M8 to run with the south side of it. The route curves again before it reaches the M73 to join the Glasgow Central- Coatbridge railway at Ballieston and from there into Glasgow Central.
But to take 400 M long trains would mean knocking down the front parts of Glasgow Central and/or extending the station on bridge over the Clyde. An alternative would be to bring the route in via Bellgrove to a station on High St. on the Union chord, and through to Glasgow Airport.