There is a triangular junction where the route north from London forks west to Birmingham and north to Leicester and north-to-west curve completing the Ring. It encloses the north side of Rugby, though at some distance from it. A station on the west-to-north leg would be possible, but it is a long way from Rugby town. Two stations on the south-to-west and north-to-south legs would be workable, the traffic here can only be 9 tph.
The route continues north on an old trackbed. Going through Countessthorpe it goes in cutting. The roundabout on Blaby road will be moved eastward up the hill and the access road to the retail park will be moved with it and the route will pass to the west of the access road to pass under Blaby road, which will be raised.
Leicester is an important station. It will have to be widened to allow through running and stopping. It is a pity that the main route cannot be brought to East Midlands Airport, but a loop could be built off the main route to serve it.
The ground under Nottingham is very suitable for a tunnel, but many in Nottingham accept the idea of HS2’s station at Toton. Nor are they troubled by the time it would take for trams to get from Toton to Nottingham. In contrast Sheffield is campaigning for the route to go through Sheffield city centre rather than Meadowhall. If the layout is left as HS2 propose, the quickest journey between Nottingham and Sheffield would still be by the rather slow classic route. Is this good enough?
I am troubled by the thoughtless design of Toton station. Does it warrant 8 platforms? And tram provision is perfunctory. The tramway or railway feeders to Derby and Nottingham are crucial. It is no good having a high speed journey to Toton, then an awkward interchange onto slow transport to Derby and Nottingham town centres. “Generous architecture” tends to lead to long stairs and long walks and ticketing barriers must not be built into the design; ticketing systems change far quicker than buildings can be changed! There is no need for complication; all that is needed is a bridge roughly at right angles to the railway tracks, with stairs, escalators and lifts up and down. Buses, trams and trains, with varying floor heights may be safely mixed on the same surface at low speed, though they need to be separated at higher speeds. Layouts can be arranged to avoid conflicts, there will be the usual offices, shops, toilets, offices, etc.
I believe it is important for stations to be in city centres, where the commercial and social life and connections to other transport modes. This will be difficult in Sheffield because Sheffield is in a bay in a valley in the side of the Pennines. For this I suggest a “Delta junction” such as HS2 proposed for Birmingham. The main route continues northwards over the M1 bridge at Meadowhall. A side route turns westwards through Orgreave to Sheffield station, where the trains reverse. Having reversed the trains continue their journey, along the Don valley and rising on a ramp to pass over the M1 and to rejoin the main route. This only adds 3 kms to the distance run.
The route enters Barnsley along a re-alignment of the Barnsley-Sheffield route to a station behind the leisure centre and leaves the town under Wakefield Rd along an abandoned railway line.
The route comes in to Leeds between Normanton and Rothwell to join the route coming eastwards out Leeds. Unfortunately that will involve a curve sharper than it should be, but since all the trains stop in Leeds they will be going slowly here. This joins end-to-end with the route from Manchester, HS3.
There is also the possibility of a curve from Garforth to Normanton, which could be used by trains to by-pass Leeds forming a Scotland – London express service to attract the large air traffic along this route.
Hull can be reached either by taking the route westwards out of Leeds, Rothwell, Normanton… or a fork off the line to York before reaching Garforth…Selby…Hull.