• To improve speeds and journey times for destinations on the
northern part of the West Coast Main Line.
• To enable Manchester to Scotland services via Manchester
As per HS2 Ltd's plan to Abram where it would converge with the
WCML, but staying on separate tracks for the remaining 4km to
Wigan. All junctions would be grade separated and a unified
station would be built to improve interchange at Wigan.
Provision would be made for the eventual construction of a high
speed tunnel under Wigan to avoid the tight curves near Wigan
station. However considering how important an interchange Wigan
will be for the people of Merseyside and Greater Manchester, most
high speed trains going through Wigan will stop there so a bypass
tunnel would be a very low priority. Hence the tunnel itself has
not been included in the Track11 HS2 plan.
High speed trains would use this line to link Glasgow and central
Scotland with London and Birmingham (and possibly also
Manchester). They would also link Edinburgh with Manchester (and
High speed services to Blackpool are also a possibility.
Zoom to line
Zoom to Wigan station
• To extend the high speed line all the way to the existing
station in Leeds
Track11 specifically rejects HS2 Ltd's plan for a separate station
at Leeds, as its separation from the main station and from the
City Centre would cost passengers far more time than it saves.
Instead the following seven options are suggested for further
Options 1, 2 and 3: Following HS2 Ltd's plan (bypassing
Woodlesford station to the north, then alongside the existing
line) as far as Hunslet. Then:
Option 1: As in HS2 Ltd's plan, but extended above the River Aire
to reach Leeds station.
Option 2: Going underground to reach Leeds station.
Option 3: Following the existing line to Leeds station.
Options 4, 5 and 6: similar to options 1,2 and 3 respectively, but
instead of running via Woodlesford they would branch off the main
high speed line further south, cross the River Calder and tunnel
from Stanley to Stourton.
Option 7 involves crossing the River Aire at Woodlesford, then
roughly following the A63 (Pontefract Lane) to the southern side
of Neville Hill sidings, where it would join the existing railway
(which would be upgraded to four track).
Extending an elevated line to Leeds station would be difficult and
expensive and there is limited space (which is presumably why HS2
Ltd stopped short). Tunnelling has the advantage of bringing
shorter journey times and the opportunity to extend the line
northwards from Leeds station, but at least initially the expense
is unlikely to be justified for the low proportion of trains that
use this line. Therefore options 3 and 7 are likely to be
strongest, and are shown on the map as the southern and northern
option respectively. In both cases there is a significant
opportunity to increase the benefits by sharing the line with ECML
Entering Leeds from the west makes it easier to provide extra platform
space for trains to terminate, as more platform capacity on the
northern side could be provided relatively easily. However
entering Leeds from the east would enable the trains to be
extended to Bradford (via the existing electrified line) without
reversing, so less platform capacity would be needed at Leeds).
Opening this section is not initially expected to significantly alter
service patterns, though it would reduce journey times and enable
double decker trains to be used.
Beyond the Y
Beyond stage Y, and beyond the Y shaped network of HS2, high speed
lines would still be needed, but with a less intensive service
(due to lower demand than on the southern section) it makes sense
to share the line with conventional trains. Thus although they
would be used by HS2 trains, and would slash journey times, these
lines would mainly be regarded as parts of the WCML and ECML
rather than HS2:
Shorter, faster route from Elvanfoot to Glasgow
Mostly alongside M74, tunnel at south end.
Shorter, faster route from Oxenholme to Penrith
Direct tunnel avoiding steep and hilly route.
East Lothian ECML straightening
Rerouting of the East Coast Main Line through East Lothian so that
it runs alongside the A1 rather than via Drem. Also following the
A1 past Dunbar so that only trains stopping at Dunbar will detour
The route via Drem would be kept open for local trains.
Strathmore route reopening
To create a faster route to Aberdeen via Forfar. This is part of
the HSUK plan.
Morpeth bypass line
To avoid the sharply curving section of ECML with a permanent
50mph speed limit
Berwick Upon Tweed bypass line
From west of Ayton (Scotland) to Tweedmouth (England) requiring
between 9 and 10km of tunnelling as well as a new bridge across
New high speed route via Teesside Airport
This would enable high speed trains to link Teesside Airport with
East Midlands, Birmingham, Heathrow and Gatwick airports.
This line would not be constructed before a Tees Valley Metro is
New high speed route through Newcastle
This line, mostly in tunnel but also including a new bridge over
the Tyne, is part of the HSUK plan. However for reasons of
passenger comfort as well as interchange quality, the Track11
variant would have the Newcastle station platforms in tunnel below
the existing station rather than on the new Tyne bridge.
York bypass line
From Tollerton to Colton Junction (where HS2 converges with the
ECML) to cut the journey times of those trains which do not stop
Newcastle to Edinburgh (inland) high speed route
Although upgrading the existing ECML route from Newcastle is
likely to be the best value option to get high speed trains to
Edinburgh, a faster more direct high speed line remains a
possibility. Significantly, if a new motorway is constructed to
link Newcastle and Edinburgh, it is likely to be worth combining
the construction of a high speed line with that. However if no new
motorway is built, this line is unlikely to be worth constructing
on its own.
Knebworth to Alexandra Palace widening
An extra pair of tracks from Knebworth to Alexandra Palace,
increasing the number of tracks to four through Welwyn North and
six south of Welwyn Garden City so that Thameslink and Moorgate
services can all be run intensively without affecting Intercity
services on the ECML.
ECML high speed route
One high speed line will not always be enough to link Scotland and
northern England to London.
A proposal for a high speed line to relieve the ECML from north of
Doncaster to south of Peterborough was made in the year 2000 by
Virgin Trains when they were bidding for the InterCity East Coat
franchise. Building this would provide more high speed line
capacity and shorter journey times between London, the East
Midlands, Yorkshire and the North East. This in turn would free up
capacity on High Speed 2 for more services to Birmingham and the
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