Letter: Modern railways

Your report (12 November) on the exclusion of Scotland from plans for a high-speed UK rail network states that north of Leeds and Manchester the new "250mph trains would run over the existing tracks at half the speed to Edinburgh and Glasgow".

On the east coast line, certainly, this will be quite impossible. At present, the average speed of the fastest trains between Edinburgh and York is about 90mph and there will be no improvement in this unless major alterations to track alignment are undertaken in various sections of the route.

Nowhere is this more pressing than just south of Morpeth Station, where a 90-degree curve necessitates a permanent speed restriction of 50mph.

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An official report has recommended that "it would obviously be better if a deviation line could be constructed, to avoid the use of so sharp a curve on a main line".

But travellers should not hold their breath. The report dates from 1877, following a derailment at Morpeth. Nothing has been done in the intervening 133 years and the east of Scotland continues to be badly served.

Stan Elder

Avon Road