I have travelled the southern half of both routes, both of these are fairly flat although there are plenty of trees and green spaces. As you approach the Scottish border the ground is higher and nicer to look at. The western route skirts the Lake District, you can see the hills but not the lakes, probably slightly beter views than the East Coast main line. There are very fast west coast trains from Tamworth south of Derby to Motherwell or Glasgow, with connecting trains the total time to Edinburgh may be slightly longer on the West Coast line. Prices for mid-day travel can be quite low if you can commit the whole day to the journey. Evening travel can be more expensive because of the higher demand from business travellers. The East Coast trip can be a single train, you can break your journey at York if your ticket allows it. On the West Coast you will have to change - this may involve steps although many stations now have lifts on the main platforms.
You can check the lift situation on the station pages of www.nationalrail.co.uk which shows for example that Tamworth has lifts at the end of the platform.Edited: 11:53 am, August 10, 2012
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