Plans for a brand new underground railway where trains can travel at 300mph, linking Leeds and Manchester in just 9 minutes, have been handed to officials.
The new high speed train would run underneath the Pennines and could connect Leeds to Manchester with trains that travel at more than 100mph faster than the governments proposed HS3 line, which looks to connect the east and west coasts.
Direct City Networks (DCN) says it has drawn up plans for a train, which would hover above the track operating via charged magnets. Current train networks mean it takes 3 hours to travel from Liverpool to Hull. However with magnetic levitation, or maglev, journeys in the north could become drastically shorter.
Maglev is currently used in Japan, China, and South Korea. In Shanghai they are able to connect its airport to the outskirts of the city in just 2 minutes. However, the cost of opening in 2004 was around £1bn and Shanghai is yet to turn a profit.
The DCN claims that the new 100 per cent underground line could grow the Leeds and Manchester economies by £1.3bn a year, stating it would create 48,000 new jobs and would eventually expand to connect all the regions’ airports. With government co-operation, the service is predicted to be operational with eight years and would allow for journey times of nine minutes between Leeds and Manchester, and thirteen minutes between Leeds and Hull.
Transport for the North have confirmed that it has seen the proposals but said they needed more work before they could be considered in greater detail. The line is being offered as an alternative to the HS3 route, but would sit alongside the existing TransPennine Express route, which would continue to serve intermediate stations.
A spokesperson for DCN stated that the line is part of the development of the Northern Powerhouse Rail proposals, and aims to offer “fast, frequent, and reliable transport around the North”.