BBC News reports that the Association of North East Councils is considering a maglev link between Tyneside and the Tees Valley. For the less technically aware, this would be a train system which works by magnetic repulsion – the trains literally float above the track, which means that very high speeds can be achieved with much less power. The ubiquitous Wikipedia has some background.
Now this technology is far from new – I recall seeing a demonstration of a linear induction motor (a nifty way of levitating and moving metal thingies) on the Royal Institution lectures one Christmas in the 1970s. And some time after that, there were tests of a “Hovertrain”, but what with one thing and another, practical implementations have not yet materialised in the UK.
Now this would be an incredibly cool thing – it would make journey times much shorter, and would be a nifty engineering project. But where would the money come from? It would be a very expensive project, and I can’t really see it happening in a hurry.
I wouldn’t mind being proved wrong on that one, though. Especially if we end up getting a really high speed link to London.