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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 March 2007, 16:18 GMT
Councils consider 'maglev' link
Maglev train
A maglev monorail for Scotland is also being considered
Council bosses say a high-speed magnetic levitation rail link between Tyneside and the Tees Valley could turn the North East into a "super region".

Councillor Mick Henry, Association of North-East Councils chair, said journey times could be reduced to 12 minutes.

A working group from the region's council will now be set up to consider the possibility of a high-speed link.

Maglev uses electromagnetic force to suspend trains, which can reach speeds up to 280mph, above a monorail.

Councillor Henry said the technology could revolutionise travel if introduced to the UK.

He said: "It could reduce journey times from the North East to London to 90 minutes and to cities across the North and Scotland to within an hour, thereby potentially boosting economic competitiveness and creating a 'North Britain Super Region'.

'Social ambitions'

"North-east local government is leading the debate on high speed ground transport and presenting a bold and ambitious vision for the future, one where transport plays a major role in helping us to achieve our full potential and our economic, environmental and social ambitions."

He made the announcement at a major transport meeting in Newcastle on Thursday.

The Transport: The Way Forward event was attended by Rail Minister Tom Harris MP.

In January the Conservatives said they were looking at the possibility of a maglev rail service between Glasgow and Edinburgh.

Maglev could slash journey times
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