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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 June 2007, 11:07 GMT 12:07 UK
Study into 300mph city rail link
maglev train

A feasibility study into a high-speed rail link between Glasgow and Edinburgh has been commissioned by transport chiefs in the West of Scotland.

Strathclyde Partnership for Transport (SPT) wants to investigate a maglev link between the two cities which could reduce journey times to 15 minutes.

The maglev (magnetic levitation) train can reach speeds of 300mph.

Those behind the project claim it could effectively turn Glasgow and Edinburgh into one "super city".

Despite being able to travel faster than the French TGV or the Japanese bullet train, China is so far the only country to have embraced the transport system commercially.

It is very expensive, not only that, it has very high energy requirements like any big transport project
Dr Iain Docherty

The 20-mile link between Shanghai's Pudong International Airport and the city's financial district takes just over seven minutes, costing 33m to built.

A maglev link between Glasgow and Edinburgh could cost up to 2bn.

UK Ultraspeed is the company behind the ambitious bid to run the trains between Scotland's two biggest cities.

Chief executive Dr Alan James said the system would enhance Scotland's economic prowess and reduce the volume of traffic on the roads.

He said: "The maglev turns Edinburgh and Glasgow into effectively a single super city, enabling Scotland to punch above its weight in the premiere league of the global economy attracting investment and jobs."

'High energy'

Councillor Alistair Watson, chair of SPT, said the move would be an important step for both cities.

He added: "If we care about our cities and indeed our country competing on an increasingly competitive global scale, this is the type of initiative that we should be embracing by turning our two cities into one super region."

The Conservatives promised a study into the possibility of bringing the maglev to Scotland as part of their manifesto during the recent election.

But the Scottish Executive have said their immediate priority is to improve existing rail lines.

Critics of the system believe it is not only economically costly but would exact an environmental price as well.

Dr Iain Docherty, a transport expert from Glasgow University, said building the new link in Scotland was impractical.

He said: "The concept of bringing the two cities closer together by reducing the journey time, especially by train between Glasgow and Edinburgh, is absolutely the right one.

"The question is whether maglev is the correct technology to use. It is very expensive, not only that, it has very high energy requirements like any big transport project.

"The key question we have to ask is could we spend the money better on other projects."

Shanghai passengers talk about travelling on maglev

Controversy over maglev proposals
30 Apr 07 |  Glasgow and West
Japan to introduce maglev trains
26 Apr 07 |  Business
Councils consider 'maglev' link
22 Mar 07 |  England
Maglev could slash journey times
19 Jan 07 |  Glasgow and West

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