Call for '600mph hyperloop' transport for Leeds

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Hyperloop OneImage source, Hyperloop One
Image caption,
The vacuum propulsion concept of Hyperloop is yet to be tested over long distances

A former council leader has called for the futuristic "hyperloop" public transport technology to come to Leeds.

Councillor Keith Wakefield, of Leeds City Council, said he hoped it could be in Leeds in the next 20 years.

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling suggested earlier this year that hyperloop could ferry people from Leeds city centre to Leeds Bradford Airport.

Hyperloop, first floated by tech billionaire Elon Musk, could see passengers travel at up to 600mph.

Cllr Keith Wakefield, who formerly chaired West Yorkshire Combined Authority transport committee, has joined growing support for the cutting-edge mode of transport.

He said Leeds must embrace new technology to not get left behind.

"There is actually a hyperloop being built in the Middle East," Cllr Wakefield said. "So yes, it could be done."

The Labour councillor said it would be an "interesting feeling" to be sucked along a tube.

Image caption,
Cllr Keith Wakefield said if Leeds does not keep up with emerging transport technology, it "could get left behind"

Hyperloop uses an electric motor to push an electromagnetically-levitated pod through a low-pressure tube, theoretically reaching up to 670mph.

It was tested in August in a 500m tube through the Nevada desert, the first test of a pod which could eventually hold people.

Leeds 'left behind'

Last week, Leeds City Council revealed hopes for a new mass transit system in the distant future.

Cllr Richard Lewis, head of transport, did not mention hyperloop but said the city must embrace new technology.

"We need to get away from thinking 'it's got to be a tram'," he said, adding new technology will be "very cheap in future."

Image caption,
Leeds City Council announced plans to double bus journeys in Leeds in the next decade

Cllr Wakefield said: "Ideas of transport will be changing within the next 20 years, we will probably get hyperloop.

"If we're not careful we will get left behind. It is moving on at such a pace."

In February, Leeds City Council announced plans to double bus journeys in Leeds in the next decade.

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