Northern Arc could bring Hyperloop’s super-fast transport system to UK

Details of a new futuristic UK transport system which could slash journey times across the north of England have been revealed.

The Northern Arc project aims to create super-fast transport in which passengers and cargo are loaded into a pod and accelerated gradually via electric propulsion through a low-pressure tube.

The concept is a result of Hyperloop One’s Global Challenge which called for proposals to develop its train-in-a-vacuum-tube technology.

Nine European routes have been shortlisted as part of the Global Challenge, including three for the UK, with the Northern Arc being touted as a real possibility.

The Northern Arc route, which covers Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow, aims to create a coordinated, government-backed, deliverable proposal which will connect Scotland with Northern Powerhouse partners to create a super-region and showcase the north of England as a global leader of transport innovation.

Using the Hyperloop One technology, the route has the potential to connect 10.4 million people across six cities in the north with the total journey time of 47 minutes. A full-scale test track of the technology has already been built in the UK.

The scheme is being backed by the North East Local Enterprise Partnership and has involved local councils, the government and other authorities.

Newcastle firm Ryder Architecture and engineer Arup are also involved in the project.

Paul Bell, partner at Ryder Architecture, one of the businesses pioneering the scheme, said: “Northern Arc is more than a Hyperloop route – it is the economic region that the Northern Powerhouse should be and we’re excited to be involved in this pioneering opportunity.”

The nine European routes being considered by Hyperloop One are:

  • UK Northern Arc (545km)
  • UK Scotland-Wales (1,060km) – Cardiff to Glasgow via London in 89 minutes
  • UK North-South Connector (666km) – Edinburgh to London in 50 minutes
  • Corsica-Sardinia (451km) – Bastia to Cagliari in 40 minutes
  • Estonia-Finland (90 km) – Tallinn to Helsinki in 8 minutes
  • Germany (1,991km) – a full circle in 142 minutes
  • Poland (415km) – Warsaw to Wroclaw in 37 minutes
  • Spain-Morocco (629km) – Madrid to Tangier in 47 minutes
  • The Netherlands (428km) – a full circle in 41 minutes
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  1. Why are we going to spend £50 billion +++ on HS2 to save 20mins or so London to Birmingham using 50 year old technology (Japanese Shinkansen and French TGV were first introduced in the 1960’s and early 1980’s respectively)
    In the past we led the world in rail technology and built or supplied locos and rolling stock to many countries. We need to be doing so again not spending vast amounts on outdated systems much of it spent abroad.

  2. I just read your article on the nine proposed routes for Hyperloop in Europe (great article) and notably the northern arc. But this seems to me like the tech is trying to fly before it can walk. I believe there is an opportunity for a prototype Hyperloop route in the north of England by the development of a link between Sheffield & Manchester. This could be a relatively simple to develop route with an effect that would be simply “off the chart” not only from and improvement in transport links and economic development but also environmental protection and resilience.

    Historically there was a direct route called the Woodhead Pass Rail Link – this route passes through and under one of the most beautiful places in the UK – Peak District National Park and potentially could link two key cities which this could enhance significantly. Current rail link takes approx. 40 mins for the 40 mile journey but limitations in the track and congestion on the lines usually make the journey more than an hour (sometime close to 2hrs)!

    By my reckoning a hyperloop link for this journey in a time that would ultimately make the cities function as a single city. I appreciate you’re probably unfamiliar with the cities of Manchester and Sheffield but just briefly the economies of these cities are very ”self-reinforcing” and this connection could also be seen as the creation of an initial “large city” of just over a million people (currently both cities are just over 500,000) but the wider urban area would connect over 3 million people effectively – making it the kind of size “world cities” need to have all the services and skills to function in a global market. In addition this “could” be the first stage in the connection of the east and west coast of England at this latitude (i.e. linking Liverpool with Hull) another significant positive development of my region.

    I believe it would be possible and relatively simple to lay an above ground link through existing tunnels – there’s currently a disastrous idea for a road tunnel to link Manchester with Sheffield this would cause significant environmental impact!

    A high speed connection between these two major northern cities fits the current government policy of establishing a significant economical enhancement of the north of England called the “Northern Powerhouse” –

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