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THE ability to travel from Brisbane to Toowoomba within 10 minutes might seem far-fetched, but it's a conversation we need to have.
That's the assessment from the Garden City's political and business leaders, who responded with shock and awe at a company's proposal to run a high-speed train between Brisbane and Sydney, which would go through Toowoomba.
Ultraspeed Australia unveiled its Hyperloop transport system to the public yesterday, envisioning a train that could travel at speeds above 1000km/h along vacuum-sealed tubes.
Mayor Paul Antonio, who has long been an advocate for high-speed rail between Brisbane and Toowoomba, admitted the plan was "aspirational" but said it had merits.
"It seems quite futuristic but I'm not one to judge about the technical side," he said.
"We've been let down by successive generations of politicians who have not built the rail network in this state.
"The line has got to be built between here and Brisbane and then let's talk about it from there.
"This is aspirational, but Toowoomba needs to be connected to Brisbane by rail in an efficient means."
Ultraspeed is the Australian body for American company Hyperloop One, which includes Sir Richard Branson among its many high-profile financial backers.
Director Steve Artis said Ultraspeed's project would fit in with the developing corridor for the Inland Rail, which was given the green light by the Federal Government earlier this year.
"It can be designed as a commuter solution as well as a long-distance route," he told the Courer-Mail.
Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise's Shane Charles said high-speed rail was a necessity for the region, but admitted the Hyperloop concept was still only theoretical.
"I think having the conversation is particularly important - it's something our region is wanting," he said.
"The reality is, it will take some years to do the feasibility studies to deliver.
"It's an important one to have a conversation about, but we need to be realistic.
"We need to put all our efforts into Inland Rail, but this would be a game changer."
Ultraspeed said it wanted to sit down with the next State Government to develop the plan.
This article first appeared on www.thechronicle.com.au
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