Imagine swapping your stressful M62 commute for a 15-minute ride above a 'hover train'.

Sounds too good to be true — but a Leeds-Manchester journey could take less than quarter of an hour on the futuristic 'maglev' train, which uses magnetic levitation to accelerate to speeds of up to 270mph.

The maglev is already popular in Shanghai, where the Transrapid service took to the tracks in 2004, and South Korea recently launched its own speedy maglev service.

How are the trains so fast? Well, the maglev has no wheels and doesn't run on a conventional engine, hurtling along on a magnetically charged cushion of air, outpacing anything we have in Europe.

Maglev in South Korea
Maglev in South Korea

And the technology may not be half a world away forever. Chancellor George Osborne suggested the idea ten years ago, asking why Britain was not harnessing the technology already.

He said: "There are plenty of links I can think of - a link between Liverpool and Manchester, or Glasgow and Edinburgh, or London and its airports - which would bring huge benefits to Britain."

The magnetic levitation technology is ideal for shorter inter-city trips due to its quick acceleration — which could make Leeds-Manchester a suitable connection.

It also carries fewer carriages - so it’s better for fewer passengers travelling on trains at shorter intervals.

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Jeremy Acklam, of the Institution of Engineering and Technology thinks the maglev trains are worth consideration.

He said: "Yes, it’s worth considering by Transport for the North for northern inter-city routes or to get from cities to airports. It’s perfectly sensible to consider all options."

But don't sell your car just yet — the huge running costs of the hover trains has led to them being ruled out of HS2 plans already.

Mr Acklam added that distances of more than 25km make the technology uneconomical.

But shorter intercity routes in the north could still be a possibility.

It's also a British invention — patented by Wigan professor Eric Laithwaite in 1956 following his doctoral research at Manchester University.

Transport for the North, the consortium of northern councils due to unveil further details of its vision for northern railways next month, has stressed that it plans to use the existing rail network for its east-south upgrade — and unfortunately maglevs need special tracks.

A spokesman said bosses are ‘examining the best ways’ of slashing journey times between northern cities, ‘exploring all options to deliver enhanced connectivity for the north whilst maintaining compatibility’.

He added: “Research has shown that a ‘turn up and go’ service, where passengers don’t feel the need to check timetables before starting out on a journey, drives an increase in patronage. It is this type of frequent, fast service that we are developing plans for.

“A further update on proposals will be published in early March, as part of the Northern Transport Strategy Spring 2016 report.”