A 200mph railway could be operating in Hampshire in as little as five years, a councillor has revealed.

The Virgin Hyperloop One high-speed rail network would link Basingstoke with Woking, says Cllr Mel Kendal, county council cabinet member for economic development.

While referring to an unnamed UK-based firm working with Virgin, he said that meetings had taken place with the council regarding construction on land in the north of the county.

However, while speaking at the Buildings, Land and Procurement Panel, he added the land in question was owned by a trust, sparking doubts about the scheme.

Nevertheless, the firm is alleged to be getting government legislative backing for the line, which it wants to go all the way to Heathrow, London.

The Conservative councillor said the idea was exciting and revealed that the tunnel will be carved by a Chinese firm.

Once completed, Hyperloop will be used to transport both passengers and freight, says Virgin.

It will be powered by electric propulsion through a low-pressure tube; the vehicle will float above the track using magnetic levitation and glide at airline speeds for long distances due to ultra-low aerodynamic drag.

It will also be fully autonomous and enclosed, eliminating pilot error and weather hazards.

Hampshire County Council refused to comment, and Virgin did not respond in time for publication.

The news comes almost a year after it was revealed Virgin were also looking at creating a route between London and Edinburgh – which it claims would take just 50 minutes.

The firm, owned by Richard Branson, recently conducted tests in Nevada, USA, where it reached speeds of 196mph.

Elon Musk, who owns Tesla, is another trying to utilise the underground having already carved tunnels under Los Angeles. He originally claimed his hyperloop concept could one day reach speeds of 760mph. Mr Musk’s recent tests have seen his design reach 220mph – the current fastest speed.