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Elon Musk's 'hyperloop' Supersonic Transport Link Idea

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So HS2 may already be obsolete before it's even started..........

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-23677205

US-based entrepreneur Elon Musk has revealed details of a supersonic "Hyperloop" transportation system linking Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The SpaceX, Tesla and Paypal founder envisions using magnets to shoot capsules supported by a cushion of air through a miles-long low-pressure tube.

A Hyperloop between San Francisco and Los Angeles would cost $6bn (£3.9bn), he estimated.

But Mr Musk says he is currently too busy to develop the project himself.

Only if no-one else picks up the challenge will he consider attempting to realise the concept in the future, he has said.

In an interview and in a paper outlining the Hyperloop proposal, Mr Musk has suggested the system would be a faster, less costly and more efficient mode of transport between Los Angeles and San Francisco than the high-speed train currently under development.

"I originally started thinking about [Hyperloop] when I read about California's high-speed rail project which was somewhat disappointing," he told a Google Hangout with Richard Branson last week.

"It's actually worse than taking the plane. I get a little sad when things are not getting better in the future."

Mr Musk estimates the 380-mile (610km) trip would take about 30 minutes and says capsules could depart as often as every 30 seconds.

He believes the concept would best work between cities closer than 1,000 miles apart, because beyond that supersonic air travel would be preferred.

In the region of 1/10th estimated cost of HS2 link to Mcr.

Obviously these are just ideas but it seems by the time HS2 gets anywhere near to being started it may already be expensive old legacy tech.

Unless the beardy one has other ideas mebbe.........

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Didn't Professor Eric Laithwaite demonstrate this on Tomorrows World with a tin tray years ago?

(update duh, no his system worked using electromagnetic levitation)

Edited by aSecureTenant

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His estimate seems very low. They will have to dig a tunnel in the ground from San fran to LA (380 miles), plus make sure it is sealed to form a vacuum, plus all of the wiring and electrical power. There is no way that the UK govt could do that for a 10th of the cost of laying some tracks in a straight line.

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What happens if there is an accident?

Do you stumble out into the darkness and then your eyes pop out and your blood boils?

I think I'll take the bus!

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His estimate seems very low. They will have to dig a tunnel in the ground from San fran to LA (380 miles), plus make sure it is sealed to form a vacuum, plus all of the wiring and electrical power. There is no way that the UK govt could do that for a 10th of the cost of laying some tracks in a straight line.

The idea is to run it alongside existing highways on pylons, not underground. And it's not a vacuum - the clue's in the phrase "air cushion"...

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Hasn't this just been stolen from conspiraloon's ideas of how the US military travels between its network of secret underground bases?

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Sounds like a modern twist on a Brunel idea.

Mildly related to the French aerotrain

I wish him luck, frankly

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Well...

Sealed pipelines are nothing new - we use them for Natural gas and Oil transport, on intercontinnental distances.. high pressure NG pipelines over a meter feet in diameter are available. You'd probably want at least 3 meters diameter for this project, given that people would probably get claustrophobic if they had to sit without moving for the whole journey as in the illustration. But the tube is actually a well established tech.

The whole thing can be powered off the electric grid. Putting solar panels on would have to be an economic/environmental more than engineering decision (I suspect this is because Space engineers forget about the electric grid on earth).

You'd need an emergency shutdown procedure with double failsafes..

It would also be an idea to have windows in the pipeline, although travelling at 600 mph a few feet off the ground may make the view.. interesting.

It goes without saying that this technology would work superbly in the UK - with our much smaller distances and land 'issues'; you could put the tube over the central reservation of many of our motorways. It would even function in an inch of snow. However, I'm sure we'd find a way to make it fantastically expensive and take decades to build.. it would require long term finance and commitment.

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Guest eight

Well...

Sealed pipelines are nothing new - we use them for Natural gas and Oil transport, on intercontinnental distances.. high pressure NG pipelines over a meter feet in diameter are available. You'd probably want at least 3 meters diameter for this project, given that people would probably get claustrophobic if they had to sit without moving for the whole journey as in the illustration. But the tube is actually a well established tech.

The whole thing can be powered off the electric grid. Putting solar panels on would have to be an economic/environmental more than engineering decision (I suspect this is because Space engineers forget about the electric grid on earth).

You'd need an emergency shutdown procedure with double failsafes..

It would also be an idea to have windows in the pipeline, although travelling at 600 mph a few feet off the ground may make the view.. interesting.

It goes without saying that this technology would work superbly in the UK - with our much smaller distances and land 'issues'; you could put the tube over the central reservation of many of our motorways. It would even function in an inch of snow. However, I'm sure we'd find a way to make it fantastically expensive and take decades to build.. it would require long term finance and commitment.

I find it sad that the main thrust (pardon the expression) of public transport policy seems to be to make everything quicker, rather than more accessible. It's like the aim is to make the whole world within commuting distance of London. Some truly mass affordable medium distance high capacity trains would be nice.

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Mildly related to the French aerotrain

I wish him luck, frankly

Indeed this is effectively aerotrain mark 2.

See http://www.aerotrain.fr/ for the original aerotrain concept, it was killed of by high oil prices in the 1970's and the fact it was much more expensive than the TGV - he will need more than luck to change that.

I came across the test track near orleans about 15 years ago completely by accident.

There is no tube or tunnel with this concept - it is effectively a hovercraft without the flexible skirt running on a flat surface.

edit to add:

aerotrain_.jpg

Edited by koala_bear

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Well...

Sealed pipelines are nothing new - we use them for Natural gas and Oil transport, on intercontinnental distances.. high pressure NG pipelines over a meter feet in diameter are available. You'd probably want at least 3 meters diameter for this project, given that people would probably get claustrophobic if they had to sit without moving for the whole journey as in the illustration. But the tube is actually a well established tech.

The whole thing can be powered off the electric grid. Putting solar panels on would have to be an economic/environmental more than engineering decision (I suspect this is because Space engineers forget about the electric grid on earth).

You'd need an emergency shutdown procedure with double failsafes..

It would also be an idea to have windows in the pipeline, although travelling at 600 mph a few feet off the ground may make the view.. interesting.

It goes without saying that this technology would work superbly in the UK - with our much smaller distances and land 'issues'; you could put the tube over the central reservation of many of our motorways. It would even function in an inch of snow. However, I'm sure we'd find a way to make it fantastically expensive and take decades to build.. it would require long term finance and commitment.

It would make an "interesting" terrorism target.

Something containing a significant number of people is travelling at 600mph through the suburbs in a tube, a bomb goes off next to the tube as it is passing near a school, the container exits the tube and becomes becomes a 600mph projectile full of people......

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It would make an "interesting" terrorism target.

Something containing a significant number of people is travelling at 600mph through the suburbs in a tube, a bomb goes off next to the tube as it is passing near a school, the container exits the tube and becomes becomes a 600mph projectile full of people......

That would be fantastically difficult to actually arrange - you are going to have to attach enough explosive to the tube to blow a very big hole indeed, so that the train actually comes out. You have to get the timing exact, because there would be an emergency shutdown/stop system in case of pressure disruption.

The curves would also be very slight, much less than you'd get on a motorway. So getting it to exit probably isn't a starter. You could probably crash it and kill everyone inside, of course. But it'd be easier to derail a train nowadays...

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I find it sad that the main thrust (pardon the expression) of public transport policy seems to be to make everything quicker, rather than more accessible. It's like the aim is to make the whole world within commuting distance of London. Some truly mass affordable medium distance high capacity trains would be nice.

Imagine if you could commute from Birmingham to London in 20 minutes, house prices would treble! The UK is saved!

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Imagine if you could commute from Birmingham to London in 20 minutes, house prices would treble! The UK is saved!

It would be interesting.. you'd want a network of long-distance no-stop lines between hubs and branch lines.

A joined up system could put every significant population center in the country within an hour's travel (or at least south of Leeds and east of Exeter.

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Well...

Sealed pipelines are nothing new - we use them for Natural gas and Oil transport, on intercontinnental distances.. high pressure NG pipelines over a meter feet in diameter are available. You'd probably want at least 3 meters diameter for this project, given that people would probably get claustrophobic if they had to sit without moving for the whole journey as in the illustration. But the tube is actually a well established tech.

The whole thing can be powered off the electric grid. Putting solar panels on would have to be an economic/environmental more than engineering decision (I suspect this is because Space engineers forget about the electric grid on earth).

You'd need an emergency shutdown procedure with double failsafes..

It would also be an idea to have windows in the pipeline, although travelling at 600 mph a few feet off the ground may make the view.. interesting.

It goes without saying that this technology would work superbly in the UK - with our much smaller distances and land 'issues'; you could put the tube over the central reservation of many of our motorways. It would even function in an inch of snow. However, I'm sure we'd find a way to make it fantastically expensive and take decades to build.. it would require long term finance and commitment.

Totally different forces involved. Pipework of the sort used for oil and gas and pressurised and designed to work under pressure. A vacuum of say 100mbar would likely collapse them. For vacuum tubes you would need something much stronger.

I suspect this project is somewhat fanciful. I can't see it being any cheaper than building a TGV network which can also be utilised overnight for freight.

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Imagine if you could commute from Birmingham to London in 20 minutes, house prices would treble! The UK is saved!

There's your answer to funding. 40% CGT on all the houses in the West Midlands :P

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Totally different forces involved. Pipework of the sort used for oil and gas and pressurised and designed to work under pressure. A vacuum of say 100mbar would likely collapse them. For vacuum tubes you would need something much stronger.

I suspect this project is somewhat fanciful. I can't see it being any cheaper than building a TGV network which can also be utilised overnight for freight.

I'm sure you're probably right about it being a bit fanciful, but I can't see why it couldn't be used for some freight as well as passenger transport.

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