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The California Hyperloop Train

Updated on December 21, 2014
The Hyperloop Concept
The Hyperloop Concept
The Beach Train
The Beach Train

What a "star trekkie" type idea and concept. Travel in a train moving at 800 mph, travel between the cities in 35 minutes at a cost of only $30. But, what is the Hyperloop train?

It is a crazy idea that many believe is possible provided the funding is there. For energy, solar is the source. For the traveler, each would enter a "pod" capsule and then shoot to the destination in a tube, kinda like going down a tube at a water park. Over 100 engineers have devoted their free time to develop the concept and remaining issues of getting pods to move at the speed of 800 mph. They are exploring magnetic levitation and air compression as a means. The pods would actually travel on air cushions. This cushion of compressed air would increase the heat inside the narrow tube and pod. This problem already exists in the London underground tube train that travels much slower. The tube between the two cities would be perched on pylons that run along or close to Interstate 5, the main highway from north to south. The pressure within the tube would be one millibar with the small pods (7-8 ft.long) riding a half inch air current.

The concept is the idea of Elon Musk, a co-founder of Paypal and Tesla. He claims the first train can be built for $16 billion and by 2025. Various studies show the project is feasible with some major changes, for one, the tubes would have to be 13 ft. in diameter, much larger than the original concept. The pod's current design needs to be changed significantly and the gap between the pod and tube must be greater. For the first prototype, the tubes would begin at Hayward and end at Sylmar. The problem is that after a travel, the person would have to find other means to get to their destination, but still, the savings in time is huge. Currently, there is a three mile test prototype being considered.

The Hyperloop system concept has been done in more modest terms before: In 1869, New York City had one of sorts in Beach Transit. It ran for just one block. The train was pushed by high air pressure from the rear and low pressure in the front. In 1910 or so, rocket pioneer Robert Goddard, proposed a vacuum train that shared many concepts of the Hyperloop. Thus, the train is possible but very expensive and the ticket price would have to be much higher than proposed.


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