What Exactly Is Elon Musk’s Hyperloop Concept And Is It Possible?

2 weeks ago by EVANNEX 59

hyperloop

Hyperloop – Source: IQS Directory

HYPERLOOP EXPLAINED: UNDERSTANDING ELON MUSK’S BREAKTHROUGH CONCEPT WITHIN THE HISTORY OF TRAIN TRAVEL

Guest blog post: John Hawthorne*

In the last one hundred years, transportation advancements have steamed past the railcars of the 1800s to bring us automobiles that will soon reach complete and total autonomy and passenger aircraft that can crush the sound barrier.

Source: IQS Directory

*This article comes to us courtesy of EVANNEX (which also makes aftermarket Tesla accessories). Posted by Matt Pressman.

In this rapidly progressing environment, it’s easy to think of trains as a more outdated technology and a vehicle of the past. But they’re not.

Trains may actually represent the future of travel, especially given the increasing congestion on roadways. And trains offer significant advantages found in no other transportation method. As the world moves into the next few decades with scarcer resources, climate change, and higher urban populations, there will be an ever-growing demand for fast and efficient travel that is both safe and affordable.

What’s past is prologue

Modern-day high-speed train technology has been evolving since the mid-twentieth century. The first high-speed railways (HSR) were developed in Japan during the 1950s, and countries have been improving upon the initial “bullet train” concept ever since. These days, high-speed trains use a variety of schematics and equipment to achieve rapid transit, but most still follow standard guidelines for track type and overall function.

Source: IQS Directory

Currently, the biggest viable competitor of high-speed rail technology in use is the maglev, or magnetic levitation train concept. Maglev cars are able to reach higher speeds than traditional passenger trains. They’re also potentially more energy efficient, but come with their own drawbacks and limitations. Moving forward (in the near future), our lifestyle will mandate devising a successful means for express transport and Elon Musk, founder of Tesla and SpaceX, may have the best idea and most promising design in his proposed Hyperloop concept.

The current state of trains

Before delving into that theoretical plan, it’s important to consider the pros and cons of the contemporary technologies in use right now. Traditional high-speed railways are built with a reliable, proven design and decades of study, safety evaluation, and quality improvements.

hyperloop

Source: IQS Directory

Since Japan unveiled the Shinkansen (bullet train) just prior to the 1964 Tokyo Olympics, when maximum speed was limited to 120-160 miles per hour, other countries have since constructed their own high-speed rail networks. China has fully embraced high-speed rail development and, after opening the first line in 2008, has built the world’s largest system of modern railway lines. As of 2016, the Harmony CRH380A is the fastest non-maglev train in the world and the second fastest overall.

It debuted in 2010 and moves passengers at 236 miles per hour from Shanghai to several other destinations. Talgo, a Spanish manufacturing company specializing in luxury passenger trains, has deployed variants of their many models in Europe, Asia, and the Americas. Their latest design reaches 240 miles per hour and the company recently revealed plans to implement a transit line across the Mediterranean region with destinations between Spain and France.

hyperloop

Source: IQS Directory

In the United Kingdom, plans are moving forward to construct High-Speed Two, or HS2 for partial opening by the year 2026. The plan is a follow-up to the original High-Speed One (HS1), which links London to the Channel Tunnel and will provide 250 miles per hour transit service from London to Birmingham, Manchester, and Leeds. Without a doubt, high-speed railways are still a popular transportation method and several countries obviously see the benefit of investing in their continued development.

However, as we advance into the future, the bullet train could become obsolete unless there are significant new discoveries in physics and engineering. As their speed increases, travel on high-speed rails becomes more dangerous. Even as recently as 2011, a train crash in China that killed forty people resulted in a mandatory speed reduction and crackdown on corruption for all high-speed operators. In response, additional safety monitoring and emergency intervention tactics were implemented. Approval was finally given in August 2017 to reinstate the allowed speed standard back to 217 miles per hour from 186 miles per hour.

Youtube: Tuition in

In contrast to normal rail lines, maglev trains operate differently and are designed on the principles of electromagnetic levitation. The passenger car is propelled, usually by motor, over a cushion of magnetic force as it travels along the track. Compared to traditional trains, this mechanism of travel is typically more efficient, but only at high speeds.

Surprisingly, the fastest train in the world: China’s Shanghai Maglev, operates at a maximum speed of only 267 miles per hour. With the best available increase of just 50 miles per hour above China’s fastest standard rail, maglev technology falls short of the massive bump in transit speeds the world will eventually need. Maglevs are also incompatible with traditional track and require dedicated infrastructure investment to build, though on the upside, they rarely require shutdown during inclement weather and generally need less maintenance.

The future of train travel

So without any significant, new discoveries in standard train design, what chance is there for trains to dominate future transportation? Back in 2013, Elon Musk unveiled his theory of the Hyperloop in a widely circulated and now well-known white paper. “Hyperloop Alpha” explains how vacuum tube transport could revolutionize modern transit.

hyperloop

Source: IQS Directory

In this presentation, Musk acknowledges the scientific viability of supersonic passenger aircraft, admitting it’s likely the best option for affordability and practicality:

“The Hyperloop (or something similar) is, in my opinion, the right solution for the specific case of high traffic city pairs that are less than about 1500 km or 900 miles apart. Around that inflection point, I suspect that supersonic air travel ends up being faster and cheaper.”

He proposes something called a pod, or passenger car, that will move through a tube in a near-vacuum of airspace. His design addresses and solves issues with air pressure and resistance to reach speeds that modern-day trains could never hope to reach. A fan installed on the front of the pod alleviates pressure buildup as the mechanism moves forward through the tube on air bearings. The energy needed to propel the pod near 700 miles per hour is derived from the onboard battery that has the ability to recharge during transit, using built-in solar panels.

Youtube: Tech Insider

Initial responses to Musk’s proposal include criticisms of cost, fear of low return on high-priced infrastructure investments, and the requirement that the Hyperloop tube be constructed above or below ground. None of these arguments diminish the Hyperloop concept’s viability because both maglev and bullet trains each have similar drawbacks. The tube’s construction requires pylon-style props for elevation off the ground and construction could be practical over water or other geologic structures that traditional trains can’t traverse.

Thanks to Elon Musk, the Hyperloop is one of the first ecologically sustainable transit designs of the twenty-first century and it has realistic potential to more than double our current fastest travel times by train. As of mid-2017, Hyperloop One, a small startup company that’s not affiliated with Elon Musk, successfully conducted the very first test run of their pod and tube that was built around the proposed Hyperloop specifications.

Their experiment in Nevada lasted just over five seconds and showed their pod could reach 70 miles per hour in that short time. The company plans to push the envelope with additional and longer tests, and those trials will help confirm or disprove whether the Hyperloop is a workable prototype.

hyperloop

Source: Daily Mail UK

In the original white paper, Musk hypothesized the cost of building a loop in California that stretches north to south across the state would cost roughly six billion U.S. dollars. Not surprisingly, Hyperloop One hints that the cost might be significantly more than that, but the start-up company continues to raise capital through investments — including billionaire Richard Branson who recently became chairman and renamed the company Virgin Hyperloop One. Plans for their first operational loop in Dubai could happen as soon as 2021.

Are trains the future?

So will trains ultimately be the future of transportation? Almost all new inventions start out prohibitively expensive when they first go to market. It stands to reason that innovative transportation based on bleeding-edge technology is no different. In time, costs should stabilize in the same way that solar panels and flat-screen televisions have done in recent years. The real answer will come when vacuum tube transportation has been fully tested, successfully implemented, and thoroughly evaluated for quality and safety.

But for now, even critics of the Hyperloop design would have a hard time denying that our current trains will likely never meet the growing demand for increased transit speed and a better concept hasn’t been proposed. The fastest train in world tops out at 267 miles per hour, so until supersonic passenger flight is achieved, the Hyperloop’s promise of 700 miles per hour or more sounds pretty great.

===

*Guest blog post written by John Hawthorne — a self-described health nut from Canada with a passion for travel and humanitarian efforts. His writing not only solves a creative need in him, it’s also lead to many new opportunities while traveling (hopefully someday via Hyperloop) all over the globe. / Source: IQS Directory

*Editor’s Note: EVANNEX, which also sells aftermarket gear for Teslas, has kindly allowed us to share some of its content with our readers. Our thanks go out to EVANNEX, Check out the site here.

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59 responses to "What Exactly Is Elon Musk’s Hyperloop Concept And Is It Possible?"

  1. SparkEV says:

    Tube transport was described “In the Year 2889” by Jules Verne. If implemented, I suspect it will reek of urine stench like regular trains.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Thank goodness I don’t live in the same world you do. But then, your world exists only inside your head… thank goodness!

      1. jimjfox says:

        Hmmm… the ‘net is not short of wackos, is it?

        That apart, this article is WAAAY out of date; piss-poor reporting [to paraphrase SparkEV :-))]
        70mph? Hardly–https://www.theverge.com/2017/12/19/16795386/virgin-hyperloop-test-one-top-speed-airlock

        240 mph is the lsat benchmark reported…

        1. jimjfox says:

          Must be great to get paid for such sloppy, lazy writing…

    2. Mikael says:

      I’ve been on loads of trains and not a single one smelling like piss.

      But I guess that doesn’t fit your anti-public transport agenda.

      1. SparkEV says:

        Your nose must be used to piss smell. Either that, or you smell like piss so you don’t notice.

        If you really want “interesting” odor, try riding public transport in CA rainy day. Lots of homeless people ride the public transport to stay dry, but they aren’t always dry.

        1. Clive says:

          Clearly your mind is in a gutter ‼️

  2. Bill Howland says:

    The “Science” behind the Hyperloop apparently has changed with age… Before, the ‘Compressor Fan’ was going to provide atm for the passengers, but now it looks like it is for the air bearings.

    The main criticism I’ve had of the system is that if they actually attempt to build something like this, they better hope the tubes have more attention to details than the cars people own on TMC who complain of ‘wind leaks’. Lets not even mention the lack of security of the above ground spans.

    On little leak here, and it won’t matter to the passengers when they arrive at their destination. It wouldn’t matter that emergency air is coming in a minute or two.

    1. georgeS says:

      I agree BillH.
      I am concerned that leakage in the tube may be more than people estimate resulting in more power drain.

      I’m also concerned about “air bearings”. We tried to make air bearings work in our gas turbine APU’s at Honeywell but gave up and went back to good old oil lubed ball bearings on the main rotor. This was on the APU in the B2 bomber.

      Of course there are big differences between an air bearing on a gas turbine rotor shaft and in this train so who knows maybe air bearings will work.

      1. Vexar says:

        I hate APU’s. They are the #1 reason for equipment delay in my air travel experience on any and all Airbus planes.

        1. RAV4 EV says:

          It was the APU that saved the day when the Airbus A320 lost all engine power and was forced to land in the Hudsen. Flight 1549

    2. SJC says:

      The turbine compressor was to overcome the Kantrowitz Limit.

    3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Bill Howland said:

      “On [sic] little leak here, and it won’t matter to the passengers when they arrive at their destination. It wouldn’t matter that emergency air is coming in a minute or two.”

      What a very strange thing to be afraid of.

      Commercial airliners regularly operate high in the atmosphere, well above breathable altitude. The planes are able to maintain breathable air pressure at all times during operation, and have emergency oxygen systems in case of catastrophic failure of the plane’s pressure.

      Why do you think that it will be any harder to achieve similar results with Hyperloop?

      Also, the idea that one little leak will instantly suck all the air out of a pod makes me seriously question your claim to be an engineer, Bill. If you really are a trained engineer, then you ought to know better. I don’t even claim to be an engineer, but I understand basic engineering principles well enough to know that “one little leak” isn’t going to be a serious problem.

      1. Bill Howland says:

        I don’t care that you question my ability to analyze something. You’re wrong almost all the time, and if Wikipedia can’t help you out you are helpless. I’ll let someone with at least some ability criticize what I said. That’s not you.

        Any person your age should have at one time seen an OLD TV picture tube thrown off a second floor. The result is bomb-like.

        100 Pascal pressure in the tube ain’t gonna mean much to humans.

        You’ve been watching too many science fiction films where somebody opens the door to the space ship to deep space and everyone has to catch their breath before the door closes again.

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          This is exactly the sort of response we’ve come to expect from you, Bill. When you’re shown to be wrong, you don’t acknowledge it; you just resort to insults.

          Also, I think you have been watching too many bad science fiction movies where people explode into hamburger within seconds of being exposed to hard vacuum.

          * * * * *

          Airliners typically cruise at an altitude between 20,000 – 40,000 ft.

          Atmospheric pressure:
          sea level: 14.7 PSI
          20,000 ft.: 6.75
          40,000 ft.: 2.71

          The difference between full atmospheric pressure and a 40,000 ft. altitude is a heck of a lot greater than the difference between 40,000 ft. altitude and the pressure inside of a Hyperloop tube, which is close enough to zero as doesn’t matter as far as survivability goes.

          1. Bill Howland says:

            Hey Chief, the info is in Musk’s paper. Sorry if you can’t understand it, but look at the very next thing I wrote.

            You are showing yourself to be a moron to the other real people here as indicated by their comments.

      2. Bill Howland says:

        You won’t understand this, but from Musk’s ‘paper’ the main tube will be ‘pressurized to 100 Pascals’. Normal atmospheric pressure is 14.7 PSIA. This pressure is 0.01455 PSIA. The pressure on ALL exterior surfaces inside the cabin will be 14.6845 PSI. That means a small 44″ square hatch will have 28,429 pounds of pressure on it, or over 14 tons of pressure trying to open the door. If the latch fails, the door will open relatively quickly, just as a piano falling on Wiley-Coyote from the 3rd floor flattened him in not too much time.

        1. Bill Howland says:

          Hopefully I don’t have to go into very many of the gruesome details, but, anyone remotely near the hatch will be ‘in the way of the 14 tons of force’ will be catapolted out the door and you’ll find their remains buried in the main tube wall.

          All the other passengers will have their skin exploded off and also all veins and arteries will immediately burst.

          Oxygen masks, if they still work will just complete the cremation

          1. Bill Howland says:

            And if you doubt that, tell me what condition a person would have to be in to withstand systolic blood pressures of 753, when 180 and above is considered extremely dangerous.

            1. ziv says:

              I have always questioned whether the advantage of additional speed gained by almost completely evacuating the tube was enough to outweigh the disadvantages of increased complexity and cost of doing so. It would require more power (and a more powerful compressor fan on the front of the pod) to get the hyperloop pod to even 450-500 mph if the pressure was only reduced to 10 kPa, but it would reduce the requirements for strengthening the tube and the pod. Plus it would be on the safe side of the Armstrong Limit so simple airmasks would suffice in the event of a pod breach.
              450-500 mph in a cheaper safer pod sounds better than 670 mph in a riskier design, especially given the limited return on increased investment on rails or mag-levs at speeds over 250 mph.

              1. Will says:

                fire in these tubes in oxygen atmospheric conditions will kill it like they almost did to the apollo program, plus trains could go with double deck coachs or add more coaches to consit. You cant do that in death traps

                1. Ziv says:

                  Not sure what you are talking about, Will. Are you talking about the air supply for emergency masks?

                2. ziv says:

                  Maybe my first reading of your message had it backwards. Are you saying that low atmospheric pressures would kill any fire? Because that is true. I don’t think fires are the main problem with this concept though.

              2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

                @ ziv:

                Thanks muchly for your most informative post! I had not previously read about the Armstrong Limit. Thank you; I learned something today!

                Like you, when I was reading Musk’s “Hyperloop Alpha” white paper, I questioned that the advantage of putting the tube into a hard vacuum was really worth all the effort necessary for that. I understand that Musk wants near-sonic speed travel, and perhaps ultimately supersonic travel, if Hyperloop is to be extended to long distance travel. But like you, I’m not sure that there is much purpose in speeds above, say, 400 MPH. Since Hyperloop is only intended to serve medium distances, not long distances like airline travel, then the difference in time saved at ~760 MPH isn’t that much more than at 400 MPH. At a distance of 400 miles, that would be a difference of a bit less than half an hour.

                It’s not so much the difference in safety that I think is important; it’s that lower speeds could be achieved at a lower cost. A lower level of vacuum means thinner steel tubes and less robust seals could be used, and it also reduces the strain on the pod walls, thus reducing metal fatigue and therefore lengthening the expected lifespan of the pod fuselage.

                That’s not to say that taking almost twice as long for the journey is unimportant, but if the cost of travel could be reduced to half by doubling the travel time, then how many people would be in such a hurry that they’d pay twice as much to cut less than 30 minutes off the travel time? Sure, some would, but most people would not.

                1. Will says:

                  Speed is not important in transport businesses. Efficiency and profit margins. High speed is profitable but its the slow trains in thier network that kills the goose like here in NE corridor

                  1. SJC says:

                    If you want efficiency the hyperloop takes MUCH less energy to go at high speeds.

        2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          “…a small 44″ square hatch will have 28,429 pounds of pressure on it, or over 14 tons of pressure trying to open the door. If the latch fails, the door will open relatively quickly…”

          I see you did realize your mistake about talking about “one little leak”, even though you still refuse to acknowledge that. What you say here does represent catastrophic failure of air pressure, unlike your earlier comments.

          But you’re still wrong, Bill. You’re still envisioning things in terms of movie physics, not real-world physics. In “Goldfinger”, when the airplane window was shattered, the partial vacuum outside the plane created a windstorm inside the plane that sucked Goldfinger out like squirting toothpaste from a tube. That’s movie physics. In real life, 14.7 PSI won’t do anything nearly so dramatic.

          I remember Robert Heinlein’s story “Gentlemen, Be Seated!”, in which workers in a tunnel on Luna (Earth’s moon) had no way to plug a hole into vacuum other than to put their bare arse against it, creating a more-or-less airtight seal. Heinlein, unlike you Bill, understood that you can get a small hole in the hull of a structure or vessel with vacuum outside it, without causing a catastrophic failure of the structure. Heinlein, unlike you, understood that a mere 14.7 PSI is rather distant from the pressure of having a piano fall on you, and that the pressure difference won’t create the kind of hurricane-level wind forces you see in movies.

          Good luck with your engineering studies, Bill. Clearly you still have quite a lot to learn.

          1. Pushy,
            Check this entire video. See what happens at 20 minutes. Hyperloop is a joke for people like you 🙂
            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNFesa01llk

            1. Bill Howland says:

              Interesting video – of course it must be a trick camera since Pushi states 14.7 PSI can’t do anything and… He Knows!!! hehe.

              What I like is the ones with the Musk Ordained engineering students – where 1200 teams designed Hyperloops and the winning teams either stalled in the tube or else managed to be sucked a whopping 50 meters and around 55 mph peak.

              Its not a wonder to me that Musk is doing like G.W. Bush used to do when mentioning something inconvenient: “I’ve Moved ON to Boring Tunnels!”.

              Now I like listening to Musk talk – much more interesting a person than Pushi – but he wisely knows when to walk away from something.

              1. Bill Howland says:

                Its especially fun when all the BIG EXPERTS get together and say the Hype-R-Loop is:

                “Just around the Corner”

                “Easy to do”

                “Uses existing cheap technology”.

                Yup, MIT students proved it.

              2. He has got one more, where he goes and inspects the current state of the prototype hyperloop. May need to FF a bit at places.
                https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ktO6IvLT2eg

                1. Bill Howland says:

                  Tesla Investors: Excellent two videos – especially when they say the PhD. creator, who has spent 15 years dealing with High Vacuum systems is critiqued as “NOT BEING QUALIFIED” – and then you get a look at their “RUSTOLOOP” where they couldn’t even get the mounting feet dry, nor make provision for the whole thing turning into one big rustbucket in short order.

                  The nice thing is the Proviso in the Entry Form for competing is that any actual intellectual property that may be gleened from these 1200 – odd tests or entrants, is that EVERYTHING becomes the property of SpaceX with explicitly NO COMPENSATION to anyone. That means they can be sued for using Musk’s ‘property’ later should they choose to do so, when any reasonable person would say NO WAY is it his. But unfortunately, they AGREED to do that.

                  That is why I keep saying the most important thing and the thing worth the most careful reading, is the Tesla Warranty which comes with the car, as it is basically an AGREEMENT, and it behooves one to know precisely what one is agreeing to.

          2. Bill Howland says:

            Pushi believes FICTION is real life:

            “…I remember Robert Heinlein’s story “Gentlemen, Be Seated!”, in which workers in a tunnel on Luna (Earth’s moon) had no way to plug a hole into vacuum other than to put their bare arse against it, creating a more-or-less airtight seal. Heinlein, unlike you Bill, understood that you can get a small hole in the hull of a structure or vessel with vacuum outside it, without causing a catastrophic failure of the structure. Heinlein, unlike you, understood that a mere 14.7 PSI is rather distant from the pressure of having a piano fall on you, and that the pressure difference won’t create the kind of hurricane-level wind forces you see in movies….”

            I don’t believe this! Pushi actually does not understand what a vacuum is. Pushi thinks you can plug a vacuum hole with your finger or your ass.

            When I was a teenager a friend was working as a Garbage Man and got his arm caught in one of those big (only partial) vacuum hoses that they used for a while as street cleaners. The skin on his arm Billowed Out to 4 times its normal size and he almost died.

            Maybe some good would be done if Pushi sat on a vacuum toilet.

        3. energymatters says:

          I would expect that the designers will have the doors open inwards with a flange to prevent a catastrophic blowout.

          You build to protect for the failure.

          A good philosophy: “Design to fail gracefully and restore gently.”

          1. Bill Howland says:

            Energymatters: “The doors will open inwards”.

            Unfortunately all the designers of the sketches, including Musk’s show them outward moving to save space.

            Musk in the past has had problems with all the car latches, so, its a legitimate concern. A tiny little problem with a latch can cause a very big problem with a door.

  3. James says:

    hyperloop is a hype. If successful, the cost per seat will be 10-100 times higher than the traditional high speed rail (making it much more expensive than air travel).

    The reduction in travel time is marginal for the majority of the current high speed train riders. The average Shinkansen and CRH (China rail high-speed) passenger trips are about 200 miles, and most of the trains will stop every 30-100 miles or less, so the the passengers waste less time on ground transportation. At 100 miles per stop, the hypeloop can’t save much time.

    The best way for long haul travel (considering speed and efficiency) is still air. To make it more sustainable, we can use bio fuel or synthetic fuel. It won’t be more expensive than hypeloop.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      The goal is to make Hyperloop travel cost-competitive with airline travel on a per-mile basis. Your claim that it will cost 10-100 times as much is nothing but idle speculation. We’ll have to actually build a system and run it before we can really know how much it costs.

      Hyperloop would be faster than airline travel mainly because you won’t have to wait for hours to board. And Hyperloop isn’t intended to compete with airlines for long-distance travel. It’s intended for medium distance; an intermediate transportation service between automobile and airliners. It would compete directly with short distance airline flights.

      Your comments also contain the fallacy that every traveler would have to wait at every stop before proceeding to his destination. This is absurd. Just as with trains, there will be express routes that don’t stop at every local station. In fact, the original Hyperloop Alpha concept was that Hyperloop tubes would only connect two cities, with stops only at each end. But I’m confident that any real Hyperloop network wouldn’t be built that way. Just as with existing railroads, they will be built with depots along the way, and sidetracks to service those depots, allowing express trains (or Hyperloop pods) to bypass them as necessary.

      With Hyperloop travel being serviced by individual pods rather than connected trains, the need to delay any individual passenger with unnecessary stops will be significantly reduced. If you want to go from city A to city B, you simply board a pod that’s scheduled to go to B. Passengers going to destination C would board a different pod.

      1. Will says:

        Airlines dont do medium travel. Its always been spoke hub then destination. Trainz have the meduim market here in the states. Only international do point to point

        1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

          “Airlines dont do medium travel.”

          I confess I don’t understand what you mean. Any “puddle jumper” flight is a medium-distance journey, at best. I don’t fly a lot, but I have flown from Kansas City to Tulsa, a journey of only ~218 miles, so I can state from personal experience that short airline flights are a regular thing. Fortunately, that flight was in pre-9/11 days, so I didn’t have to put up with the nonsense and the hours of unnecessary delays which airline passengers have to deal with these days. These days, I would expect someone needing to go to Tulsa would be far more likely to just rent a car. Waiting for hours to take a ~45 minute flight is ridiculous.

          As I understand it, Americans tend to use airlines for journeys of over 400 miles. Below that, they tend to use automobiles. Trains these days in the USA are rarely used other than for commuting in large urban areas, especially the northeast “Bos-Wash” area from Boston to Washington, D.C. There, the population density is sufficient to support a lot of mass transit, altho it’s not dense enough for that across most of the country.

          Amtrak does still run a few passenger trains cross-country, but passenger rail service in the USA is at best a pale shadow of its former self. American railroads these days largely subsist on hauling freight.

          1. Will says:

            Regional airlines are subsidize and mandated by the federal government, if they mandate was lifted you will see all these regional airlines go belly up because they money loser to the big boys

            1. Will says:

              Midewest Amtrak which run regional rail in the midwest states and Amtrak California are very successful in thier mission and dont lose alot of money

        2. Steven says:

          “Always…”
          No, not always.

          I remember in the ’70’s there seemed to be a lot more Non-stop flights than there are today. Either that, or Travel Agents (remember them?) were a lot better at finding them.

          All these Hub and Spoke flights seem to have cropped up after deregulation.

  4. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    I suppose that’s a reasonably good layman’s overview of the Hyperloop Alpha concept, but there are some rather large misconceptions here:

    1. Hyperloop capsules are not propelled using the onboard battery pack. They are propelled by external linear motors spaced out along the tube system, which accelerate the pod up to speed and then regularly boost the speed of the capsule; it coasts for most of its journey. The onboard battery pack is used to run the fan at the front of the capsule, power the “air ski” suspension system, and to provide interior lighting and other auxiliary functions.

    2. The one attempt at supersonic passenger flight, the Concorde, failed because it was too expensive and because of restrictions to subsonic speeds over populated areas. Unless someone figures out how to overcome these problems, supersonic passenger flight isn’t likely to arise again.

    3. Maglev isn’t practical with today’s technology; it’s much too expensive per mile. The longest maglev system in the world only runs ~26.5 miles. (Japan has a project to build a 319 mile (514 km) maglev system at a staggering estimated cost of $112.44 Billion, but that project is already in serious trouble, and at best it is only planned to run at the speed of current non-maglev bullet trains… so where is the advantage? I seriously question it will be completed as a maglev system.) Some say that room temperature superconductors will be needed to make maglev trains affordable. We can hope for some other more achievable breakthru that will bring down the cost substantially, but don’t expect to read about any long-range maglev train starting operations in the near future.

    * * * * *

    Whether or not the original Hyperloop Alpha concept is “possible” I suppose depends on your definition of “possible”. Certainly the basic idea is worth investigating, but some of the specifics are very questionable. For example, the idea that all Hyperloop tubes would be built as single lines connecting just two cities. That is, as they say, “No way to run a railroad!” You don’t build individual rail lines to connect each two cities; you build a double line of rails to go from one end of the network to another, with branches and sidetracks additional parallel lines as needed. I guess Elon Musk could not envision any way to build a switch for a Hyperloop capsule to switch from a main tube line to a branching tube, but those trying to develop the concept into a practical system are not so limited in imagination.

    The entire idea behind Hyperloop was taking the science fiction idea of an hyperspeed vacuum tube system (as seen on such TV shows as ‘Genesis II’ and ‘Planet Earth’ (1974)), and altering the envisioned technology to make it into something practical; something that could be built using today’s technology. One of Elon’s innovations was using an elevated tube system, similar to Chicago’s “El” elevated mass transit light rail system. Elevating a tube system built of cheap mild steel on pylons, above existing roads and buildings, would be much cheaper than digging what would amount to a high-speed subway system through densely populated cities.

    I find it unfortunate that Elon has more lately turned to his much less practical “The Boring Company” concept, which goes back to digging very expensive tunnels for an underground transportation system. Elon has also unfortunately conflated the potentially practical Hyperloop concept with the almost absurdly impractical Boring Co. concept, by mixing ideas from the two concepts in some of his more recent announcements.

    1. Will says:

      Yeah underground tunnels cost are 4x expensive then elevated stuctures. Makes no sense

    2. Boring company is really good for selling hats, flame throwers, fire extinguishers, etc. etc. Also more ammo to find greater fools on Instagram, twitter and Facebook.

  5. SJC says:

    Musk did a paper years ago, that was different from the system done by Hyperloop One today.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Elon Musk’s “Hyperloop Alpha” concept paper was the basis for the idea, and sparked others to try to develop it into a real-world system, just as Elon hoped. The Hyperloop One project is one of those projects trying to turn the concept into reality, with changes the company thinks it needs to make it more practical. It’s not like Hyperloop One started with a different idea.

      1. SJC says:

        RAND documented the concept in the 70s, nothing new here.

  6. Six Electrics says:

    Prime terrorist target. Add another hour to your trip for TSA-like screening.

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      Absurd. The concept for Hyperloop is for passengers to ride in individual pods, not trains. So the number of passengers possibly affected by a terrorist attack would be more like a bus than a subway train. Subway trains will remain much more attractive targets for terrorists, if their goal is to kill as many innocent people as possible.

  7. Bill Howland says:

    HAHA!

    Pushi as usual had egg on his face (the kindergartner lecturing the experienced teacher syndrome again) since I used Musk’s ‘paper’ for the characteristics of this supposed HyperLoop.

    He can’t criticize since it would reflect unfavorably on exactly two people other than myself.

    Namely Pushi, who has no clue what 100 Pascals is, and Musk since then if he criticized me I’d say complain to Musk because its his numbers.

    Pushi would then say ‘oh Paypal Musk just has the ‘visionary ideas’ – and hire engineers to do the real work, but then I’d say – If Musk’s numbers are so lousy how could he come up with the idea of a not so ‘visionary’ idea in the first place?

    1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

      You’re just sputtering, Bill. You haven’t a clue what you’re talking about, and your attempt at “If you can’t dazzle ’em with brilliance, baffle ’em with B.S.” doesn’t work on someone like me; someone who understands the subject better than you do.

      I understand perfectly well that the interior of the Hyperloop tubes are to be evacuated to the level of a fairly hard vacuum. I had already read the “Hyperloop Alpha” white paper, some years ago. And unlike you, I understand the concepts and the physics involved pretty thoroughly.

      Perhaps it would help you to read it again, altho your posts (not just here, but in previous discussions) show a rather deep ignorance of basic physics and basic engineering principles. But just in case it will help, here’s a link:

      http://www.spacex.com/sites/spacex/files/hyperloop_alpha.pdf

      1. Bill Howland says:

        I seriously give up, – why do they allow this guy here?

        1. jimjfox says:

          Why do they allow YOU??
          Oh, of course- you’re the resident ad hominem expert!

          1. Bill Howland says:

            I back up my views with facts and figures.. What is your excuse? I know.. you’re a mighty keyboard warrior.

        2. Jake Brake says:

          Seriously, all this clown does is troll all day. Wouldn’t be surprised if he was paid by Tesla. Every response is irrational, making personal attacks, truisms, and defending everything tesla does.

      2. Bill Howland says:

        Pushi”…unlike you, I understand the concepts and the physics involved pretty thoroughly.”

        That’s great from someone who uses fictional characters for his Source Authority,
        who thinks that sitting on something will form ‘an air tight seal” to a pure vacuum, with their arse, your words not mine.

        One thing is for sure Pushi. You must think that besides me, the rest of the readers here are stupid and they’ll let you get away with that.

  8. SJC says:

    The Hyperloop One is MUCH different than the Musk Alpha paper. RAND documented all of this in the 1970s, not much really innovative in the Alpha paper.

  9. Bill Howland says:

    Pushi, Musk’s tube, according to Musk, works at 0.01455 PSI. This is far more dangerous than the Armstrong Limit:

    “…The Armstrong limit, often called Armstrong’s line, is the altitude that produces an atmospheric pressure so low (0.0618 atmosphere or 6.3 kPa (47 mmHg)) that water boils at the normal temperature of the human body: 36,6 °C (98.6 °F). It is named after Harry George Armstrong, who founded the U.S. Air Force’s Department of Space Medicine in 1947 at Randolph Field, Texas.[Note 1] Armstrong was the first to recognize this phenomenon, which occurs at an altitude beyond which humans absolutely cannot survive in an unpressurized environment.”

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