back to article Musk to blast right of way through California with railgun Concorde

Elon Musk dropped a few further hints about his Hyperloops transit plan in London last night, saying it was "a cross between a Concorde and a rail gun" whose biggest hurdles included "right-of-way" issues. And it seems that the ultimate destiny of the futuristic system would be to shift aging tech entrepreneurs around their …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    You have to hand it to Elon Musk..

    He comes up with some crazy ideas, but he has a habit of actually doing them. Often rather well :)

  2. Brewster's Angle Grinder Silver badge
    Thumb Up


    That man is incredible. Insane. But incredible. I wish him luck in all his endeavours.

    1. Lars Silver badge

      Re: Musk

      "hit the retirement button before I get too senile" sounds easy, but suppose you cannot find the button because you are suddenly senile. (Musk is OK, however).

  3. Shades

    Bond Villain...

    ...Glad he's not one! :D

    1. starsilk

      Re: Bond Villain...

  4. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    Hey Musk!

    You didn't build that! Now wait in line, a taxation officer will be in touch shortly!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Hey Musk!

      Want some twisted with that pint of bitter ?

  5. Spiracle

    Another 'proof'

    He forgot "ideally earthquake-proof". SF & LA are in California, aren't they?

  6. Pypes
    Thumb Up

    kinda sounds like

    Or at least a babby version of.

    Thumbs up to musk, it's a shame you need to be a billionaire to get any sort of visionary engineering done nowadays.

  7. Buzzword

    Has Mr Musk seen the Barclays rollercoaster advert? They show how to attach the rollercoaster tracks - sorry, "railgun" - to existing buildings, and it can accommodate sharp turns, thus avoiding right-of-way issues.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Well, sir, there's nothing on earth like a genuine, bona fide, electrified, one-car, SkyTran!

    What'd I say?


    What's it called?


    1. Alan Firminger

      Thanks for that, it reminds me of past musing

      I dredge remaining cells for what I concluded over forty years ago.

      I visualised a network that roughly replaces railways, motorways and A roads. It would carry independent fully automatic vehicles that formed themselves into trains for maximum track capacity, these would take up to half of time to pass a point leaving the gaps for units to join and speed to the back of each train. At Y junctions units would drop out of the train leaving the residue to close up.

      Of course it would take every sort of traffic. There would be auto taxis, group travel vehicles that connected one station to another, freight and car like vehicles that could leave the system to be driven on the roads at up to 15 kph. Speeds up to 300 kph would be defined for each length of track. And it would be an overhead monorail.

      The track would provide power, signals and would otherwise be passive. Steering would be on the units which would select ahead or change. The default would always towards an exit from the system.

      New track would consume minimum land, allowing cows to graze beneath, we had grazing cows then. Through urban space it would run high out of reach. As it would have immense capacity for traffic it could be built in place of railways and motorways.

      To build the system start somewhere, then grow sideways, then routes parallel to the start could be closed for installing track without loss of capacity as like the internet a unit of traffic can take an alternative route. We can have car ferry units where you can roll up in your Merc, or whatever, drive into a box and be whizzed away.

      It would be cheap, fast, safe and quiet - win win win win. I discussed this with colleagues, they liked the speed and the absence of traffic jams but not the automatic driving. No one liked driving slowly to an entry, running on, setting 'Mum and Dad' as a destination and then becoming a passenger.

      1. Super Fast Jellyfish

        Re: Nor Crystal Tears

        Seem to remember the Thranx had that as well:

  9. Tom 7

    A cross between concorde and a rail gun?

    Nov 5th was last week.

    Unless the ageing tech entrepreneurs know how to put the fire out...

    <----- right colour

  10. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Thumb Up


    With a bit of Space 1999's "travel tubes."

    In *principal* a flat ended cylinder in an evacuated tunnel could accelerate fairly gently and reach M2 fairly quickly. Being flat ended if it caught up to the one in front that would not be a problem.


    A trip across the US at M2 is still about 4 hours, which is a *long* time to be sitting in a seat with *nothing* to look out at (do you want to see a rock surface whizzing by at 680m/s 10cm from your nose?).

    And the software issues are *huge*. Picture the Denver luggage AGV's moving at M2 as they attempt to occupy the same bit of track. Not good.

    And of course the little matter of earthquakes might be quite disruptive as well.

    Above ground you'd have 2 problems. Endless right of way disputes and what happens if the pipe leaks? Large objects *suddenly* hitting air at sea level density experience serious heating issues.

    Still gets my thumbs up as a big dreamer.

    I'd *love* to see it. It might be his *most* bold plan yet.

  11. Ian Yates

    "leave when you arrive"

    Sounds more like London's bus system to me. I arrive at the bus stop in time to see the bus leave (with a wry smile on the driver's face).

    1. Andus McCoatover

      I arrive at the bus stop in time to see the bus leave

      No, Ian. That was the PREVIOUS bus. Like that one, the one you arrived in time for comes half an hour late....

  12. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    biggest hurdles included "right-of-way" issues

    May I suggest that the man who has a railgun capable of firing Concorde 1000miles has all the right-of-way.

  13. Paul 75
    Thumb Up

    Hope this railgun concorde does not have rounded corners, or it won't end well...

    1. Yet Another Hierachial Anonynmous Coward

      round corners

      Actually, i hope any high speed, highly stressed capsule has got round corners. History records that square corners on the Comet did not end too well......

      1. Don Jefe

        Re: round corners

        Hogwash. The comet wasn't that bad.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: round corners

          They didn''t seem to want any square picture windows on Nimrod :P

      2. John Smith 19 Gold badge

        Re: round corners

        His reference is to the litigious of certain fruity theme corporations.

  14. David Kelly 2

    Autonomous Railcars

    Build a rail system with autonomous railcars. Route the railcars like packets on ethernet.

    We could drive our personal cars on to a railcar, plugin, latch down, set our destination and sit back while the network routes us to our destination.

    EVs could charge on the way. Heat engines will be converted to EV for the duration of the trip.

    It would be nice if the autonomous railcar could hit speeds of 100 MPH but not essential. The most time saving aspect would be the lack of traffic jams.

    One could travel long distances over night, sleeping in one's own vehicle, arrive and not have to rent a car or arrange other transportation, or hotel room.

    1. Aldous

      Re: Autonomous Railcars

      wouldn't want to be in one that gets dropped like an ethernet frame though. Also try getting that much rail in around the NIMBYS (you should see the HS2 resistence here in the midlands, luddites)

      i really want musk to succeed but this is starting to smell of the whole segway pre hype (it will change everything, zomg its so amazing top secret will change the universe.....oh its an electric scooter)

    2. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      Re: Autonomous Railcars

      "Build a rail system with autonomous railcars. Route the railcars like packets on ethernet."

      So 160 years *after* most of the world built a rail network you'd like to build another.

  15. Esskay
    Thumb Up

    Aliens was wrong

    Weyland was an underachiever.

    It'll be Musk Industries that do mental things in space.

    Seriously, this guy has got incredible vision - and the drive to actually do things. Makes Donald Trump look like a busker.

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Aliens was wrong

      To be fair - most buskers make Donald trump look like a busker

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Aliens was wrong

        Might be a good way of keeping him out of trouble, can he sing?

  16. Sokolik


    Long-time resident of California's "Great Central Valley" here...passenger trains haven't run that route in decades...yeah, yeah, I know; our "passenger rail" relatively is a tiny scrap of sh*te anyway...still, one way or t'other, ya gotta get over at least one of several mountain...OK, OK, in deference to residents of the Caucusus, Pyrenees, Alps, wherever, "hill" the late 19th century this was made possible by an engineering-marvel, the "Tehachapi Loop"...still used daily by gi-normously heavy and lengthy freight trains. Maybe that's the whole point...maybe his system will have the torque and velocity to go straight up grades impossibly-steep with today's technology...thus, no need for a necessarily-wide mountain loop where there ain't no real-estate available or useful anyway...

    1. John Smith 19 Gold badge

      Re: ummm...mountains...

      in the late 19th century this was made possible by an engineering-marvel, the "Tehachapi Loop"...still used daily by gi-normously heavy and lengthy freight trains. Maybe that's the whole point...maybe his system will have the torque and velocity to go straight up grades impossibly-steep with today's technology...

      Possibly. Avoiding height changes was the key reason most of the UK rail network is as convoluted as it is.

      Of course in recent years there is this marvelous new technology which they are calling a "Tunnel" which bores through such obstacles.

      I think they will catch on.

  17. Ron 6

    Sounds like "The roads must roll" by Heinlein back in the 1940s. Only faster.

  18. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    Already banned...

    A cross between a railgun and concord? Didn't the nutjobs, sorry majority of right-thinking Americans, already ban supersonic passenger craft in case the sonic booms brought the sky crashing down?

    Or does that not apply to "Made In America" sonic booms?

    Good on Elon for trying, but one wonders if the nutjobs and greenies will let him...

  19. Jon Green

    Slight problem here...

    So what happens when an earthquake hits, and fractures the tube, whilst the projectile - sorry, passenger compartment - is doing close on 1000mph? (Remember, it's got to *average* more than 750mph to make the distance in 30 minutes.)

    Fastest pizza in the West...

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