back to article Test tube babies: Virgin Hyperloop pops pair of staffers in a pod, shoots them along 500m vacuum tunnel

Virgin Hyperboleloop was cock-a-hoop over the weekend after blasting a pair of employees along its Las Vegas test tube. "Blast" might be an exaggeration since the duo only reached 172kmph (107mph) on their 15-second, 500-metre journey. A far cry from the 670mph (1078kph) to which the company lays claim – although with only …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Logistical Challenges

    At 28 people per vehicle it still just doesn't seem a practical method of mass transport, and that's just getting people in and out of the vehicles in a timely fashion. When you add in having to seal and pressurise the vehicle, seal and depressurise the tube, and then get the vehicle from the station onto the main track and up to speed without getting a 670mph rear-ending by another vehicle, I don't see how the throughput could be any more than a joke.

    1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

      Re: Logistical Challenges

      They'll just have a sensible warning for passengers, "Mind the vacuum ... mind the vacuum ..."

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. David 132 Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Logistical Challenges

          It's sad/worrying/gratifying that I knew what that link was going to be, even before I clicked it.

          "What's a 'tad'?"

          "In space terms, about half a million miles..."

    2. Wyrdness

      Re: Logistical Challenges

      You're right. I don't expect that they've thought about this at all. </sarcasm>

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Logistical Challenges

        "You're right. I don't expect that they've thought about this at all. </sarcasm>"

        If they had, wouldn't there be some sort of CGI mockup of those passenger stations by now?

        1. JDX Gold badge

          Re: Logistical Challenges

          You're right they spent all those billions without thinking about it.

    3. myhandler

      Re: Logistical Challenges

      There'll be a short section of tube that opens to the air like a tube train station. I will work like an spaceship airlock. Then maybe plenty of sub sections that can each be isolated if there's a problem, the locks open and close automatically if a train approaches.

      I can't believe your comment - how do you think railways manage to avoid collisions? Ok it fails sometimes but not often.

      Getting 28 pods in and out is easy to automate - look at the food industry programmes on TV, e.g. Ocado warehouses, where everything is on automated lines.

      1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

        Re: Logistical Challenges

        I see a number of carriages on a number of platforms each with an airlock - you airlock carriage 1 and send it off, meanwhile you load and airlock carriage 2 and send it off etc. so there's one tunnel and lots of embark/disembark points on the terminal platform. That would maximise the tunnel use, minimise the differential pressure stress on each vehicle as they can take longer to pressurise/depressurise each airlock. One tunnel and one platform at each end would just be crackers. The only real issue is how far apart you want to run the carriages - close makes more money but distance increases safety.

        1. rg287 Silver badge

          Re: Logistical Challenges

          The only real issue is how far apart you want to run the carriages - close makes more money but distance increases safety.

          Well that's the difficulty. For 28-person pods, to get anywhere close to a useful Pax-per-Hour (~15,000pph being a good average for metros and commuter rail) requires them to be launching a pod every 3-6 seconds. Obviously with multiple platforms/airlocks (which they intend to have), that is doable from an engineering standpoint. But that's a lot of pods tailgating very close if one pod has some sort of critical failure.

          1. Tom 7 Silver badge

            Re: Logistical Challenges

            And a huge potential for leaks. I do wonder whether using air to push rather than pull would not be a better idea - you'd stop things banging into each other and the likelihood of killing a pod full of passengers is a seal goes on a journey and sucks all he air out.

            1. Clunking Fist

              Re: Logistical Challenges

              ? The air isn't pulling: the vacuum is to reduce drag. The magnetic levitation dos the pushing/pulling, shirley?

              1. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

                Re: Logistical Challenges

                So your saying it doesn't suck. But it is still a literal pipe dream.

          2. vtcodger Silver badge

            Re: Logistical Challenges

            I have a lot of doubts about how many real use cases there are that will justify the great expense of a system like this. But in current rail transit systems multiple cars follow each other at zero distance. And yes, if there is a catastrophic failure in in one car, the cars following it are prone to suffer serious damage and possibly fatalities and/or major injuries as well. Doesn't seem to bother users much.

            I suppose that objectively hyperloop is no more complex than air travel. But air travel scales fairly smoothly to small and infrequent payloads. For example moving people and goods around the Arctic. Hyperloop can't do that today. And not any time soon?

            1. rg287 Silver badge

              Re: Logistical Challenges

              But in current rail transit systems multiple cars follow each other at zero distance.

              Mechanically connected and using the same braking and traction control system. Yes, derailments are ugly, but also rare.

              The idea of independent pods travelling at very small separations and relying on a digital coupling to prevent collisions rather than a mechanical coupling is a wholly different matter.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Holmes

              Re: Logistical Challenges

              I suppose that objectively hyperloop is no more complex than air travel.

              Air travel requires a costly engineered tube around the passengers. Hyperloop requires a costly engineered tube along the entire length of the journey as well.

              Consider how expensive railways are to build and operate, where the fixed mechanical infrastructure is a strip of level ground with pair of metal bars placed a few feet apart.

              Even so, railway accidents are not unknown, although fortunately none has ever resulted in a 10 tonne per square metre explosive repressurisation pulse travelling supersonically along the entire route of the track.

          3. 96percentchimp

            Re: Logistical Challenges

            I don't think this is intended for commuter rail or metros - it's intended for medium range travel between urban centres that's not practical or economic for short haul air transport, such as Boston-New York. On a European scale, it might cover TGV-style distances like Paris-Amsterdam or even a next-gen Channel Tunnel.

        2. Wellyboot Silver badge

          Re: Logistical Challenges

          The equivilent air pressure is 200.000ft (61Km) altitude, so the transit tubes will be holding a near vacuum. Air pressure at sea level is 10 tonnes per sqr metre, the tube appears to have a diameter of 4 metres, that's about 120 tonnes of pressure difference, I can only see this working with a series of pressure step down sections between station & the main transit tube.

          The number of airlocks needed to to work as you describe (for carriage through flow) will require quite a rigorous (& expensive) safety maintenance regime.

      2. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: Logistical Challenges

        I can't see any real technical challenges to doing this, but the economics are borderline at best. Building the tubes & infrastructure under cities will cost tens of billions, Crossrail currently being built across London in the UK is costing about £19Bn for 73 miles of rail (only 13 of that is tunnel) and that will operate ordinary full size trains at a mere 90mph.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Meh

          Re: Logistical Challenges

          I can't see any real technical challenges to doing this, but the economics are borderline at best.

          It depends where you want the tunnel. Problems include cutter wear in hard rock, jamming and steering problems in difficult ground, water inrush, fractured and faulted zones, high in-situ stresses, gas pockets, existing services etc.

          Other problems include how it is going to deal with sudden large air leaks (i.e. explosive repressurisation)? How are underground sections of tube going to be replaced after construction if they become damaged? Where relevant, how are you going to maintain tube integrity during a major earthquake? etc.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Logistical Challenges

        > how do you think railways manage to avoid collisions?

        By leaving a gap of 2-4 minutes between each train - enough distance to stop safely if there's a problem ahead.

        The claimed top speed of Hyperloop is 1078kph (= 300 m/s). Even if you strapped people in so tightly that in emergency they could decelerate at 1G, it would take 30 seconds to stop, during which time they will cover 4.5km.

    4. Filippo Silver badge

      Re: Logistical Challenges

      The logistics work out far better if you think of this as competing with short-range flights, rather than trains.

      Don't think of this as something where you show up, buy a 20 quid ticket, wait for the next one, stamp the ticket and board to get somewhere 100 km away in 15 minutes. While that would be cool, I too don't see it as feasible.

      However: think of this as something where you book a few days in advance, paying 200 quid, show up at the time printed on the ticket, board and get somewhere 500 km away in an hour. *That* can work. The logistics around hyperloop are significant, but they are nothing next to taking an airplane. If they had something like this between, I dunno, Rome and Milan, it would be packed all the time and the air route would pretty much vanish overnight.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: Logistical Challenges

        But a single terrorist bomb doesn't "break" the sky between Rome and Milan. Nor would it take out an entire train. This hyperloop thingy appears to combine the weakest aspects of both and once that fact is pointed out it will be targetted.

      2. Dinanziame Silver badge

        Re: Logistical Challenges

        This still seems very complicated and inefficient compared to Japanese bullet trains, which are vastly simpler and cheaper to build. Admittedly they only do 300 km/h, but that is enough to be faster than planes for distances like Milan-Rome, since you remove the trips to/from airport and the waiting time at the airport. For trips under 1000 km, high-speed trains are already competitive with flying, while being far easier to build and use than the hyper loop: As you said, you buy a ticket and wait for the next one. There might be a small range around 1000 km of distance where the hyper loop is fast enough to beat the simplicity of trains and simple enough to beat the speed of flying, but it's very niche and hardly seems worth the trouble.

        1. vtcodger Silver badge

          Re: Logistical Challenges

          I agree mostly. The speed advantage of hyperloop over best high speed rail would seem to matter only over really long distances -- Los Angeles to Chicago. And its doubtful there is enough long distance travel anywhere on the planet for the economics of hyperloop to work. Note that the US and Canada where high speed rail might seem reasonable have about 50 km total of not especially fast HSR. If HSR doesn't work in economically North America, how is hyperloop which surely costs more going to succeed?

          The problem isn't technology (probably). It's economics.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Logistical Challenges

      "...just doesn't seem a practical method of mass transport"

      This is my thinking too, at least for Earth. Now putting one of these on Mars... There's surely a future in this if humans survive long enough, I just hope these people are around when that time comes to laugh at the "haters".

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Robert Moore
          Alien

          Re: Logistical Challenges

          That was exactly what I thought of when I saw it. :)

      2. rg287 Silver badge

        Re: Logistical Challenges

        Well yes, Hyperloop was only ever a side-line for Musk. Notice how he's not spending any of his own money on it.

        The reason for Boring Company developing narrow-diameter electric-powered TBMs is to develop a small, lighter TBM that can be launched to Mars and dig tunnels there (habitation, storage, solar radiation shelter, eventually to connect colonies).

        If you can develop material-reuse (convert spoil into new tunnel liners), then tunnelling offers limitless living space compared with a surface colony. But you can't sensibly launch conventional TBMs to space - too big, too heavy, too complicated and they run on diesel. Conversely many of the smaller/micro TBM designs are oriented towards pipe-jacking, which may also be impractical on Mars where you won't have pipe-section to jack behind the TBM.

        Musk's Boring Company TBM also has a brick-factory on the back, which seems like an obvious step towards a liner-factory.

        Boring Company's Earth-bound projects are just a paycheck, much like SpaceX's NASA and commercial launches are a paycheck to develop their Mars rocket.

    6. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: Logistical Challenges

      In the UK, the new Crossrail trains are around 200m in length which can accommodate 1,500 passengers (With provision to extend to 240m). One of the reasons for that is that longer trains are more efficient than shorter trains. On urban/metro type services, the length of time to bring a train to a stop, allow passengers on & off and get back up to speed again is the limiting factor for the frequency of trains.

    7. Imhotep Silver badge

      Re: Logistical Challenges

      If the target site is still California with its active faults (earthquake type) I'd be concerned about about displacement of those tubes.

      I don't imagine there is too much leeway in the pod/tube gap.

      1. Wellyboot Silver badge

        Re: Logistical Challenges

        Hitting almost any visible displacement at 300m/s would probably be catastrophic to the maglev cars.

    8. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

      Re: Logistical Challenges

      It's a single test carriage. A train will have multiple larger carriages. Or you could have a system like ski lifts, where loading happens in parallel.

    9. J27

      Re: Logistical Challenges

      You missed all the issues with maintaining a several hundred mile long vacuum chamber.

      People need to stop wasting money on vacuum trains. They're massively more expensive and difficult to engineer than the mag-levs that are already prohibitively expensive to implement. Just build yourself a conventional high-speed rail system to start before trying to jump to the insane price point of something like this*.

      *If this was actually practically possible, which no one has proven.

      1. Down not across Silver badge

        Re: Logistical Challenges

        *If this was actually practically possible, which no one has proven.

        Isn't proving it is possible, what they're doing?

        I wouldn't get too hung on the economics. Given how Musk wants to go to Mars, this looks more like convenient local test bed for something intended for Mars.

  2. ComputerSays_noAbsolutelyNo Silver badge
    Holmes

    Imagine all the money ...

    that was sunk went into the hyperloop being invested into research on how to efficiently store energy.

    It's nice and all fun, when billionaires waste invest their money into their playthings, however, with hyperloop Elon got other, non-billionaire people to invest money into one of his ideas.

    1. Oh Matron!

      Re: Imagine all the money ...

      Like HS2, for example?

    2. Filippo Silver badge

      Re: Imagine all the money ...

      You do realize that, if you rank people by how much they contribute to energy storage research, either in absolute value or as a proportion of their wealth, Musk has got to be at or very near to the top, right? I mean, he makes electric cars.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Stop

        Re: Imagine all the money ...

        You do realize that, if you rank people by how much they contribute to energy storage research, either in absolute value or as a proportion of their wealth, Musk has got to be at or very near to the top, right?

        As a proportion of their personal wealth people, the people at the very top of the list for contribution to energy storage research are various underpaid and overworked PhD students and independent entrepreneurs etc with a minuscule or zero research budget which they have to top up out of their own money whilst working a 100 hour week on their project.

        i.e. People who don't have much money, but everything they do have all goes on their research.

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. lglethal Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Imagine all the money ...

        Taking away the Chocolate?!?!! You Monster!!!

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Imagine all the money ...

        > Drive the pods along like Augustus Gloop, but with high pressure air instead of liquid chocolate.

        Or you keep the passenger pod *outside* of the vacuum/pressure tube entirely:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atmospheric_railway

    4. vtcodger Silver badge

      Re: Imagine all the money ...

      " Imagine all the money ... that was sunk went into the hyperloop being invested into research on how to efficiently store energy."

      I think that if you look into it, you will find that vast sums are being invested in energy storage research by the US, the EU,China and others-- vastly more than on hyperloop. There's money to be made there and lots of people trying to get a cut of the pie. It's a tough problem -- or rather, a tough complex of problems. I don't think lack of funding is what is limiting the rate of progress in solving those problems.

  3. Oh Matron!

    Got to admit that....

    Accelerating to 20,543,952 furlongs per day and then back down to 0 in 24,8548 chains is impressive.

    1. Andy The Hat Silver badge

      Re: Got to admit that....

      but do they have self-deploying Bulgarian fun-bags in the event of an air leak leaging to rapid unscheduled decelleration?

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Got to admit that....

        Don't be silly. This is VIRGIN hyperloop!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          VIRGIN hyperloop

          Never been serviced?

  4. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  5. Tim99 Silver badge
    Joke

    'is hyperloop safe?'

    Say somebody had done 4 years of research to start up a new business that relied on people travelling inside a metal tube 12 km above the ground at 900 km/hr with an outside vacuum equivalent to 0.2 atmospheres, would you feel safe?

    1. KittenHuffer Silver badge

      Re: 'is hyperloop safe?'

      Was it designed by Boeing?

      1. Tim99 Silver badge

        Re: 'is hyperloop safe?'

        Now there’s your problem...

      2. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge

        Re: 'is hyperloop safe?'

        > Was it designed by Boeing?

        Congratulations, you win today's Jeopardy question!

        R.I.P. Mr Trebek

    2. J27

      Re: 'is hyperloop safe?'

      Well, no one has ever build one....

      But I'm fairly confident in saving no.

  6. KittenHuffer Silver badge

    It's the faults that would scare me!

    No, I don't mean the faults with the design or operation.

    I mean the tectonic faults that this thing would have to cross! Could you imaging approaching one of these at speed just as that lets go?

    Not sure if it would be brown trouser time or red smear time!!!

    1. Imhotep Silver badge

      Re: It's the faults that would scare me!

      That would be my concern also, especially in California.

      1. AdamT

        Re: It's the faults that would scare me!

        Worrying, yes, but given this is intended to compete with high speed rail, would being in a 200+ mph train be any better?

        1. ThatOne Silver badge

          Re: It's the faults that would scare me!

          > would being in a 200+ mph train be any better?

          The Japanese Shinkansen has shown it is possible, if you want to: Japan does have an awful lot of active faults and resulting earthquakes, and yet in its 50(ish) years of service the Shinkansen never had an accident (AFAIK).

          All right, it only does 200mph, but I guess that's enough for most people. Especially since for the passengers it's just a nice, comfortable train like any other.

          (Didn't downvote you BTW)

          1. CliveS
            Thumb Up

            Re: It's the faults that would scare me!

            The Shinkansen has experienced one earthquake-related accident. In 2004, in Niigata Prefecture, a Series 200 Shinkansen suffered a derailment of 8 out of the 10 carriages comprising the train. The train was pretty damn close to the epicenter, but the emergency systems functioned as intended. No injuries or deaths, though the train itself was scrapped as a consequence.

            1. ThatOne Silver badge

              Re: It's the faults that would scare me!

              > No injuries or deaths, though the train itself was scrapped as a consequence

              I think that's a fair price to pay for keeping all passengers safe.

              It proves the Shinkansen can deliver on its promises of safety (for common levels of disaster obviously, we're not speaking about some freakish earthquake ripping the island apart).

  7. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Boffin

    A curious thing...

    The pictures on the BBC report showed a streamlined nose cone. If the tunnel is evacuated, why?

    1. Jellied Eel Silver badge

      Re: A curious thing...

      The pictures on the BBC report showed a streamlined nose cone. If the tunnel is evacuated, why?

      Probably the same reason why there's a thriving market for spoilers on cars. But at least with those, you can easily measure the downforce added by just weighing them.

      But the hype for the Hypeloop seems to be morphing from vacuum tunnels to low pressure, so the nose cone may make more sense.. As would having a 5-10km tube so the PR folks can market something a bit more impressive than a touch over 100mph.

      1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

        Re: A curious thing...

        You can't measure downforce by weighing spoilers/wings, because they may well create lift that offsets the weight.

        1. drand

          Re: A curious thing...

          Correct. Most vehicles, even 'sporty' ones, produce some lift at speed. Anything more than a couple of fat blokes' worth of downforce puts more load on the tyres, increases steering effort, changes suspension geometry and all sorts of undesirable things, unless the vehicle as a whole has been designed around this.

          A device designed to add downforce is a wing. Spoilers are not meant to produce downforce (although they can as a by-product of their operation). They literally spoil the airflow coming off a surface in some way to reduce drag - e.g. preventing it going under the floor at the front, or presenting a shallower transition over the roof to the rear.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A curious thing...

      Probably the pressure level in the tunnel will be high enough for the nosecone to make a difference.

      "Evacuated" doesn't really mean much. Unless you get the pressure down to a few mB, then streamlining will be necessary.

      1. Jan 0

        Re: A curious thing...

        They did get the pressure down to a "few mB, the article says that the pressure was 1 mB.

    3. FIA Silver badge

      Re: A curious thing...

      The pictures on the BBC report showed a streamlined nose cone. If the tunnel is evacuated, why?

      Maybe it's to cope with it suddenly not being evacuated?

      (What does happen to a pod travelling at 600mph if it hits a wall of air coming the other way?)

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: A curious thing...

        Splat?

    4. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: A curious thing...

      Because the tunnel isn't a perfect vacuum. That would take far too much energy to maintain, while vastly increasing the costs and engineering challenges. Still some air in there. Not enough to breathe, no way, but still enough to get in the way. Aerodynamics still applies.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. lglethal Silver badge
    Boffin

    Doing a very quick back of the envelope calculation and assuming constant acceleration, the entire journey took about 20 seconds (10 seconds acceleration, 10 seconds deceleration). Acceleration was about 0,5g the entire time.

    If you need a sickbag after a 20 second ride, then something would have been VERY wrong...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yeh, but there's hills in the USA that will "throw" your stomach in half a second and people sometimes throw up from those... of course they weren't in a perfectly straight tube (which makes me wonder how much of a parabolic turn one of these can take). I know 0% about any of this, but I can't help to think that the design would benefit from a thick "rubber" skirt/gasket around the entire module to allow for some deviance when things get bumpy, of course that design is for more of a suck or blow (but youporn might have some helpful data for this).

  9. JulieM

    Just waiting for .....

    I'm just waiting for some PHB to appear on TV talking about "vacuum tube technology" .....

  10. A Non e-mouse Silver badge
    FAIL

    I'm always reminded of the Brunel's atmospheric railway.

    1. Imhotep Silver badge

      The first New York subway was also driven by pressure in the tube.

    2. Macs1000

      I can't get the picture of an oversized Lamson tube out of my mind!

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      I seem to vaguely remember reading about a train that used air pressure difference in a tunnel, similar to Hyperloop but at much lower speeds back in Victorian times. IIRC it sucked air at one end to draw the carriage along, which had big rubber seals that moved along the tunnel walls. I've no idea if that was just a concept or if any form of test line was ever built though. It may be that it was an earl;y idea that that never got built but led to the atmospheric railway.

      1. Chris G Silver badge

        You may be thinking of this: https://pneumatic.tube/the-pneumatic-railway-in-the-grounds-of-the-crystal-palace

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Yes, thanks, that was it.

          IIRC, it was in a magazine in the late 70s or early 80s called Speed and Power. Primarily about cars, planes etc related to the title, but ran other historical (and often weird) transport stuff and short SF stories too. It introduced me to Clark and Asimov amongst others.

  11. M7S
    Joke

    The reviews when something goes wrong....

    Travelling in a vacuum "just sucks".

  12. Bill Gray

    "Not at all like a roller coaster"?

    I could see such being true for a final product, where a lower acceleration could be applied for a longer time. But here...

    They went 395 meters (or possibly metres) in 15 seconds. Average speed is about 26 m/s, so peak speed is 52 m/s. (This assumes you accelerate halfway, then decelerate the other half, resulting in a consistent acceleration. Anything else will require a higher peak acceleration somewhere along the path.)

    Anyway. To reach 52 m/s in 7.5 seconds, we're talking about roughly 7 m/s^2 acceleration, or about 70% of earth gravity. At startup, you'd suddenly feel an acceleration of sqrt(1^2 + .7^2) = about 1.2 gravities, and the direction of "down" would shift by atan(.7) = 35 degrees from vertical. After 7.5 seconds of that, it'll switch around (so that the direction of "down" will swerve back through the vertical to 35 degrees the other way, a change of 70 degrees total), still at 1.2 gravities. You definitely want to be sitting through all this, and I suspect you want to have not eaten much recently. Or at least want the person sitting next to you not to have eaten much recently. Or both.

    I assume the acceleration was changed a little more smoothly than this (i.e., the "jerk" -- the time derivative of the acceleration -- was kept to a more reasonable level). Which would mean more acceleration. I don't see how you'd make this a stomach-settling experience.

  13. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge
    Joke

    RED button

    What is the red button (in the picture) for? Is it a "press here to eject"?

    1. Sceptic Tank

      Re: RED button

      Flight attendant.

      1. ThatOne Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: RED button

        Launch the nuclear missiles.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Junctions.

    How will junctions work with these?

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Junctions.

      Roundabouts and traffic lights, as any fule kno.

      Seriously though, there won't be "junctions" in any traditional sense. More like very long, gradual rail sidings.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Junctions.

        A siding requires a junction or it's just part of the mainline.

        Someone above suggested multiple platforms, to get pods to different platforms requires junctions.

        Junctions seem to be necessary.

  15. hoola Silver badge

    A solution looking for a problem.

    I just cannot see how this is going to be useful. The cost of building and operating is just fantasy (although the same could be said of HS2).

    For short distances the time spent at each end outweighs the advantage. For something like London to Edinburgh it will be competing with air travel, not train and the construction costs are just horrific. Air has to be better and is certainly less destructive in land use. The green credentials are dubious as well. I have no idea how it compares to air travel but just maintaining the vacuum is horrendous in energy, green or otherwise.

  16. JDX Gold badge

    "The production version of the hyperloop vehicle will carry 28 passengers."

    In a Covid world, the two people seems about right. Personal travel pods like in Futurama.

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