‘Hyper­loop’ win­ner would see 39-minute Toronto-Mon­treal trip

Calgary Herald - - CITY -

The Toronto-Mon­treal cor­ri­dor has taken the prize as one of the strong­est can­di­dates in the world for a hyper­loop sys­tem that could cut travel time be­tween the cities from five hours to just 39 min­utes.

But trans­porta­tion ex­pert Martin Col­lier says there’s no way he’s go­ing to be the first to buy a ticket to ride in a bul­let-shaped craft that would travel through a tube at speeds of around 1,000 kilo­me­tres per hour, four times faster than high-speed rail.

“I think I’ll be watch­ing — if I’m still alive when it hits the ground and is ready to go,” said the founder of Trans­port Fu­tures, which pro­motes ed­u­ca­tion about trans­porta­tion is­sues, on Fri­day.

“I’ll prob­a­bly wait and see whether other peo­ple like it first. I’m not an early adopter.”

The Toronto-Mon­treal route was the only Canadian win­ner among 10 en­tries cho­sen from hun­dreds in an in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion spon­sored by Los An­ge­les-based Hyper­loop One, which has a work­ing hyper­loop test sys­tem in the Ne­vada desert.

“The re­sults of the Hyper­loop One Global Chal­lenge far ex­ceeded our ex­pec­ta­tions,” said Rob Lloyd, CEO of Hyper­loop One, in a state­ment posted on its web­site on Thurs­day.

“These 10 teams each had their unique strengths in show­cas­ing how they will al­le­vi­ate se­ri­ous trans­porta­tion is­sues in their re­gions ... Stud­ies like this bring us closer to our goal of im­ple­ment­ing three full-scale sys­tems op­er­at­ing by 2021.”

Hyper­loop is a technology pro­moted by Tesla founder Elon Musk which would place pas­sen­gers and cargo in a cylin­dri­cal ve­hi­cle which ac­cel­er­ates via elec­tric propul­sion through a low-air-pres­sure tube, sus­pended above the track us­ing mag­netic lev­i­ta­tion. The ve­hi­cles are ex­pected to glide at air­line speeds for long dis­tances due to ul­tralow aero­dy­namic drag.

Hyper­loop One’s nine other win­ning en­tries in­cluded four in the United States, two in each of the United King­dom and In­dia, and one in Mex­ico. All are now be stud­ied to de­ter­mine com­mer­cial vi­a­bil­ity.

Se­bastien Gen­dron, CEO of Toronto startup Tran­sPod, says his com­pany aims to have an op­er­at­ing hyper­loop sys­tem in Canada as early as 2025 and he’s con­fi­dent the pub­lic will em­brace the technology.

“We al­ready travel at that speed with an air­craft and the main dif­fer­ence with our sys­tem is we are on the ground,” he said. “And it’s safer to be on the ground than in the air.”

He added Tran­sPod is talk­ing with the fed­eral trans­porta­tion depart­ment to en­sure safety reg­u­la­tions are in place for when the technology is ready to be im­ple­mented.

Gen­dron said he agrees with Hyper­loop One that the Toron­toMon­treal cor­ri­dor is suit­able for a sys­tem be­cause traf­fic is heavy and there is no ex­ist­ing high-speed ground travel al­ter­na­tive for trav­ellers.

But he said Tran­sPod is also in­ter­ested in the Cal­gary-Edmonton cor­ri­dor in Al­berta — he is bid­ding for provin­cial and city sup­port for a four- to 10-kilo­me­tre-long test track on pub­lic land near Cal­gary to test his com­pany’s technology.

Just this week, Cal­gary city coun­cil dis­cussed hy­per­loops. Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra called on coun­cil to back his pitch to make Cal­gary the des­ti­na­tion for a hyper­loop re­search cen­tre and test track. Coun­cil voted in favour of work­ing with Cal­gary Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment to sup­port the de­vel­op­ment of a re­search cen­tre and re­port back to the city’s trans­porta­tion com­mit­tee by the mid­dle of 2018.

WE­BER SHANDWICK/ GETTY IMAGES/ FILES

Hyper­loop is a technology pro­moted by Tesla founder Elon Musk that would trans­port pas­sen­gers in a cylin­dri­cal ve­hi­cle pro­pelled elec­tron­i­cally through a low-air-pres­sure tube.

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