Trans­port into the fu­ture

China Daily (Canada) - - TORONTO - By MASI and GAO YUAN

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Trans­porta­tion time be­tween Bei­jing and Shang­hai could shorten sig­nif­i­cantly, if tech mag­nate Elon Musk’s wild idea about nextgen­er­a­tion travel, or trans­port­ing pas­sen­gers in cap­sules, be­comes a re­al­ity.

Hyper­loop Trans­porta­tion Tech­nolo­gies Inc, a United States-based com­pany that spe­cial­izes in su­per­sonic trans­porta­tion sys­tems, is con­sid­er­ing a hyper­loop pro­ject be­tween Bei­jing and Shang­hai.

“We are speak­ing with cer­tain par­ties in China,” said Bi­bop G. Gresta, deputy chair­man of HTT, on Tues­day. “In terms of the dis­tance and the den­sity of trav­el­ers, the trip from Bei­jing to Shang­hai is one of the most ideal routes to build a hyper­loop pro­ject.”

The con­cept of the hyper­loop pro­ject is to let pas­sen­gers travel in a low-pres­sure tube at the speed of sound. Once ap­plied, the pro­ject in the­ory can re­duce the 1,500km, two-hour Bei­jing-Shang­hai flight trip time by half.

“Each tube­cantrans­port24 mil­lion peo­ple a year and we plan to­have seven tubes. Ba­si­cally, we can trans­port seven times more peo­ple from Bei­jing to Shang­hai than flights,” said Gresta on the side­lines of the 2015 Global In­no­va­tor Con­fer­ence in Bei­jing.

He de­clined to of­fer more de­tails, but said he will visit Shang­hai later this week to meet po­ten­tial part­ners. “We have started dis­cus­sions, but we can’t dis­close with whom,” said Gresta.

But it re­mains un­clear if the gov­ern­ment would sup­port the pro­ject. China has been en­thu­si­as­tic in build­ing self­de­vel­oped high-speed rail­ways and ex­port­ing the tech­nol­ogy to other mar­kets.

Wang Meng­shu, a tun­nel and rail­way ex­pert at the Chi­nese Academy of En­gi­neer­ing, told China Daily that the hyper­loop is still in the realm of dreams.

Wang’s ma­jor con­cern is about the safety of the cap­sules. “Some air­planes are ca­pa­ble of trav­el­ing at more than 1,000 km per hour. They don’t do so, be­cause it is dan­ger­ous. I don’t think the hyper­loop is tech­no­log­i­cally and eco­nom­i­cally fea­si­ble,” Wang said.

China op­er­ates the world’s long­est high-speed rail­way net­work. The to­tal op­er­at­ing mileage will be about 20,000 km by the end of this year. A typ­i­cal high-speed train trav­els at around 300 km per hour.

Com­ments from theMin­istry of Rail­ways were not avail­able onWed­nes­day.

The route from Bei­jing to Shang­hai — each hosts at least 20 mil­lion res­i­dents— is one of the busiest in the world. Cur­rently, ev­ery six min­utes, a high-speed train sets out to con­nect the two cities but this still fails to catch up with the grow­ing traf­fic de­mand.

Ac­cord­ing to Gresta, the com­pany is also speak­ing with po­ten­tial part­ners in In­dia and In­done­sia for pos­si­ble co­op­er­a­tion. “In In­done­sia, we are in ad­vanced rounds of dis­cus­sions,” he said.

In Fe­bru­ary, the com­pany an­nounced a full-scale pas­sen­ger ver­sion of the hyper­loop in Quay Val­ley, Cal­i­for­nia, with con­struc­tion slated to be­gin in mid-2016. The com­pany hopes the line willopen­for pas­sen­gers in the third quar­ter of 2018. The av­er­age run­ning speed on this line will be lower than 1,200 km­per hour.

Con­tact the writ­ers at masi@chi­nadaily.com.cn and gaoyuan@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

Source: Hyper­loop Trans­porta­tion Tech­nolo­gies Inc CHINA DAILY

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