From Cov to Lon­don in just EIGHT min­utes...

Coventry Telegraph - - NEWS - By ENDA MULLEN News Reporter [email protected]­

IT might sound like science fic­tion but a fu­tur­is­tic high-tech trans­porta­tion sys­tem that makes HS2 look slow could see travel time be­tween Coven­try and Lon­don re­duced to just EIGHT min­utes.

Anal­y­sis has re­vealed that if a Hyper­loop sys­tem were in­tro­duced to re­place the cur­rent rail sys­tem it could truly trans­form trans­port in Bri­tain.

In Coven­try’s case the eight minute jour­ney time com­pares to a cur­rent Vir­gin Trains rail jour­ney of 62 min­utes or less - sav­ing trav­ellers up to 54 min­utes.

Hyper­loop is a mode of trans­port that is able to move at fright­en­ingly fast speeds - and es­ti­mated to be two to three times faster than high speed rail.

It in­volves pods trav­el­ling at su­per high speed through near-vac­uum tubes.

And, while the con­cept might sound com­pletely fu­tur­is­tic and a long way from re­al­ity, there are peo­ple cur­rently work­ing on turn­ing this form of trans­port into re­al­ity.

Hyper­loop One and Hyper­loop Trans­porta­tion Tech­nolo­gies are rac­ing to be the first to make this a re­al­ity rather than a pipe dream.

Hyper­loop has ac­tu­ally been talked about as a con­cept since 2013, with the idea pop­u­larised by Tesla founder Elon Musk.

How­ever the idea of us­ing low pres­sure tubes for trans­port has been around for more than a cen­tury.

The con­cept re­volves around send­ing spe­cially de­signed cap­sules, or pods, through a steel tube main­tained at a par­tial vac­uum.

Musk’s idea pro­posed that each cap­sule would float on a thin layer of air in a sim­i­lar vein as a puck on an air hockey ta­ble - that would elim­i­nate fric­tion and al­low for faster speeds than wheels can sus­tain.

Closer to home a Hyper­loop pro­ject has been backed by Vir­gin boss Sir Richard Bran­son - dubbed Vir­gin Hyper­loop One.

RS Com­po­nents, a com­pany based in Northamp­ton­shire, has an­a­lysed what pub­lic trans­port would look like if a Hyper­loop re­placed cur­rent rail ser­vices into the cap­i­tal.

It came up with the eight-minute jour­ney time from Coven­try to Lon­don based on a line be­ing cre­ated in a straight line and Hyper­loop pods be­ing able to travel at speeds of up to 670mph.

An un­par­al­lelled sys­temA spokesman said: “In a world where time is pre­cious, the op­por­tu­nity to shave off min­utes from our ex­cru­ci­at­ing daily com­mute to work, vis­it­ing our friends and fam­ily and ex­plor­ing new cities is un­par­al­leled.

“Com­mut­ing to and from the cap­i­tal city has never looked so ap­peal­ing, tak­ing the dread out of trav­el­ling when vis­it­ing your favourite places.”

The RSA Com­po­nents spokesman added: “Re­search, de­vel­op­ment and test­ing are still un­der way and with mil­lions of in­vest­ment into the pro­ject it’s hope­fully com­ing to us in the near fu­ture.”

If it be­comes re­al­ity the Hyper­loop would also trans­form the way peo­ple live and work.

“Not only will we be able to visit places all around the coun­try that we pre­vi­ously had to travel a num­ber of hours to get to, the Hyper­loop is ex­pected to have a trans­for­ma­tive im­pact on sus­tain­abil­ity, tourism and com­mutes to work,” the RS Com­po­nents spokesman said.

“Work­ers around the coun­try will have nu­mer­ous cities at their fin­ger­tips to find work in, open­ing up more job op­por­tu­ni­ties than ever be­fore.”

This footage shows a speeded-up Vir­gin Trains jour­ney be­tween Lon­don and Coven­try

The story is much the same for many of the other cities across the UK from Lon­don.

The cur­rent jour­ney time from Lon­don to Manch­ester is 125 min­utes, via the Hyper­loop it would be 14 min­utes.

A trip from Lon­don to Liver­pool would be re­duced from 135 min­utes to 16 min­utes, whereas Ed­in­burgh to the cap­i­tal would shorten from 260 min­utes to 29 min­utes.

Per­haps un­sur­pris­ingly the Hyper­loop has had plenty of crit­ics. It has been said the sys­tem would cost far too much to de­velop and the idea it­self is im­prac­ti­cal.

But the po­ten­tial for the low-pres­sure tube mode of trans­port to be­come a re­al­ity is not dead.

Hyper­loop One says it plans to build the first func­tion­ing Hyper­loop sys­tem by 2021.

It also com­pleted and tested its first 500m pro­to­type track in the Ne­vada desert in 2016.

Hyper­loop One does also have pro­posed routes for the UK in mind but its first tar­gets are the Nether­lands, Fin­land and Dubai.

In those coun­tries the com­pany has had gov­ern­ment back­ing ex­plore the po­ten­tial and pos­si­bil­i­ties of the sys­tem.

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