Hyperloop: New York to Washington

Elon Musk Boring Company Hyperloop New York to Washington

The following quotation is taken from a recent article in the New York Times.

 . . . Mr. Musk said he had been given “verbal” government “approval” for his vision, in which one of his companies, the Boring Company, would build an underground transportation system connecting New York City to Philadelphia to Baltimore and on to the nation’s capital — enabling people to make the trip in the unheard-of time of 29 minutes.

It takes New Yorkers longer than that just to travel from one end of Manhattan to the other by subway.

When I read this article I had three immediate thoughts.

  1. Why not make Richmond one of the destinations?
  2. Musk understands the constraints that two dimensional travel imposes (ask anyone in Ashland or Hanover). So he says that our systems need to be three dimensional. My initial vision for hyperloop between Richmond and D.C. was to have elevated tubes over the I-95 median. Musk is going the other way: underground.
  3. Verbal approval isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

Virginia Not Selected

Hyperloop One

The company Hyperloop One states,

The company’s goal is to build transportation networks for both people and cargo,

The goal of Hyperloop One . . . is to have three routes working in a commercial capacity by 2021 . . .

The company has announced winners of an international competition for proposed routes. From their web site:

The Hyperloop One Global Challenge kicked off in May 2016 with a call for comprehensive proposals to build Hyperloop networks connecting cities and regions around the world. More than 2600 teams registered, and we narrowed the field down to the 35 strongest proposals. The Challenge drew broad support from government leaders, and unleashed bold ideas from some of the world’s most creative companies, engineers, and urban planners. The final assessment was difficult but, along with our team of expert judges, we selected the ten routes below as winners of the Global Challenge.

U.S.

  • Cheyenne – Denver – Pueblo
  • Chicago – Columbus – Pittsburgh
  • Miami – Orlando
  • Dallas – Houston

U.K.

  • Edinburgh – London
  • Glasgow – Liverpool

Mexico

  • Mexico City – Guadalajara

India

  • Bengaluru – Chennai
  • Mumbai – Chennai

Canada

  • Toronto – Montreal

Within the United States the following were either finalists or semi-finalists, but were not selected.

  • Reno-Las Vegas
  • Kansas City-St. Louis
  • Cheyenne-Pueblo
  • Seattle-Portland

Once more, we are looking at a missed opportunity to bring true High Speed Rail to Virginia.

The company has published a video showing how hyperloop trains work.

Board of Supervisors Resolution

Hyperloop train

At yesterday’s Board of Supervisors meeting the following resolution was approved.

There was no opportunity for public comment on this topic. The following remarks were made.

  • The High Speed Rail issue has generated more citizen response than any other topic since a suggestion that nuclear waste be stored in the County.
  • The resolution was not so much about the Buckingham Branch per se. Instead the supervisors want the DRPT to explore other options.
  • They expressed a need for dialog with the DRPT.

My personal take on this topic is that the Buckingham Branch is not technically feasible ─ particularly at its southern end. If they want to pursue a really different option then they will have to look at new technology, such as Hyperloop Trains ─ a topic I broached with the same Board of Supervisors in July of this year.