I was intrigued to read about the proposed Hyperloop passenger transport system and that a prototype is to be built in California next year. It is being backed by Elon Musk, the PayPal billionaire and is being crowd funded. Available details are sparse, but a description is given in today's Daily Telegraph.
The basic idea is for the trains to run in tube from which the air has been partially evacuated, at speeds of up to 800mph, although the short prototype track will only allow them to reach about 200mph.
Whether it is feasible or not, only time will tell, but if it is, it seems that the Americans will have an entirely new type of ground transport whilst we are still arguing over HS2. We were the inventors of the steam railway and led its development all over the world, but it seems that now we have lost all appetite for new innovations and are happy to build our new high speed line using technology which is already considered out-of-date in Japan and China.
I wish the Americans good luck with this project, it is nice to see that innovation there does not depend on government funding and that people are willing to put up money to give it a try. Clearly the pioneering spirit is still alive.
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