France has become the first European country to embrace the concept of “hyperloop,” a revolutionary form of public transportation that could carry passengers across the entire country in frictionless capsules through low pressure tubes at almost the speed of sound
SNCF, the company that manages France’s national rail service, has announced it would allocate some €80 million (about $92 million at current exchange rates) to Hyperloop Technologies, one of two American startups currently developing interurban tube trains in the US. Hyperloop plans to test its first 760 mph train in Nevada later this year.
The SNCF, creator of the high-speed train concept, have decided to invest Euros 80m in one of two American companies which are developing the “hyperloop”, a wheel-less train or capsule projected through a tube with relatively small energy needs.
The idea, first proposed in 2013 by the South African-born billionaire-inventor Elon Musk, has been gaining credibility and financial backing in recent months. A pilot scheme is due to be built in Nevada later this year.
The critics point out that the experience of being shot through a tube for half an hour or longer, without a view and without being able to move from one’s seat, might not appeal to everyone. They also point out that a hyperloop system would be able to link conurbations but – unlike a conventional high-speed train – would not be able to reach city-centre stations using existing tracks.
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