Imagine traveling at speeds greater than 1070 kilometers per hour on a daily basis and without the need to book an air flight. A few decades ago, this would have sounded unreal but now the future is here, thanks to Virgin’s Hyperloop, the futuristic bullet-train-in-a-tube.
The functioning behind Hyperloop is that of a maglev train that runs inside an almost vacuum tube, thereby eliminating most of the air resistance and friction. This allows the train to cover 670 miles per hour while providing the utmost comfort to the passengers. The concept for this train was originally proposed by Elon Musk in an open-source paper but it was Richard Branson who backed this venture by Virgin. Virgin takes a different approach to Musk’s maglev train in a tube and instead demonstrates the use of smaller pods that travel in caravans and can split in different directions allowing the passengers to go to more than one destination at one time.
It’s still a long way to go before Virgin’s hyperloop becomes a reality but the company is hopeful and aiming for “carrying tens of thousands of passengers per hour, per direction, at airplane speeds.” The use of its battery-powered system is more efficient than the conventional maglev trains as it doesn’t create any direct emissions which can harm the environment.
Last November, two of the company’s executives got a chance to ride the hyperloop on the quarter-mile test track, achieving another milestone in its development phase. If the hyperloop gets approved by the US Senate for the trillion-dollar-plus infrastructure bill, that would give another huge advantage to the company. But there’s still a lot of work to be done in terms of construction, government regulation, and deployment before Virgin can make any promising claims.