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Hyperloop 'a couple of decades away'

Hyperloop One phase 2 testing

UK engineering expertise could play an important part in developing the “transformational” new Hyperloop technology, the Department for Transport (DfT) has said.

The view was published by the Dft in a paper called ’Science Advisory Council Position Statement, Hyperloop, Moving Britain Ahead’ which looked into the feasibility of introducing Hyperloop in the UK. It added there are significant challenges to be overcome before the transportation system could be introduced in the UK.

While the report said the council found nothing in the fundamental Hyperloop concept that would prevent it from being able to operate safely and securely, the scale of the technical challenges meant an operational system was at least a couple of decades away.

In the UK, the said the urban and hilly environment would make finding a relatively straight and flat alignment needed for the high speeds difficult and costly to find and build. As a consequence the majority of the route would potentially be in tunnel, increasing the cost further.

It also said that while it was not a technical concern, passenger acceptance of the technology would also need to be won.

Proof of concept demonstrations are planned over the next 12 by a number of Hyperloop developers. The report stated that if successful, these would help to demonstrate that the concept was feasible from a whole-system perspective.

The council said it was continuing to review the progress of Hyperloop and “may” make specific proposals to the Department.

Last month influential business group Institute of Directors (IoD) called on the government to make a major investment in Hyperloop technology, saying that High Speed 2 would be obsolete by the time it opened.

Hyperloop technology uses a low-pressure vacuum to propel a levitated pod through a tube at very high speeds. In August development company Hyperloop One reached speeds of 86m/s using its XP-1 first generation pod at its testing site in the Nevada desert, USA.

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