Hyperloop and other vactrains

General discussion of passenger rail proposals and systems not otherwise covered in the specific forums in this category, including high speed rail.

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Re: Hyperloop and other vactrains

Postby lpetrich » Thu Sep 14, 2017 3:15 pm

Hyperloop One announces 10 routes it will study, partners with Colorado DOT | Ars Technica
Hyperloop One, a startup that's working on building high-speed, low-pressure, tube-based rail transportation, announced Thursday morning that it had chosen 10 routes around the world that it will study as potential locations for a Hyperloop. The startup solicited route ideas back in May as part of what it called the "Hyperloop One Global Challenge."

One route, however, was chosen for a headliner feasibility study that will be conducted with Colorado's Department of Transportation (CDOT) and Aecom, a multinational engineering firm: Pueblo-Denver-Cheyenne. Hyperloop One says that route would span 360 miles and be accessible to about 4.8 million people.

Here is all of them.

#1: Colorado
Cheyenne WY - Fort Collins - Greeley - DIA - Denver - Colorado Springs - Pueblo ... 213 mi, 343 km
Denver - Silverthorne/Dillon - Vail ... 96.7 mi, 156 km

#2: South India
Chennai - Vellore - Bengaluru - Tumakuru - Dharwad - Kolhapur - Pune - Mumbai ... 825 mi, 1327 km

#3: South India
Chennai - Kanchipuram - Chittoor - Palamaner - Kolar - Bengaluru ... 216 mi, 347 km

#4: Great Britain
London - Birmingham - Manchester - Edinburgh ... 414 mi, 666 km

#5: Great Britain
Liverpool - Manchester - Leeds - Newcastle upon Tyne - Edinburgh - Glasgow ... 337 mi, 542 km

#6: Canada
Montreal - Ottawa - Toronto ... 403 mi, 648 km

#7: South Florida
Miami - Orlando ... 254 mi, 409 km

#8: Northeast US
Pittsburgh - Columbus - Chicago ... 540 mi, 869 km

#9: Texas
DFW - Dallas - Austin - San Antonio - Laredo ... 445 mi, 716 km
Houston Port - Houston - San Antonio ... 197 mi, 317 km

#10: Central Mexico
Mexico City - Querétaro - León de los Aldama - Guadalajara ... 377 mi, 606 km
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Re: Hyperloop and other vactrains

Postby lpetrich » Thu Sep 14, 2017 4:22 pm

The distances I calculated using Google Maps highway distances, though with only some of the cities along the routes.

The Colorado one is one of the shortest, and that may be why it was selected for further study. It would presumably be a "demo line", a line that's long enough to be an intercity line, but short enough to avoid costing very much. Even then, the cities along the routes would not have very high populations.

Denver: 2.8m, Colorado Springs 0.71m, Fort Collins 0.16m, Pueblo 0.11m, Cheyenne WY 0.096m, Vail 0.005m (Vail gets many visitors who come to ski)

So I suspect Denver - CO Springs (71 mi, 114 km), then Denver - Ft Collins (65 mi, 104 km) would be the first lines to be built.


This study should come up with an important figure for the Hyperloop: a cost estimate. So far, I have yet to see any carefully-calculated numbers for the Hyperloop's cost. The authors of the study will likely evaluate several alternatives, like Amtrak-style 79-mph diesel trains and 125-mph electric trains, and I'm sure that those two will beat the Hyperloop by a large margin.
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Re: Hyperloop and other vactrains

Postby mtuandrew » Thu Sep 14, 2017 11:25 pm

I bet Brightline's backers would be thrilled to have Hyperloop competition MIA-ORL. :P

The Colorado example seems ridiculous when compared with the other nine. Also unnecessarily difficult, being as it involves boring through a mountain range to Vail! The omissions are significant too - no NYC-anywhere, no SFO-LAX, no city pairs in Europe except for Britain, no city pairs in Southeast or East Asia.
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Re: Hyperloop and other vactrains

Postby electricron » Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:11 am

mtuandrew wrote:I bet Brightline's backers would be thrilled to have Hyperloop competition MIA-ORL. :P

The Colorado example seems ridiculous when compared with the other nine. Also unnecessarily difficult, being as it involves boring through a mountain range to Vail! The omissions are significant too - no NYC-anywhere, no SFO-LAX, no city pairs in Europe except for Britain, no city pairs in Southeast or East Asia.

I completely agree, Colorado would be a poor choice. Who would wish to ride within a steel/metal tube in an area that is very, very, very rich in scenery?
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Re: Hyperloop and other vactrains

Postby mtuandrew » Fri Sep 15, 2017 2:30 am

electricron wrote:I completely agree, Colorado would be a poor choice. Who would wish to ride within a steel/metal tube in an area that is very, very, very rich in scenery?

That's true, but much more that the ridership just isn't there. For the billions in real estate & mineral rights, Tunnel Boring Machines, reinforced concrete, electrical and electronic components et cetera, neither Colorado Springs/Pueblo nor Vail are strong enough anchors. But, if Colorado is that flush with green :P that it can send some to Elon, may they prove me wrong.
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Re: Hyperloop and other vactrains

Postby Telecomtodd » Thu Nov 02, 2017 9:18 am

Some info and some issues. I recently had a chance to speak with a number of company representatives.

- They consider themselves a start up company. Most employees are well under 35 years old.
- Hardly anyone in the company has any rail experience. Not a bad thing since they aren't actually putting in rail, but they had not considered a number of important things.
- The signals team is concentrating on a long list of specific things they need to communicate to the outside world concerning the well-being of the "pod" (what they call the car) and its occupants. One pod per trip.
- The list of things they want to communicate would normally dictate a broadband channel. Think fiber. Except you can't use fiber for obvious reasons. But fiber will need to be a part of the backbone comms system.
- They had not considered the speed of the pod versus the capability to hand-off data; they had assumed that somehow they would magically maintain constant links with the pod. They had no idea that current technologies are limited to about 200 MPH.
- The pod is limited to 50 passengers. No bathrooms.
- While they describe a boring method, the east coast corridor could be a deep trench. Think the Dulles Airport people mover.
- The first implementation will not be in the United States. Instead it will be constructed in a country where laws are subject to a royal's decision to change them. No names mentioned, but allusions made were the KSA. Money + need + low labor costs + no legal hurdles = perfect test bed. Just don't drink, speed or screw around or you'll get whipped, jailed, and deported.
- The main focus is civil and mechanical engineering.
- There was a confirmation that they were considering a line between STL and Kansas City. I mentioned it would allow protesters to march in both cities in a single night and they thought that was the funniest thing they'd heard in a while. However, they had no idea that Missouri has a lot of caves...and underground silos.

There's so much they don't know at this point. The ability to put a test bed in a remote location overseas will allow them to gain the experience needed to bring their technology to America. Expect a press release that they are going to build the overseas test bed in mid-2018.
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Re: Hyperloop and other vactrains

Postby electricron » Sun Nov 05, 2017 10:17 pm

Railroads couldn’t have been built without the advances made by mechanical and civil engineers building the structures and developing the steam engine. But none of them would have been built without lawyers, marketers, financiers, and the general public willing to buy tickets to ride them and buying stocks so they could afford to build the tracks, trains, and companies with employees to run them.
How successful any Hyperloop system will be depends upon developing a business model where it earns profits for its stock holders with fares the average everyday travelers can afford. I’m not so sure that can be done.
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Re: Hyperloop and other vactrains

Postby mtuandrew » Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:37 pm

electricron wrote:Railroads couldn’t have been built without the advances made by mechanical and civil engineers building the structures and developing the steam engine. But none of them would have been built without lawyers, marketers, financiers, and the general public willing to buy tickets to ride them and buying stocks so they could afford to build the tracks, trains, and companies with employees to run them.
How successful any Hyperloop system will be depends upon developing a business model where it earns profits for its stock holders with fares the average everyday travelers can afford. I’m not so sure that can be done.

Judging by the history of most early American railroads, it’ll probably require massive government grants, purchases of stocks and bonds by foreign investors, and several bankruptcies to wipe out that debt owed to stockholders.
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Re: Hyperloop and other vactrains

Postby electricron » Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:30 pm

mtuandrew wrote:Judging by the history of most early American railroads, it’ll probably require massive government grants, purchases of stocks and bonds by foreign investors, and several bankruptcies to wipe out that debt owed to stockholders.

In other words, a deep hole unsmart investors pour money into.

While the railroads eventually survived using bankruptcy protections provide by the law, those tactics created the anti-trust laws that Teddy Roosevelt pushed through Congress, which I believe are still the law of the land.
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Re: Hyperloop and other vactrains

Postby BandA » Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:08 pm

Sometimes you need somebody that doesn't know it can't be done, to do it.
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Re: Hyperloop and other vactrains

Postby mtuandrew » Tue Nov 07, 2017 2:37 am

BandA wrote:Sometimes you need somebody that doesn't know it can't be done, to do it.

Oh, it can be done, we have the technology. You need someone who doesn’t know they won’t make a profit :P
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