The high-speed train set to get you from Sydney to Melbourne in just 55 MINUTES – less time than it takes to fly

The high-speed train set to get you from Sydney to Melbourne in just 55 MINUTES – less time than it takes to fly
High-speed train could see trip from Sydney to Melbourne take 55 minutes
Hyperloop is an innovative technology developed by billionaire Elon Musk
Railway technology will use magnetic train-like pods to shuttle passengers
Pods could ultimately transport passengers at 1,220 kilometres per hour

A high-speed train that could see a trip from Sydney to Melbourne take 55 minutes is coming sooner than people think.

Hyperloop, developed by billionaire and head of Tesla and SpaceX Elon Musk, is the name given to the innovative technology with Hyperloop One leading the charge to bring the concept to Australia.

The high-speed railway technology will use magnetic train-like pods to shuttle passengers and freight around a network of tubes at close to the speed of sound.

While the technology is still largely at the concept stage, early tests have been carried out on the propulsion technology, which could ultimately transport passengers at 1,220km/h.

Hyperloop One’s Alan James told The Australian his team was ‘very keen to explore the potential for doing proof of operations in Australia’.

‘The reason for that is there’s a clear long-term need for ultra-fast transport on the Australian east coast,’ Dr James, who is vice-president for worldwide business development in passenger systems, said.

‘Melbourne to Sydney is the third busiest air corridor in the world and we can give you Melbourne downtown to Sydney downtown in 55 minutes.’

A flight from Melbourne to Sydney usually takes an hour and a half.

Though the concept is still in the development stage, Dr James said Hyperloop One is aiming to test out a prototype in their Nevada base as soon as six months from now.

Earlier this year, a group of Bachelor of Engineering students from Melbourne’s RMIT University presented their take on the concept to an international Hyperloop design competition in Texas.

Working under the team name of VicHyper, the students’ design involves a pod travelling on a cushion of air inside a vacuumed tube at speeds of 1,200km/h.

Their high-speed pod could also see a journey from Brisbane to the Gold Coast reduced to just nine minutes, according to 7News.

The UK government has also shown interest in the Hyperloop concept, which could link cities in the north of England and cut the journey time to London to a matter of minutes.

Both of the firms competing to build the futuristic transportation network – Hyperloop One – have reportedly held conversations with the government and private firms regarding bringing the concept to the UK.

Details of the discussions emerged as part of an extensive report from Wired, in which firms and the government’s own Innovate UK showed interest in the technology.

According to Wired, talks with UK firms centred on the potential for a Hyperloop system linking Manchester to Liverpool, which would overcome existing transport issues linking the two cities, creating a true ‘northern powerhouse’.

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WHAT IS HYPERLOOP?

Hyperloop is a proposed method of travel that would transport people at 745mph (1,200km/h) between distant locations.

It was unveiled by Elon Musk in 2013, who said it could take passengers the 380 miles (610km) from LA to San Francisco in 30 minutes – half the time it takes a plane.

It is essentially a long tube that has had the air removed to create a vacuum.

The tube is suspended off the ground to protect against weather and earthquakes.

Passengers would sit in either individual or group pods, which would then be accelerated with magnets.

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But Dr James said the system could be a better bet than the proposed High Speed 2 rail network, which plans to link northern cities to Birmingham and London.

The futuristic tube network would dramatically cut the 163-mile journey from London to Manchester, with passengers travelling between the two cities in just 18 minutes.

Dr James told Wired: ‘Hyperloop could connect all the great cities of the English north not just to London, but to each other … making Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, effectively a single city, for instance.’

The second firm racing to make the concept a reality – Hyperloop Transportation Technologies – has also reportedly made inroads intot the UK, discussing the potential for a £50 million ($67m) investment through the government’s investment agency, Innovate UK.

A spokesperson for Innovate UK confirmed the agency had been in talks regarding Hyperloop.

They added: ‘It’s very early stages, but it is an exciting technology and we’re following it with interest.’
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While the initial talks are hopeful, the technology is still a number of years away. In addition, such huge infrastructure projects would require input from national and local government as well as the treasury, before getting the green light.

But the UK is not the only European target for the network.

In July, Hyperloop One released details of a feasibility proposal which would link Sweden with neighbouring Finland.

The proposal outlined how passengers could make the 310-mile trip (500 km) from Stockholm to Helsinki in just 28 minutes.

Other European proposals include a network connecting Bratislava in Slovakia to Vienna and Budapest.

Earlier this year, researchers working on the project unveiled the system of magnets used to drive the pods.

Tests in the Nevada desert showed how the system could accelerate pods along a track. A test sled reached speeds of 116 mph along a track, but engineers still have a long way to go before reaching the 760 mph speeds needed to achieve the promised travel times.

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