back to article Hyperloop One teases idea of 50-minute London-Edinburgh ride

Hyperloop One, the company trying to commercialise the train-in-a-vacuum-tube tech proposed by Elon Musk, has unveiled its proposed European routes. The company has conducted a “global challenge” calling on individuals, universities, companies and governments to develop a “comprehensive commercial, transport, economic, and …

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Gimp

Re: Tech came before Elon

"The ideas of VacTrains came over 100 years ago. Electric cars are nearly 200 years old."

Mmmm...Victorian vacuum train, leather seals and lots of lard!

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Re: Tech came before Elon

Uh oh, somebody else has caught on to Elon's modus operendi. Take an old concept that was sitting around waiting for material science to catch up and make everybody believe it was his idea. Profits? We don't need to make any stinkin' profts!

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Anonymous Coward

Don't worry about costs. Brexit will finance this EASILY!

And clearing the passport queue at Edinburgh won't take much longer than 45 minutes.

And it won't be a target for terror deeds. Not at all.

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BANANAs

People here will protest the building of ANYTHING visible.

And due to the public consultation process, it doubles or triples the cost of doing anything.

Windfarms are just fine...as long as they are over the horizon from the highest point on the coast.

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Re: BANANAs

… and never visible from some MP's home or favorite holiday spot.

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Demonstration

Given how they can't even demonstrate that this works on a smaller scale, how is anybody hoping it'd work on a larger scale? Can anybody remember the tests they held on like a half mile section where almost all the test trains failed and those that did work, were miserably slow... This pipe dream needs to be laid to rest, it doesn't work.

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Re: Demonstration

how is anybody hoping it'd work on a larger scale?

I suspect that the reason for this plethora of EU ideas, and links between different small countries is to get interest and development funding from government and EU bodies, and the plan and hope is to build a proper sized trial in Nevada at the expense of taxpayers (in the US, EU or anywhere else). If somebody would pay for a real world trial, then that'll be even better, just a lot more expensive.

If Hyperloop said "lets build London to Paris", governments would say "lovely, that's a commercial route, we like your proposal, now you fund, you build it". Now got to Estonia and say "we can connect you to Finland without touching Russia", and both governments go "Oooh, lovely idea, what do we need to do to help you make it work?". The Scotland to Wales proposal could be seen as an attempt to suck up feasibility funding from the devolved administrations. And the loop around the Netherlands - why bother? The bulk of the Dutch population live in a triangle around Amsterdam, the Hague and Arnhem that has sides of about 70 km, and the rest of the country has much lower population densities. So why suggest the idea, other than to a government who might fund the development to link up all the places nobody wants to go?

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@R3

I think that's the whole point. People in the US are growing weary of all this so it remains to be seen how much more funding they'll be able to get, so now it's time to try and exploit new markets.

They might be in for a small surprise though I think.

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Re: Demonstration

@Ledswinger

The problem in the Netherlands is exactly this concentration of the population. If the entire country is within 1 hr travel range then working in Rotterdam while living in Groningen becomes an option (or living in Limburg, but who would actually want to do that...) for instance. Much is the population density within the "randstad" region as we call it is a result of the simple fact that a large proportion of the non agricultural jobs are located there. And thus most of the non-agricultural workers live nearby.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Demonstration

or living in Limburg, but who would actually want to do that...

My dear boy, you have not lived until you have tasted our vlaai, and you were only too quick to adopt our carnival (that is, the drinking part, not the culture behind it). In addition, you may want to pick up the only tonal language in Europe, which sounds a lot smoother that the regurgitating throat scrapes required to speak high Dutch.

As a neat side effect, people from around here usually also speak German in addition to English, if not fluent than at least usable, and are able to understand the less comprehensible Swiss German as it has the same root. We also know about open borders because we've had those for decades, and we were saved from Americans inventing myths about little boys with fingers in dikes because our bit is less prone to flooding.

Add to that that people don't spend most of their morning commute parked in a large ring around the Randstad region that rather resembles London's M25 on a slow day and it's not a bad place to be.

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Re: @R3

The socialist government of California is still hot on building a $100B high speed rail line between San Francisco and Los Angeles. A route that already has a gazillion flights each day between them for pocket change. The cost is likely to double since they don't have all of the land in between yet.

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Re: Demonstration

@AC,

I have tasted vlaai, I don't do carnival (neither the drinking nor the culture) and I'd rather speak any other language than the speach impediment that is Limburgs. Additionally I also speak german well enough to be understood. I also already live well outside the Randstad because I can't stand the rush and tumble of the region. What I however also can't stand is the pigheaded, closed culture of the Limburgers. In any other region in the Netherlands it's possible to atleast be somewhat accepted into the social structure of the village/club/region. Not so in Limburg. If you're not born there and speak absolutely flawlessy in a incomprehensible limburgish accent you'll never be a part of anything.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Demonstration

If you're not born there and speak absolutely flawlessy in a incomprehensible limburgish accent you'll never be a part of anything.

Could be a long argument, but yes, there are some rather insular groups here, but if you've ever worked in Amsterdam without being able to speak with a sharp "G" (and I have) you'll have experienced the same there - I don't think that's regional, or even specifically Dutch. You'll find the same in the German speaking part of Switzerland (although trying to speak the language does help in my experience) and in HK you'll always remain a gweilo, whereas especially closer to the Mediterranean parts of Europe you're a friend as long as you are moderately sane, social and child friendly :).

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Re: Demonstration

Well more or less yes. I have however had more luck making friends or atleast aquintances out of for instance Frysians (Not exactly the most amicable bunch), Amsterdammers, Rotterdammers, Tukkers and Groningers than I have had with Limburgers. (Though I will add is seems the south Limburg region around Maastricht seems to be somewhat more accepting than the northern regions)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Demonstration

Though I will add is seems the south Limburg region around Maastricht seems to be somewhat more accepting than the northern regions

There ya go - guess where I'm from? :)

I suspect this has to do with the fact that we have to get on with anyone on account of pretty much absent borders so we're not really hung up about differences. We're not above winding someone up, of course, but "Gemütlichkeit" is a way of life.

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Anonymous Coward

Wake me up when someone builds a fully working TARDIS.

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It would have been here yesterday.

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With the negative sentiment in these comments... it's no wonder the UK is so far behind most other technically advanced nations. In the UK, we shut down innovation almost as soon as it's conceived - usually citing the holy trinity of Britishness - Cost, Environmental, Health & Safety.

We've not had anything remotely new in the UK since the Channel Tunnel. And that could never be done/waste of money/completely unsafe.

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Anonymous Coward

it's no wonder the UK is so far behind most other technically advanced nations

In my experience, the UK isn't behind other nations. If you cherry pick your examples, you'll certainly find faster broadband, better mobile coverage, better railways, better roads, more airports, greater use of technology, higher R&D spend. But not in the same place. And other developed countries often have exactly the same sort of problems that we do, and many have worse broadband, slower railways, worse roads, lower tech use etc.

The acid test is that if you really think the UK is such a technologically benighted nation, why not move to one of these places that are so much better?

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I probably would. But, as your typically flippant reply seems to forget, not everyone has the option to just decide to move to a different country because they don't like the broadband speeds.

It also seems my point was lost in the immediate need to vote down someone daring to knock our way of life. Which is fine... I moved from S. England to Scotland a decade ago. And while it is indeed colder and slightly more sheep per sq mile, and yes, unfortunately because Scotland is treated as England's slightly poorer cousin, we don't get QUITE the same technical advancements up here (it's astounding I get probably better internet than most of you in England TBH), the attitude of the (few) people I've met from my area just seems to be so much more... open than where I came from originally.

Britain is not a friendly country - unless there's a disaster. We're pretty good at being friendly then.

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I love Scotland, its politics and its people especially.

It's the damn weather that stops me (and others that have tried) living there.

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Happy

@Kaltern

A few weeks ago I was working in Lochinver. The broadband in my apartment was very fast, watching iPlayer was no problem. Considering I was about a mile out of town on the north side of the bay I was quite impressed.

Edit: You *must* try the pies at the pie shop. Venison pie, yum!

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"I moved from S. England"

Sounds reasonable.

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Re: @Kaltern

the attitude of the (few) people I've met from my area just seems to be so much more... open than where I came from originally.

Small population centres (villages and smallish towns) tend to be more open and friendly as people value knowing their neighbours.

The larger the population centre, the less privacy everybody has so they tend to avoid communicating to give each other privacy. This comes at the cost of knowing the people around you.

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Mushroom

One little prick

In the tunnel wall that is!

You lose the vacuum with a train travelling at several hundred miles and hour.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: One little prick

And what.... you lose vacuum, you glide to a stop?

What you should really worry about is what happens when the bag on the end of the vacuum gets full and you can't find a replacement... until we get the Dyson version, which will be made of fluorescent plastic and which will cost 5-20 times as much as any alternative.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: One little prick

until we get the Dyson version, which will be made of fluorescent plastic and which will cost 5-20 times as much as any alternative.

I'm not very attracted by the idea of spinning around in a cyclone at the end of a journey until my speed drops enough to fall on a heap of other passengers. Yes, I know I'm picky.

:)

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A luddite writes...

From a techie point of view it's all cool and neat, even if the economics may be a bit iffy.

What concerns me is the overall social impact and the tendency it will have to encourage more conurbations around the limited number of stops. People have been moving into cities for centuries for a variety of reasons, some of them good at the time, but we now have the potential infrastructure to reverse that trend. Why on earth should El Reg journos (or anyone else) have to spend an hour or more twice a day travelling to or from a job? Why do more than a handful of people need to travel from London to Edinburgh (or wherever) at high speed? Skype is even quicker, and no rubber gloves at the terminus! Explore your own neighbourhood before travelling to the ends of the earth to lie on a beach and read a book. Learn to savour the journey as part of your holiday. A hyperloop (or even a tunnel) to Dublin would be nice and fast, but I enjoy a few hours relaxing on the ferry.

What was that thing about the soul travelling at the speed of a trotting camel?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: A luddite writes...

we now have the potential infrastructure to reverse that trend

We do. But how would that go down in your neck of the woods, or any other pleasant rural location? With a growing population, a more distributed nation would mean less of the maniacal build, build, build in London, and a lot of new green field development elsewhere.

I live in a former new town, so new build round me gets only limited opposition, but imagine if Ceredigion had to accommodate another 20,000 houses in its local plan? Announce 20 new "affordable" homes for a housing association, and there's little problem. Announce a 1,000 home development including the sort of houses people actually want to buy, and which would match the high value jobs Ceredigion currently lacks, and I suspect the pitchforks would be out.

I'd say that a more balanced, more distributed economy would be a great thing with real benefits. But that would mean huge structural change, a lot more development away from the toxic crap hole inside the M25, rising house prices in the regions etc. I doubt that everybody would be happy.

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Re: A luddite writes...

What was that thing about the soul travelling at the speed of a trotting camel?

Another saying which may be applicable here; never travel faster than your guardian angel can fly.

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Re: A luddite writes...

<emWhat was that thing about the soul travelling at the speed of a trotting camel?</em>

The point of a journey is not to arrive.

- N. Peart

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Re: A luddite writes...

"But how would that go down in your neck of the woods, or any other pleasant rural location?"

Probably about the same as all the roads that would be needed to carry all the extra traffic for ever-growing commutes.

In my neck of the woods we had mills. When they were built there were also extra houses built because there was an influx of workers (it's not a new problem). The mills have closed. A few have been re-purposed for new businesses but on the whole employing rather less people per loom-space. The rest have been built over with houses. And a few more houses in in-fills. So local population has gone up, local employment has gone down. Public transport has got worse. The unimproved roads have to take the strain of commuting by car and, to be fair, it's not easy to see how the roads could be improved given the constraints topography imposes. What we've suffered from has been a lifetime's planning which has adopted the principle of separating places of employment and dwellings into different zones; the mess we have was actually planned. The situation being what it is I can't see how more work-places could be slotted into the area - topographical constraints again. If, however, it were possible to move some urban jobs into rural areas then the office space they occupy could be re-used for housing for the remaining urban workers. What we have now is the concentration of jobs into ever-growing urban centres which then need the towns and villages of over 1000 sq miles of surrounding countryside to house many of their workers with all the accompanying transport problems. It's not sustainable but it's yet another problem that government won't think about tackling. And that's without bringing increasing population into it.

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Re: A luddite writes...

"The point of a journey is not to arrive.

- N. Peart"

Yep, the point is to ride your motorcycle really fast on winding country roads.

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Re: A luddite writes...

Yep, the point is to ride your motorcycle really fast on winding country roads.

You do realise that this is going to baffle quite a number of people. Country roads, hyperloops, motorcycles? What gives? etc...

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Hyperloop sucks

A hyperloop tunnel is basically just a giant vacuum cleaner. Rather than sending people on journeys, couldn't Londoners use this to send all their garbage up to Scotland?

Before the train gets sucked into the tunnel, just toss a few black bags of rubbish in, ahead of it.

The only problem might be if the Scots start sending their rubbish back down.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Hyperloop sucks

The only problem might be if the Scots start sending their rubbish back down.

Already happened, its called "Royal Bank of Scotland plc".

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Overcomplicating it, aren't you ?

In the 1840s-1850s atmospheric railways were running successfully with a motive force that was an evacuated pipe between the tracks. Ok not hyperloop sized, or pressure, but pulling partial vacuums down to half / third atmospheric pressure over pipes best part of 2 feet in diameter a couple of miles long. This despite said pipe having a slot with a leather seal in the top. Using a 100hp steam engine for the suction pump. Remember - we're not after a hard vacuum.

And all this fuss about airlocks ? Make the stop a loop line. Train comes in, shut doors to tunnel front and back of it. Open vent in loop tunnel - the space round the train is small if the fit is relatively tight so not much air moves due to small volume. Open passenger doors. Close loop tunnel vent. Once all on board, shut passenger doors, open tunnel doors (marginal change to tunnel partial vacuum as air round train is small volume). Whoosh off.

And why are some of you worrying about the train behind. At those timings having only one train in the inter-city section would be a frequency higher than many mainline routes.

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Re: Overcomplicating it, aren't you ?

Sorry, do you think you've solved the airlock issue here: 'shut doors to tunnel front and back of it.' <- That's the airlock, right there. So you've effectively said 'the airlock isn't an issue, just pull into the airlock'.

Maybe you could draw us a diagram?

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Re: Overcomplicating it, aren't you ?

Well, yes, if you like, its an airlock - a train sized and, importantly, train shaped one. But there's nothing complicated about a decently sealing door at each end of a tube. It doesn't even have to be completely airtight. And you don't need all that pumping up / down to atmospheric / running tunnel pressures associated with normal airlocks.

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Re: Overcomplicating it, aren't you ?

Actually, thinking about it a bit more, you don't even need doors as such - just a seal (think like a grommet) that tightens round the extreme ends of the train once it is stationary.

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Re: Overcomplicating it, aren't you ?

Right, so this seal, it needs to grip and release the carriage, and seal around whatever tracks are in place also. The only way I can see this working is if the seals are effectively little carriages themselves, molded to be the inverse of each end of the carriage. Maybe the final seal could be an inflatable skirt of some kind. The issue here is that this requires a bit of shunting, via some little devils horns curving off from the main track, so the seals can shunt in and 'pinch' the carriage. So this adds to disembarkation time, and the number of stops in the time frame quoted looks a bit iffy.

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Re: Overcomplicating it, aren't you ?

"In the 1840s-1850s atmospheric railways were running successfully with a motive force that was an evacuated pipe between the tracks"

The problem word in there is "successfully". The speeds achievable wouldn't be considered a success by hyperloop terms.

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Re: Overcomplicating it, aren't you ?

Re the seal

So? Shunting is Victorian Technology, high speed shunting 1930s. Stopping in ATO under about the max braking you want for non strapped passengers to within 30 cm is 1990s LUL Central Line tech. Inflatable bag seals since gods alone knows when. Think of the carriage end overhanging the wheel arrangement by a couple of feet. Carriage fits within the tunnel to within say 15cm (1890s levels of accuracy for tube trains. Good smooth trackbed surface. The seal doesn't have to do much to hold 1 atmosphere over a 6" gap. Hell it could be carriage mounted.

Stopping takes time anyhow, this leaves the running tunnel empty.

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50 minutes travel. 2hrs in security.

No duty free.

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Re: 50 minutes travel. 2hrs in security.

No duty free.

F*** that. Maybe they could loop the route undersea and outside UK territorial waters?

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Missing the point

The objective of virtual / augmented / [insert latest buzzword here] reality is so I do not have to GO anywhere. I just put on my goggles and "virtual space" suit and it gives the sensation of being where I want to be. The sensation of going there too if I really (sic) want to experience a train ride. So my avatar sits in a meeting with everyone else's avatar and everything is the same - coffee and bad breath; uncomfortable seats and boring flow charts.

I thought Sony had a camera years ago which could in effect digitise a whole city. Why would I want to sit on a crowded train to go to Glasgow if I can just "transport" myself virtually - and instantly - into the middle of town.

Hmmm ... Virtual single malt gets a bit tricky though. That aside - I also thought IBM kicked off this whole virtual reality tourism some years ago with a digitised version of the Imperial Palace Museum in Beijing. Anyone know what happened to that?

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Flame

History repeats???

What Mr Stevenson you think we should connect Stockton and Darlington by steam?

Travel at 15 miles an hour!!

Why would people want to travel that fast?

It will never catch on! people say it can never be done!

I for one think the Hyperloop would be a good idea. Removing long distance driving, Update the rail network for the 23rd Century, never mind the 22nd.

"a small leak would destroy the train" in the same way a leak in a jet airliner would? I don't think so, a rapid slowing of the train but not much more than that.

I think we HAVE lost our way for large projects in this country. For the past 100 years we have been at the front of the development of so many technologies, from rockets, to supersonic jets, to computers and networking, but we then fail to have the vision to do anything about it.

Lets look for a return on investment not for 5, 10 or even 20 years... lets look for a hundred years, two hundred years, like the rail infrastructure (suitably upgraded) has been (if only they kept upgrading it enough).

Lets move the transport projects out of London and into other parts of the UK, and by the way England does not stop at Manchester or Birmingham, and Scotland does not stop at Edinburgh or Glasgow.

As to the guy who only suggested Skype, I'm sure your mother would be ecstatic to have a Skype call on her birthday as opposed to a visit from her children \ grandchildren. This kind of transport is not only for businesses, but, like rail travel and air travel before, for holidays, families and a chance to explore the country without spending 20 hours in a sodding traffic jam!!

That's it rant over....

I need to cut down on my coffee and donuts.

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Re: History repeats???

It's been tried in Scotland before...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bennie_Railplane

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Re: History repeats???

Also something similar in Cambridge

http://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/cambridge-news/cambridgeshires-space-age-hovertrain-float-12605298

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tracked_Hovercraft

if not full blown hyperloop perhaps revisit something like this???

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