The world’s first full-scale Hyperloop track is ready to begin testing at a time when 11 Hyperloop lines have been proposed in the United States.
Hyperloop One announced that its Development or DevLoop test track at the Apex Industrial Park in North Las Vegas, Nevada, was ready to begin operations on April 6, 2017, The Verge reported. Hyperloop One executives made that announcement at the company’s Global Challenge event in Washington DC.
Execs did not say if actual testing had been done, but the DevLoop is visible from the highway, Bruce Upin, Hyperloop One’s Vice President of Strategic Communications wrote at the company’s blog. It took a team of 150 Hyperloop One employees about five months to set up the long white tube.
The DevLoop is not a working Hyperloop but an outdoor lab where the company will test levitation, propulsion, vacuum and control technologies, Upin revealed. The company plans to conduct hundreds of tests over the next few months in an attempt to commercialize the technology.
If you are planning a visit to Vegas, the DevLoop is visible from a highway in North Las Vegas, but Upin did not say which one. Hopefully nobody will use this as an excuse for a gambling junket, but it might be a fun day trip.
Several Hyperloop Lines Proposed in Colorado
Hyperloop One’s Global Challenge includes 11 routes in the United States, CleanTechnica reported. One of which is incredibly ambitious – 1,152 miles or 1,853.964 kilometers in length.
Interestingly enough three of the lines are in Colorado and overlap. They all include a stretch running along I-25 from Pueblo to Cheyenne.
- Rocky Mountain Hyperloop Consortium – this ambitious project will connect Houston with Dallas/Fort Worth, Amarillo, Pueblo, Colorado Springs, Denver, Fort Collins and Cheyenne, Wyoming. Other cities on the route might include Wichita Falls, Texas, Bryan-College Station, Trinidad, Colorado, and Raton, New Mexico. That’s a distance of 1,152 miles it’s also incredibly ambitious because part of the route (that between Dallas and Pueblo) does not follow any existing major transportation arteries. The Consortium’s webpage claims the system will be up and running by 2025 and it would create new trade routes. This trip currently takes 17 hours by car, The Pueblo Chieftain reported. Hyperloop would reduce the trip to one hour and 45 minutes.
- The Colorado Hyperloop Team’s proposal– will connect Pueblo with Colorado Springs, Monument, Castle Rock, Centennial, Denver, Westminster, Boulder, Longmont, Loveland, Fort Collins and Cheyenne, there will be a short side trip to Greeley. These lines would only be 242 miles long.
- The Rocky Mountain Hyperloop proposed by the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) – consists of four lines including one from Pueblo to Cheyenne that will bypass Denver. Instead will follow the E-470 toll road and I-76 to serve the Denver International Airport (DIA) before running north to Greeley and Cheyenne. A short loop line will run from Boulder through Longmont to Greeley. There will also be a short stretch to Fort Collins. A longer stretch will run follow E-470 from DIA to the Denver Tech Center and from there follow the C-470 highway to I-70 and follow I-70 to Vail. This route would also serve Evergreen, Idaho Springs, Empire and Georgetown. It would be about 360 miles long. The publicly-traded engineering and design firm AECOM (NYSE: ACM) is working on this system with CDOT and it might reduce the travel time between Vail and DIA from two hours and 36 minutes to 8.4 minutes, The Denver Post reported.
Hyperloops Proposed all Over America
Hyperloop One is considering eight other Hyperloop lines around the country according to Clean Technica. These lines are:
- Hyperloop Midwest – a 488 mile line that would connect Chicago with Columbus, Ohio, and Pittsburgh.
- Hyperloop Texas – This would follow the Texas Triangle three routes that would connect Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, Houston and Laredo with three different lines. This would be the second longest system at 640 miles in length and it would provide a connection to Mexico at Laredo, KUT reported.
- Hyperloop Nevada – This would be 454 miles long and connect Reno with Las Vegas. Like the Rocky Mountain Hyperloop Consortium it would create a major new transportation corridor, there are no Interstate Highways or rail lines providing a direct connection between those cities.
- Hyperloop Missouri – This 240 mile long route would presumably follow I-70 and connect St. Louis and Kansas City. It would also serve Columbia.
- Hyperloop West – A line that would run between Los Angeles and San Diego. This would be just 121 miles long making it the second shortest route.
- Hyperloop Florida – This line would provide a direct connection between Miami and Orlando in a bid to boost tourism. It would be 257 miles in length.
- The PNW (Pacific Northwest) Hyperloop – would connect Seattle with Portland, Oregon. This line would also serve Vancouver, Washington, Olympia and Tacoma. It would be around 173 miles in length.
- Hyperloop Massachusetts – The least ambitious of the projects would be just 64 miles in length and connect Boston with Somerset-Providence. This system sounds like more of a regional commuter line than a long distance transportation solution.
It is not clear how serious any of these proposals are or how interested Hyperloop One is in them. One potential problem is that Hyperloop One’s focus is freight and these seem to be passenger systems. Another drawback I see is that none of the major U.S. freight railroads were participating in the challenge which might be fatal to it.
Five of the proposals involve state departments of transportation; including officials from Colorado, Texas, Florida, Missouri and Nevada. Nevada might have the inside track here because the DevLoop and Hyperloop One’s factory are located in North Las Vegas.
Two other serious drawbacks here are lack of federal participation and a national plan. Unconnected Hyperloop lines in different regions make little or no sense. Also nonsensical is the way in which the three lines in Colorado overlap.
A more sensible solution might be a transcontinental Hyperloop or a Miami to Boston Hyperloop. Hopefully some more ambitious planners will get involved and some of these systems will be folded into each other.