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Hyperloop! Belt up folks… and speaking of such matters, what about that Irish Sea bridge concept? May 30, 2015

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.

This is both cool, fun, scary and as it stands unlikely to be a reality any time soon – a proposal by Tesla/SpaceX founder Elon Musk for a ‘fifth’ transportation ‘mode’, called the Hyperloop which is sort of an alternative to maglev. Here’s the description on Wiki:

…a conceptual high-speed transportation system put forward by entrepreneur Elon Musk,[1][2] incorporating reduced-pressure tubes in which pressurized capsules ride on an air cushion that is driven by a combination of linear induction motors and air compressors.[3]

It could, apparently, be either above or below ground. One would sit in the capsule – carefully strapped in of course, this thing could hit up to 1,000 kph – and be pushed on air through the tubes.

But what of this:

Some critics of the Hyperloop concept have focused on the possibly unpleasant and frightening experience of riding in a narrow sealed, windowless capsule, inside a sealed steel tunnel, that is subjected to significant acceleration forces, high noise levels due to air being compressed and ducted around the capsule at near-sonic speeds, and the vibration and jostling created as the capsule shoots through a tube that is not perfectly smooth or level.[25] Even if the tube is smooth upon construction, ground shifting due to settling and ongoing seismic activity will inevitably cause deviations from a perfectly smooth, level path. At speeds approaching 900 feet per second (270 m/s), even 1 millimeter (0.039 in) deviations from a straight path would add considerable buffeting and vibration. With no provisions for passengers to stand, move within the capsule, use a restroom during the trip, or get assistance or relief in case of illness or motion sickness,[26] the potential for a seriously unpleasant travel experience would likely be higher than in any other popular form of public transport.

Fantastic stuff… literally.

The idea of networks, indeed global networks of maglev tube trains isn’t new. And it’s been a staple of fiction for many many decades (Arthur C. Clarke’s The City and the Stars had a technology in it that was essentially identical). It has obvious attractions.

Mind you, more locally there’s been some noise for many years about an Irish Sea tunnel that would be the equivalent of the Chunnel (I took the latter a couple of times and quite liked it, though interestingly others I know found it deeply claustrophobic). And not just a tunnel, but also a bridge.

One proposal is to span the 19m between the Mull of Kintyre and Antrim, and I was amazed to read that:

If it ever were adopted, passengers would to a high degree still use ferries and aircraft, since it would be a big detour for trains from England. Trains would have to go via Glasgow and around 155 mi (250 km) further to reach Belfast. Even if the High Speed 2 railway is fully built, the travel time London-Belfast would not be below 4 hours.

Just four hours, London-Belfast? But then it’s so much shorter by air.

This is where the bridge concept comes into play as noted here back in 2007.   And the length of the bridge would actually be shorter than that of one in China, in Hangzhou Bay between Shanghai and Ningbo.

However, the depth of the bay is 15m whereas the North Channel is up to and over 160m deep. One has to wonder about the practicality of that.

From Dublin – say using a tunnel, the wiki piece suggests using high speed rail a tunnel between the city and North Wales could shorten travel times to London to as little as 2.5 hours.

It’s highly unlikely to happen, short of a massive change in regard to air transportation, although… who can tell how that will stand in thirty or forty years in the face of resource challenges?


1. CL - May 30, 2015

Musk is opposed to government subsidies; he did it all with his own entrepreneurial talent.
” am arguing against subsidies and in favor of a tax on the end bad created. Market will then achieve best solution.”-Elon Musk.

However,-“The claim is a curious one coming from a man who has built his fortune through companies that have been heavily subsidized by the federal government.”


2. RosencrantzisDead - May 30, 2015

I could never trust a man whose name sounds like a variety of scented candle.


3. rockroots - May 31, 2015

“Rail travel at high speed is not possible because passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia.” – Dr. Dionysus Lardner (1830). 🙂

Liked by 2 people

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