Article Source: IMechE

A Hyperloop prototype could run in Europe for the first time this year after construction began on a test track.

The tubes arrive in France (Credit: HyperloopTT)

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HyperloopTT) will build a 320m track in Toulouse, France, after receiving a set of 4m-diameter tubes. The company, one of several exploring the transport concept first suggested by Elon Musk in 2013, said the system will be suitable for both passenger capsules and shipping containers.

The short track will be finished this year, said HyperloopTT. A full-scale passenger capsule, under construction by Carbures in Spain, is scheduled for delivery in the summer for assembly and integration.

Supporters of the technology, which could fire magnetically-levitating pods at up to 1,200km/h through near-vacuum tubes, claim it could be the future of high-speed transport.

“Five years ago we set out to solve transportation’s most pressing problems – efficiency, comfort and speed. Today we take an important step forward to begin to achieve that goal,” said HyperloopTT chief executive Dirk Ahlborn.

“Hyperloop is more than just displays of rapid acceleration, and more than just breaking speed records. The real opportunity is to create an efficient and safe system with an unparalleled passenger experience.”

The company also hopes to complete next year a 1km test track that will be suspended from pylons at a height of 5.8m.

“Hyperloop is no longer a concept, it has become a commercial industry,” said chairman Bibop Gresta. He cited agreements in place with nine countries, a research centre for freight and logistics in Brazil, and insurance from Munich RE, the world’s largest reinsurance company.

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