The Need for Speed: Virgin Hyperloop Speed Train


Photo Courtesy of: CNN Business

Image of the Hyper-loop from inside the vacuum tunnel.

Mallory Priest, Journalist

Using magnetic levitation, the new Hyper-loop Speed Train from Las Vegas, NV to Bakersfield, CA will be a new efficient way to travel. The first test run was completed on November 8, 2020, and is said to have the system certified somewhere between 2025 and 2026. 

According to CNN, “A hyper-loop is an unproven transportation system in which people travel in a vehicle in a vacuum tube at speeds as high as 600 mph. Virgin’s system includes magnetic levitation, much like used in advanced high-speed rail projects in Japan and Germany.”

When the test run happened, there were only 2 people on the train. Josh Giegel, Virgin Hyper-loop’s Chief Technology Officer, and Sara Luchian, Director of Passenger Experience, sat in the 2-person pod, which includes seat belts, plush seats, and small windows. In the future, there is hope that 25-30 passengers will be able to travel via Hyper-loop. They envision tens of thousands of passengers traveling in a single hour.

Having a faster and more efficient way to travel, will always take the cake rather than sitting in a car for several hours. Having comfortable seating, possibly a bathroom, and saving money on gas, can allow for more family time.

This image shows what the vacuum tube that the Hyper-loop will travel in. (Photo Courtesy of: CNN Business)

“I think it would be a good idea because Bakersfield would be a fun and interesting place to visit, and having the hyper-loop speed train would make it faster and easier to get there,” says Daley.

Hyper-loop systems can run either above ground or underground, but the engineers are mainly focused on above ground because underground can be time-consuming and become expensive to build. Above ground, vacuum tubes may be a visual sore thumb to the beautiful scenery, but it is more cost-efficient. 

“In 2017, (Elon) Musk tweeted that he had “verbal govt. approval” to build a tunnel from Washington, DC to New York, in which trips could take 29 minutes. The first leg of the project is mired in an environmental review, and there is no clear timeline for it being completed,” states CNN.

There has been talk of starting an underground train since 2013, and Musk got the green light in 2017. There is no completion date set, from Musk’s underground train from Washington D.C. to New York, if it was ever started. 

Even though it won’t be completed until 2025 or 2026, the test runs will continuously be better, and they will make upgrades based on what goes wrong during the testing phase. Hopefully, by 2025, there will be a new efficient and/or beneficial way of travel.