China planning to bring Elon Musk’s Hyperloop dream to reality by 2035

Building hyperloop train line ‘is of strategic significance’ to China, scientists say

Vishwam Sankaran
Tuesday 25 April 2023 10:49 BST

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China could build its first hyperloop train line between Shanghai and Hangzhou, according to the country’s top rail design institutes.

China has shown interest in building the high-speed rail technology, with a new report on the hyperloop project saying it “is of strategic significance” to the country.

The new advance could bring Tesla chief Elon Musk’s dream idea of such a transportation system to life. The idea of a transport system carrying passengers and cargo in pods inside a vacuum tunnel was first proposed by Mr Musk in 2013.

In the report on the project, published last week in the journal Railway Standard Design, scientists conducted a “comprehensive assessment on the candidate construction sites” for the hyperloop train.

They said the Chinese “ultra-high speed pipeline maglev system”, a technology commonly known as a hyperloop, would travel at speeds of up to 1,000km/h in a vacuum tunnel.

Researchers considered several candidate lines for the hyperloop, including ones connecting the Chinese cities of Beijing-Shijiazhuang, Chengdu-Chongqing and Guangzhou-Shenzhen.

A potential line between Beijing and Shijiazhuang could connect the Chinese capital with the capital city of northern China’s Hebei province, while a Guangzhou-Shenzhen line could connect cities in China’s Pearl River Delta region.

The Chengdu-Chongqing line can serve to boost transportation in the nation’s western regions.

Project scientists are considering several factors to narrow in on China’s first hyperloop line, including population density of the regions, their economic activity and existing transport infrastructure in the connecting cities, reported South China Morning Post.

While road transportation currently takes about three hours to travel the 175km between Shanghai and Hangzhou, it may take just 15 minutes to traverse this distance using the planned hyperloop system.

China plans to build the first line by 2035.

But before the first train can shuttle between the two cities, the pioneering move will need a lot of infrastructure construction, including for its low-pressure tubes and specialised stations as well as for safety and regulations.

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