France's news in English

Editions:  Europe · Austria · Denmark · France · Germany · Italy · Norway · Spain · Sweden · Switzerland

Will the Paris to Marseille train really take just 40 minutes in the future?

Share this article

Will the Paris to Marseille train really take just 40 minutes in the future?
Hyperloop CEO and manager demonstrate the train capsule. Photo: AFP
10:47 CEST+02:00
Ambitious claims are being made for the ultra high speed Hyperloop trains, currently being tested in France, but what does it mean?

What is it?

The Hyperloop is basically a super-fast train enclosed in vacuum tube to avoid friction and it 'floats' a couple of centimetres above the ground thanks to an electromagnetic field.

It was actually first outlined in the works of French science fiction author Jules Verne, although a bit of extra work has been done on the idea since then.

READ ALSO

The developers say it will reach speeds of 700mph or 1,126km/h. At those speeds the 774km journey from Paris to Marseille would take about 40 minutes, while the trip from the capital to Toulouse would take under half an hour.

Is it really being developed?

Yes, American billionaire eccentric Elon Musk is developing it at his company, but there are also numerous other companies and universities researching the technology including a company called Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, which is based in the USA but has a development office in Toulouse.

A 320 metre long test track has been built in Toulouse to start development of the trains.

"Toulouse is the heart of Europe's aerospace industry so it is only natural that we have a presence there amongst many of our partners and peers," said HTT Chairman Bibop Gresta when the office opened. "We are grateful to the community of Toulouse for welcoming us with open arms."

"Our close relationship with the local government is exactly what is needed to implement Hyperloop systems in Europe," added HTT COO Andres De Leon. "While developing our technology we will also work together to create the necessary regulatory framework for the system."

And in other parts of the globe things are progressing even faster - a 10km track is planned for between Abu Dhabi and Dubai in 2020 as part of the Universal Exposition and at a competition in the USA last week dozens of teams showed how far they had got with the technology.

So where can I buy a ticket?

Calm down, there are a few small problems to iron out first.

Firstly there is the cost, as governments would only start building the infrastructure if costs could be kept to around €20 million per kilometre (slightly more than a conventional railway). Then there's the environmental aspect of it, as maintaining the vacuum and the electromagnetic field would use a lot of energy.

Then of course the whole thing would require extensive safety testing before the public were allowed anywhere near it.

 
Get notified about breaking news on The Local

Share this article

The Local is not responsible for content posted by users.
Chez Moi - 19 Jul 2019 15:30
Provided "eccentric" Musk can keep his hands off the independent companies work, maybe it'll see the light of day. His Tesla brand ... the cars are great but the company behind them is SO bad at communications and service the car has become a liability.
Become a Member or sign-in to leave a comment.

From our sponsors

VIDEO: Three surprising facts that will make you want to visit Malta

Game of Thrones has ended but it lives on in Malta! Find out how and learn two more unexpected facts about this little archipelago in the middle of the Med.