Futuristic (and really fast!) mode of travel would eliminate weather delays

Jessica Wong

By Lauren Fox, AccuWeather staff writer Updated Feb. 5, 2021 1:44 PM PST High speed trains in the works by several companies would travel through weatherproof tunnels. A new futuristic mode of transportation could one day eliminate snowy commutes and other hazards extreme weather poses to traveling by safely zooming […]

High speed trains in the works by several companies would travel through weatherproof tunnels.

A new futuristic mode of transportation could one day eliminate snowy commutes and other hazards extreme weather poses to traveling by safely zooming passengers through underground tubes to their destinations at unheard-of high speeds.

Hyperloops are high-speed capsules that travel through tunnels — and scientists at some of the companies working on this emerging technology say they could be the perfect solution to traveling or commuting during unpleasant or even dangerous weather.

“We’ve all been waiting for a flight or having to struggle with driving through snow or rain,” Chris Bobko, chief engineering officer for Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, told AccuWeather National Reporter Emmy Victor.

Many companies are now breaking into the world of hyperloops and exploring how they can begin being implemented in various parts of the country. Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, a company based in California, is one of the major players in this space working on the new mode of transportation.

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies aims to instate hyperloop systems in the U.S. by 2030. (Hyperloop Transportation Technologies)

“By being a fully enclosed system, we are basically immune to those kinds of very regular weather events that cause so much delay and disruption in our existing modes of travel,” Bobko said.

In November, another California-based hyperloop company, Virgin Hyperloop, brought some passengers aboard at the firm’s Nevada test facility as its researchers begin to explore the concept of hyperloop travel.

Kristen Hammer, a business development manager for Virgin Hyperloop, said hyperloops will provide people with the ability to travel long distances without the “catastrophes of snow and rain and fog and freezing rain — all of these pieces that just make driving so much harder.”

The capsules could carry passengers through tunnels at speeds of nearly 700 miles per hour, offering not only a weather-protected mode of transportation but also a very speedy one.

“A typical pod capacity is around 28 passengers,” Hammer said. “These pods will travel at up to 670 miles per hour, so really fast.”

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Hyperloop Transportation Technologies recently completed a study on the Great Lakes region as a starting point for the futuristic project. The company aims to launch hyperloop systems by 2030.

Hyperloops created by the California company Virgin Hyperloop can travel up to 670 miles per hour. (Virgin Hyperloop)

The Chicago area is currently being looked at by both California hyperloop companies as a launching point for the concept. One route being discussed would connect Chicago to Pittsburgh and allow passengers to travel from one of those cities to the other in under an hour, a distance that would typically take more than seven hours to traverse by car. Both cities have had more than a fair share of severe weather in the past.

“We’re talking about a first commercial prototype that is carrying general passengers in regular service in about three years — that’s in our current timeline,” Bobko said.

Reporting by Emmy Victor.

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