Directors demand more Hyperloop investment

From New Civil Engineer

An influential business group has called for a major investment in Hyperloop technology from government, saying that HS2 will be obsolete by the time it opens.

In its Budget recommendations for the chancellor the Institute of Directors (IoD) championed a major investment in Hyperloop technology as part of schemes to boost regional growth, promoted by initiatives such as the Midlands Engine and the Northern Powerhouse.

Hyperloop technology uses a low-pressure vacuum to propel a levitated pod through a tube at very high speeds. In August development company Hyperloop One reached speeds of 86m/s using its XP-1 first generation pod at its testing site in the Nevada desert, USA.

IoD senior adviser on infrastructure policy Dan Lewis said that while HS2 is most likely to go ahead, the high speed technology will be out of date by the time it opens.

“HS2 will be yesterday’s technology by the time it is ready,” he told The Telegraph.

“Do we make incremental upgrades to infrastructure, or do we spend once on a first of its kind project that could deliver much greater outcomes?”

His comments come after Policy North president David Harrison said the government should ditch HS2 in exchange for more investment in Hyperloop technology.

Nine UK Hyperloop routes have already been proposed by development company Hyperloop One, with engineers from Arup and Aecom working on the designs.

The first proposed route runs for 1,060km between Cardiff and Glasgow via several English cities; a second route will link Edinburgh and London in just 50 minutes and a third will arc from Glasgow to Liverpool via Edinburgh, Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester.

“HS2 will become the backbone of our national rail network – supporting growth and regeneration and helping us build an economy that works for all,” said a spokesperson for the Department for Transport.

“HS2 will transform our rail network for the 21st century, creating more seats and freeing up space on the existing network. This will enable more commuter services on some of our busiest suburban railway lines, leading to better journeys for passengers.”

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