Category Archives: Hyperloop

Tesla Technology Put To Use In L.A. Tunnel Project

Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) is known for its electric cars, batteries, and solar panel innovations, but its drivetrain technology is also being put to use in an unexpected place: underground.

CEO Elon Musk’s pet project, The Boring Company, is using Tesla technology to help dig test tunnels in Los Angeles:

After several announcements of upcoming large scale projects, like a network of tunnels under Los Angeles and an underground hyperloop between New York and Washington DC, the company is now presenting its R&D tunnel project underneath Hawthorne.

They plan to test boring techniques in the tunnel as well as Tesla’s autonomous driving and powertrain technologies on electric platforms to move vehicles.

In April, Musk’s new startup took delivery of their first boring machine and started digging in the parking lot of SpaceX’s headquarters.

Musk has described The Boring Company’s purpose as solving “the problem of soul-destroying traffic.” What began as a small project with a handful of engineers and interns has clearly evolved into something bigger. Large-scale tunnels will be necessary for Musk’s Hyperloop project to even get off the ground (or under the ground, to be more precise), and it looks like they’re making some solid progress.

And using Tesla’s electric drivetrains to power the tunnel boring machines is a near development.

Elon Musk’s Hyperloop is getting closer – but it’s not the gamechanger he imagined

Elon Musk’s Hyperloop, the vacuum tube-based train he once claimed would complete the 350-mile trip from Los Angeles to San Francisco in half an hour, has taken its first baby steps towards reality after reaching 192mph in a test.

In concept, Hyperloop is not only faster than a regular train, it’s faster than any planes carrying the public around. If they work, he’ll even export them to Mars. It sounds outlandish, but Paypal, Tesla and SpaceX have gone well so far, so he has some credibility in the bank.

In this case, he’s an ideas man rather than an engineer, and the Nevada test was undertaken by Hyperloop One, one of several unaffiliated companies started up to make his dream a reality.

But if you haven’t been paying close attention, you might be surprised to find that things aren’t going exactly as planned.

It is not that fast

While 192mph is a fairly fast speed for an average train and proof that Hyperloop One’s engineers can get some kind of vehicle through a tube, it’s also a somewhat disappointing introduction to the world.

Bullet trains in Japan go 2oomph all the time. The Eurostar, between Paris and London, goes up to 186mph on its current route, without utilising bleeding-edge technology.

The Hyperloop will undoubtedly speed up as engineers get to grips with their project, but it’s a matter of degree. To go fast enough to get from LA to SF in half an hour, as The Verge points out in an interesting explainer, the Hyperloop would have to go more than 700mph on average.

The test is nowhere close, and the way the technology looks, it’s going to be difficult to make gains beyond what conventional trains can already do.

It’s not what he said it was

Musk’s original top-of-the-head plan for Hyperloop – he excels at top-of-the-head plans – was for tiny three-person pods which shoot down one-way tubes. They would initially be propelled, and then would slide quickly and effortlessly through the vacuum.

What happened in the test does not closely resemble that plan. The test pod was 28 feet long and 11 feet in diameter – it looks a bit like a bus with a beak, or a conventional bullet train – and it was launched by an electric system before switching to magnetic levitation, or maglev.

This is not the same as levitating through a vacuum – though the engineers did pump most of the air out of their concrete tube to speed the craft’s travel.

Fast trains already exist

The thing about using maglev for Hyperloop is that maglev already exists. It works. In Japan, it has reached speeds of up to 375mph – manned – in tests, and the Shanghai version goes 270mph in the wild.

Trains long and short, fast and slow, are being levitated by magnets across the world. If the question posed on California’s west coast is “how do we ferry people quickly from Los Angeles to San Francisco”, then the obvious answer is “maglev”.

The Japanese version, due open this year, will make the 250-mile trip from Tokyo to Osaka in just over an hour. It’s not quite the 30 minute LA-SF trip, but it also doesn’t require inventing questionably practical new technology to make a pod go 700mph in a vacuum tube.

The current train from LA to SF takes about 12 hours direct, although it’s a sightseeing route, and the half-train half-bus route through inland Bakersfield takes 10. If train travel was a priority, would they not have improved on this already?

They’re trying. The California High Speed Rail Authority has planned a high-speed link by 2029 that will run the course in 2 hours 30 minutes – unless the Hyperloop hype gets in the way of its funding and planning.

Its technical requirements will be nearly impossible to fulfill

Let’s say Hyperloop works as promised. Let’s say it can theoretically travel 700mph through a vacuum tube and get passengers – perhaps even a beaked bus full of passengers rather than a three-person pod – across a distance of 350 miles.

It still has to be built, and this is where much of the backlash so far falls. Musk promised it would cost just £6bn – a sixth of the budget for Crossrail 2, which is set to cover the slightly less traversed Broxbourne to Surrey route.

That would drastically undercut the California High Speed Rail Authority’s plan, if it was remotely realistic.

It assumes the tubes can fit in all manner of strange places, including the middle parts of motorways – less likely now they look like they’ll be bigger – and that the sheen of Silicon Valley disruption will make it somehow vastly cheaper to build things like viaducts across valleys – which would revolutionise civil engineering in general and is also very unlikely.

Why viaducts? Because a pod shooting along a vacuum in a tube needs to be going very straight. If it’s going 700mph, with all the G-force implications with the slightest turn, then the tube needs to be very, very straight.

And it’s hard, to say the least, to secure the rights to an exactly straight line worth of land between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

but we might still get something out of it

Of course, there is no obligation for anyone to make the exact vacuum tube envisioned by Elon Musk. And there are places in need of fast, relatively environmentally friendly travel outside California.

Hyperloop One is just one among a variety of companies which have proposed hyperloops everywhere from India to Australia to the Czech Republic to Britain’s East Coast Main Line.

The sometimes blind faith in Musk’s abilities as a visionary is driving investment – and even if California turns out to be a disaster, it might teach us lessons we can apply elsewhere. London to Manchester in 26 minutes anyone?


Elon Musk’s Hyperloop Is Doomed for the Worst Reason

Regulations are killing America’s boldest dreams.

When Elon Musk tweeted that he had “verbal govt approval” to build a Hyperloop to carry passengers from New York to Washington in half an hour, everyone with a lick of sense about transportation rolled their eyes. It was obviously delusion, fantasy, and hype — science-fiction nonsense.

In a different era, skeptics would have focused on the technology: a magnetic levitation system shooting passenger pods along through a tunnel that maintains a near-vacuum for hundreds of miles. Gee whiz! That’s impossible!

But nowadays we’re blasé about technological challenges. If geeks can put a supercomputer in everyone’s pocket, we imagine they can build a mag-lev pod transit system. Musk does, after all, have his own space program.

No, what makes Musk’s Hyperloop plan seem like fantasy isn’t the high-tech part. Shooting passengers along at more than 700 miles per hour seems simple — engineers pushed 200 miles-per-hour in a test this week — compared to building a tunnel from New York to Washington. And even digging that enormously long tunnel — twice as long as the longest currently in existence — seems straightforward compared to navigating the necessary regulatory approvals.

We live in a world where atoms are much harder to do anything with than bits — and where atoms that require regulatory permission are the hardest of all. The eye-rolling comes less from the technical challenges than from the bureaucratic ones.

With his premature declaration, Musk is doing public debate a favor. He’s reminding us of what the barriers to ambitious projects really are: not technology, not even money, but getting permission to try. “Permits harder than technology,” Musk tweeted after talking with Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti about building a tunnel network. That’s true for the public sector as well as the private.

“For some urban context: a recently opened stretch of subway in New York cost $4.5 billion for less than 2 miles of rails. It was first proposed in 1919 and opened to the public in January 2017,” wrote Bloomberg’s Tom Randall, concluding drily. “These things take time.”

The Second Avenue subway is an extreme example of a general phenomenon. As I’ve previously written, a large infrastructure project may take three or four years of actual construction. But the work can’t even get started until there’s been a decade or more of planning and design. The bottleneck isn’t the actual construction, in other words. It’s the ever-more-detailed analyses, reviews and redesigns required — and often litigated — beforehand. (For New Deal nostalgics, this also explains why the stimulus bill passed in 2009 couldn’t easily include a full-blown Work Progress Administration-style jobs plan.)

“It took two years just to complete the geotechnical and environmental studies for the Chesapeake Bay tunnel project that’s about to begin” in Virginia, wrote Randall. And that’s just one of the states Musk’s Hyperloop tunnel would have to pass through.

The obstacles facing a run-of-the-mill highway, tunnel, or bridge are great enough. Throw in untried and unfamiliar technology and you’re asking for endless delays. Those delays aren’t, however, facts of the natural world. They’re human artifacts. They don’t have to be there. SpaceX and its commercial-spaceflight competitors can experiment because Congress and President Barack Obama agreed to protect them from Federal Aviation Administration standards.

Musk is betting that his salesmanship will have a similar effect on the ground. He’s trying to get the public so excited that the political pressures to allow the Hyperloop to go forward become irresistible. He seems to believe that he can will the permission into being.

If he succeeds, he’ll upend not merely intercity transit but the bureaucratic process by which things get built. That would be a true science-fiction scenario.

From Bloomberg View

HYPERLOOP Release Dates and Other Rumors

Some News from TechRadar

Elon Musk is without a doubt one of the most exciting future-gazers of the moment. He’s working on making domestic space travel a reality with his SpaceX project, and he’s making electric cars cool with Tesla, while with Neuralink he’s looking to get brain-computer interfaces implanted into all of our brains to supplement human intelligence with machine developments. Seriously.

So when he published a white paper on transport (seemingly fueled by rage against the rail system being developed for Los Angeles), the engineering world took notice. The paper was about a ‘new’ method of transportation called Hyperloop, which would make possible human transportation at more than 760 miles per hour.

The hyperloop would manage this feat by transporting us in pods through depressurised tubes, rather like the pneumatic tubes used for transporting mail. Now, this technology obviously isn’t new, and Musk is the first to admit this. In his paper he references the work done by the Rand Corporation and ET3.

The Rand Corporation paper is pretty fascinating, as it was published in 1972, and already refers to this technology as pre-existing. In fact, the idea of passengers being transported using pressure in a tube had been floated as early as 1812. So the idea of “electromagnetically levitated and propelled cars in an evacuated tunnel” has been around for a long time. So why does it only seem to be getting taken seriously now?

Hyperloop: what the tube?

So, it’s 2012, and Elon Musk starts talking about a “fifth mode of transport”, the idea that would eventually become Hyperloop. That fifth comes after cars, boats, trains, and planes.

A year later he publishes a white paper full of ideas about the future of a mode of transport that uses magnetic levitation in a low-pressure tube. What’s quite revolutionary about this move is that he doesn’t seem to hold a single card close to his chest.

The paper is full of schematics and workings. It starts with a very plain-English opening that’s easy to read even if you have no background in technology or engineering. The paper even encourages others to take the lead: “The authors encourage all members of the community to contribute to the Hyperloop design process.”

Hyperloop: how does it work?

The basic principle outlined in Musk’s paper is that the ‘pods’ would levitate using magnetic levitation, or maglev, a technique that uses magnets to ‘float’ the pods and propel them through the tube.

This propulsion raises a couple of issues. First, when you get up to the speeds that would be required in order for Hyperloop to compete with other high-speed transport modes, the air friction in the tunnel would become so great that the heat would damage the pods – and presumably the passengers inside them. Also, the pressure that would build up in front of the vessel would cause the tunnel to rupture.

This problem is solved by making the tunnel a vacuum – but if you have a tunnel that stretches for hundreds of miles, a single rupture would instantly compromise the vacuum and cause the system to fail. This means the best solution is to massively reduce the pressure, but not make the tunnel an actual vacuum.

But the fact that there is pressure in the tube brings back the second issue above; the faster the pod moves, the greater the pressure build-up ahead of it. Image squeezing a tube of toothpaste with the cap still on.

The proposed solution to this is that the front of the pod will have a fan that pushes the air beneath and behind the vessel, which would have the additional benefit of aiding its levitation by creating an air buffer, similar to the technique used in air hockey to levitate the puck.

Turning corners is an interesting issue too, as when you a mode of transport that travels at speeds close to 1,000mph, turning corners creates massive G-forces. For this reason, the tunnels would need to be straight for most of their length.

In Musk’s paper, he imagines that these tubes would be above ground, and sit on pylons, so would take up a similar amount of ground space as a phone pylon. However there now seems to be a plan to use underground tunnels, dug by Musk’s wittily titled The Boring Company.

Going underground does solve the issue of having to have the real-estate above ground, but raises another issue in terms of obtaining the energy to power the system, as in the original white paper part of the plan for powering Hyperloop was to have solar panels that sit on top of the tubes.

And that part of the plan is particularly interesting, as if the sums are right Hyperloop could actually end up creating more energy than it uses.

Hyperloop: who’s making it?


This is where things get interesting, as for most of its existence Hyperloop’s development has been powered by startups. After publishing the white paper, Musk handed over the responsibility by challenging startups to see who could actually bring the technology to market.

The important thing to remember, which admittedly is a little tricky, is that Hyperloop is effectively the name of the product, not the company. Most of the companies have Hyperloop in the title, but there isn’t a company that is Hyperloop.

The two main contenders at the moment are Hyperloop One, and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, with the recent addition of Arrivo, which is chaired by ex-Hyperloop One CTO, and ex-SpaceX engineer Brogan BamBrogan. Yes, that’s actually his name.

On top of this, Musk runs a Hyperloop Challenge, where he welcomes students to his Hyperloop test lab in his SpaceX facility in Las Vegas.

Hyperloop One has approached the problem with a ‘make it and show the world it works first’ mentality, creating a number of different test sites and prototypes to show that the technology is not some pie-in-the-sky dream of Musk’s, but a realistic proposal for an alternative mode of transport.

It’s the first company that’s managed to get the Hyperloop technology working, and is achieving faster times with each test, but not anything close to the remarkable speeds that the mode of transport promises.

We have published the video of its first test, which took place on 12 May 2017. It’s only 24 seconds long, and you need to look closely, but you can see the levitation in action.

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has come at the problem from a slightly different angle.

It was founded by Dick Ahlborn and Bibop Gresta (because apparently everyone who works on the Hyperloop has an amazing name), who issued an interesting call to action. They proposed a crowd-sourcing approach, whereby anyone who worked on the Hyperloop project would get one unit of stock for every hour worked.

That isn’t the end of HTT’s interesting approach to pay. It claims that its Hyperloop technology will be so energy efficient that it will create energy that it will be able to sell. That profit would then be passed on to the user, making Hyperloop free to use.

Mixing things up further, Elon Musk himself has recently announced that his The Boring Company will also be entering the fray. He tweeted that The Boring Company had received “verbal government approval” to dig a Hyperloop tunnel between New York and Washington DC.

When asked by Wired who would be building the Hyperloop system that would use the tunnel, Musk replied “The Boring Company”.

This could potentially cause an upset in the world order of Hyperloop companies; after all, there will presumably be a limited amount of funding and resources that can go into Hyperloop development, and having Musk’s name on a project will undoubtedly be a draw.

Brogan BamBrogan thinks Musk’s decision is a positive one though: “The industry can’t get built by any one company, and to have a heavyweight like Elon put his hat in the ring says a lot of good things,” he says. ”It validates the market and the idea that the tech can create some real value for people.”

Hyperloop: release date

The question on everyone’s lips, of course, is ‘When am I actually going to get to ride the Hyperloop?’ And the answer is… we’re not really sure. It would be easy to look disparagingly at Hyperloop and think that it’s never going to actually see the light of day. But given Musk’s track record of getting projects that seem unrealistic to work, we’re quietly hopeful.

Hyperloop One lists a projected date of 2021 on its website for having “three production systems”, although what that means in terms of working transport is unclear. Hyperloop One chief executive Rob Lloyd has claimed that, following and agreement with Dubai, “from a technological point of view, we could have a Hyperloop One system built in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the next five years”.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean that there will be one in the UAE in the next five years. The project would need to get costed and assessed first, then constructed. It’s a long way off. That said, Hyperloop One is the first company that has managed to run a successful test with an actual pod in a tube.

Interestingly, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies is also setting its sights on the Middle East for its first working vehicle. It has announced that the world’s first working Hyperloop will be in Abu Dhabi. Of course, that claim is dependent on no other company getting there first.

And there’s a very real possibility that, if another company does pip it to the post, Musk himself could be at the helm.

Asked about Musk’s announcement that it would be making a Hyperloop, a spokesperson for The Boring Company said: “[Musk] said at the time [he published the white paper] that he would only seek to commercialize hyperloop if after a few years other companies were not moving quickly enough. While we’re encouraged that others are making some progress, we would like to accelerate the development of this technology as fast as possible.”

Being first? This blog will try and be first with the news!!!

Virginia Railway Express Plans Expansion, But is Hyperloop the Future?

Science fiction seems to be inching closer to reality (at hyper speed, no less) in the form of Elon Musk’s Hyperloop concept.

Hyperloop One, among numerous teams vying to be first to develop the technology, successfully sent its magnetically levitating XP-1 test pod zooming at nearly 200 mph through a 1,640-foot concrete vacuum tube at its Nevada desert test site on July 29. It was the second such test run, following the first one in May, and was a headline-grabber last week.

In Virginia, weekend traffic on Interstate 95 can certainly be as bad as it is on weekdays, especially during the summer.

Would running Virginia Railway Express trains during the weekend help unclog the interstate?

VRE thinks so, and the commuter rail service has an eye on providing weekend service, per its 2040 Long-Range Plan.

Hey, that is 23 years from now!

The plan, approved by VRE’s Operations Board in 2014, says weekend service could average 6,000 passenger trips “on a typical weekend day.”

That could take a lot of cars off the interstate.

It appears that any such expansion will rely on two major projects.

One is the Long Bridge project. The proposal calls for widening the bridge that spans the Potomac River, the only such railroad bridge connecting Virginia to Washington.

The other shoe that would have to drop would be the addition of a third track. It seems the fate of that addition relies on the D.C.-to-Richmond High Speed Rail Line proposal.

Both of those projects are winding through the tortuously long planning and approval process. The Federal Railroad Administration is expected to make a final decision in 2019.

In the meantime, maybe the Hyperloop will become a reality and someone will convince Musk to dig a tunnel from Fredericksburg to D.C. so we can stop fooling around and enjoy an easy trip to the capital and back.Both of those projects are winding through the tortuously long planning and approval process. The Federal Railroad Administration is expected to make a final decision in 2019.

In the meantime, maybe the Hyperloop will become a reality and someone will convince Musk to dig a tunnel from Fredericksburg to D.C. so we can stop fooling around and enjoy an easy trip to the capital and back.

Elon Musk might finally crash the hyperloop development party

Elon Musk might finally be ready to make Hyperloop, the high-speed tubular transportation tech he dreamed up back in 2013, a reality on his own terms

A source “close to Musk” told Bloomberg that the Boring Company CEO will move forward with plans to build his own Hyperloop system inside the underground tunnels planned to beat traffic in LA and the East Coast. The new report is the first claim that Musk will actually build his own Hyperloop track, which could be a blow to the other companies in the field.

Musk recently set the news cycle buzzing when he tweeted out claims that he received “verbal government approval” to build a network of tunnels connecting major cities on the East Coast. He described the tunnels as an “underground Hyperloop,” but didn’t mention who exactly would be providing the tech, which is a key detail because the Boring Company hadn’t shared any plans to build one (aside from a flashy concept video).

The eccentric CEO and serial tweeter famously released his plans for Hyperloop technology to the public in a white paper, but he’s largely stayed out of the race to be the first to build a working version of the system. Musk told reporters at the time that building his own Hyperloop was a “low priority” compared to his responsibilities with SpaceX and Tesla, ceding the work on the technology to companies like Hyperloop One and Hyperloop Transportation Techonologies (HTT).

Musk’s other companies have flourished in the four years since he released the open source design — so his focus might be ready to shift toward developing the “fifth form of transportation.” His reputation for turning his moonshot dreams into successful real world systems, star power as a major CEO, and status as the technology’s original architect to arguably makes the Boring Company the biggest player in the space.

Musk’s entry into the Hyperloop development field comes as a surprise, but there were some signs. He owns the trademark to the name “Hyperloop” through SpaceX, which holds a competition for students to develop new pod designs on the company’s track.

The Boring Company’s spokesperson told us that it’s still happy to play ball with competitors, though, if they play by Musk’s rules.

“While we’re encouraged that others are making some progress, we would like to accelerate the development of this technology as fast as possible,” they said. “We encourage and support all companies that wish to build Hyperloops and we don’t intend to stop them from using the Hyperloop name as long as they are truthful.”

The rep continued, describing the Boring Company plan to outfit the tunnels with next-gen high-speed transportation systems.

“Most will be standard pressurized tunnels with electric skates going 125+ mph,” they wrote. “For long distance routes in straight lines, such as NY to DC, it will make sense to use pressurized pods in a depressurized tunnel to allow speeds up to approximately 600+ mph (aka Hyperloop).”

But Musk has a long way to go, even with all of his accolades. The companies currently working on Hyperloops might not have moved quickly enough for his tastes, but it’s not for lack of effort.

Hyperloop One, which has been hard at work developing its tech in the Nevada desert, recently conducted its first full-scale tests. The company’s prototypes hit speeds of 69 mph and 192 mph in the loop’s vacuum environment, which is welcome progress after a few years of stop-and-go development — but still a far cry from the 750 mph estimates they’re aiming to reach.

HTT, meanwhile, is focusing on building its pod car system before its Hyperloop track, and hasn’t publicly shared much more than design renders.

Time will tell if the Boring Company’s Hyperloop will be the first one to ferry passengers at high speeds IRL, but it’s Musk’s race to lose, now that he’s entered. We might not be getting those tunnels as soon as he’d have some believe — but you probably don’t want to bet against him.

WATCH: Hyperloop One footage shows full-scale pod zooming down at nearly 200 mph

22 reasons the hyperloop and driverless cars don’t mean we don’t need HS2

That Tweet links to Hannan’s Telegraph column, of which this is an excerpt:

Hyperloop may or may not turn out to be viable. Driverless cars almost certainly will: some of them are already in commercial use in the United States. So why is the Government still firehosing money at the rather Seventies idea of high-speed trains?

The short answer is that firehosing money is what governments do.

Well, no, that’s not the only reason is it? I can think of some others. For example:

1. Trains are faster than cars, driverless or otherwise.

2. High speed trains are faster still. Hence the name.

3. The biggest problem with cars as a form of mass transportation isn’t either pollution or the fact you have to do the driving yourself and so can’t do anything else at the same time (problems though those are). The biggest problem is that they’re an inefficient use of limited space. Trains not only move people faster, they take up less room while they do it. So driverless cars, marvellous though they may be, will not render the train redundant.

4. The hyperloop is still unproven, as Hannan himself admits, so the phrase “become a reality” seems just a teensy bit of a fib.

5. Honestly, nobody has ever travelled a single inch by hyperloop.

6. At the moment, like Donald Trump’s Twitter feed, it’s basically one big fever dream backed by an eccentric billionaire.

7. Frankly, I am pretty stunned to see one of Britain’s leading Brexiteers buying into a piece of fantastical utopian nonsense that would require detailed and complex planning to become a reality, but which is actually nothing more than a sketch on the back of a napkin.

8. (That last point was me doing a satire.)

9. Even if it happens one day, a hyperloop pod will carry a tiny fraction of the number of people a train can. So once again Hannan is defeated by his arch nemesis, the laws of space and time.

10. In other words, Hannan’s tweet translates roughly as, “Why is the government spending billions on this transport technology that actually exists, rather than alternatives which don’t, yet, and which won’t solve remotely the same problem anyway?”

11. High speed trains definitely exist. I’m on one now.

12. I really shouldn’t be thinking about either the hyperloop OR Daniel Hannan if I’m honest.

13. I wonder why the French are so much better at high speed trains than the British, and whether their comparative lack of whiny MEPs is a factor?

14. It feels somehow typical that even in a genuinely contentious argument (“Is HS2 really a good use of public money?”) when he has a genuinely good point to make (“The way the cost of major projects spirals during the planning stage is a significant public concern”), he still manages to come up with an argument so fantastically dim that bored transport nerds can spend long train journeys ripping it to shreds.

15. He could have gone with “let’s cancel HS2 and use a fraction of the saving to sort out the northern railway network”, but no.

16. Somehow I suspect he’s not really bothered about transport, he just wants to fight strawman about debt.

17. Also, of course we’re using debt to fund the first new national railway in a hundred years: what else are we going to do?

18. “Unbelievable that at a time when I need new shoes we are borrowing money to buy a house.”

19. Can I go back to my book now?

20. I said I was going to stop this, didn’t I.

21. This is a cry for help.

22. Please, somebody, stage an intervention.

Jonn Elledge is the editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and also has a Facebook page now for some reason.

Elon Musk: I got ‘verbal’ approval for 29-minute NYC-to-DC hyperloop

Billionaire innovator Elon Musk said he has “verbal” government approval to build an ultra-high-speed underground rail system in the Northeast, offering hope to travelers overwhelmed by mass-transit failures despite skepticism about such an ambitious project.

In a series of tweets that might not be taken seriously if they came from any other corporate executive, Musk flummoxed the transportation industry with claims that he is pursuing a network that would whisk passengers from New York City to Washington, D.C. in 29 minutes.

Transit experts say that gargantuan costs and prodigious bureaucratic hurdles would make such a plan extremely difficult to pull off.

I guess our corporation (The Muhammad Ali Hyperlink) plus our record in the rail industry will sort of qualify us as a “transit expert”. We have designed a “HYPERLOOP” that is very “budget conscious”: follows an Interstate highway from Louisville to Gary, Indiana. Did not know a cost-effective tunneling system; so we will switch passengers to the South Shore Railroadand can be called “Louisville to Chicago” HYPERLOOP.

We, or anybody else, involved in HYPERLOOP cannot accurately forecast costs.

No normal bank or investment company even wants to talk to us (yet). Maybe we need a new Chief Financial Officer?

In the meantime, Elon Musk has bit the mayor of Chicago with another “bug”: a tunnel between the two Chicago airports. Last I knew, Chicago had financial problems: had to borrow $$$ each week to pay teacher’s salaries.

Guess we did things backwards: should have invented a self-driving electric car and started a space exploration company before we took on transit projects.

Maybe Musk could rescue the Second Avenue Subway: bore tunnels for the remainder. After all, the original subway from 1904 used tunnels.