Construction of a futuristic railway called the Hyperloop — the brainchild of Tesla CEO Elon Musk — will begin next May near Los Angeles, Tech Insider reported on Thursday.
The five-mile test track will resemble a giant pipeline through which missile-shaped, pressurized trains will shoot at 500-plus miles per hour on an air cushion driven by air compressors. See renderings of the tube-shaped system here.
Musk is not involved in the building; California company Hyperloop Transportation Technologies is working with engineering-design firm AECOM, California architecture company Hodgetts & Fung, and Swiss Technology business Oerlikon. HTT reported Thursday the core team working on the project has now exceeded 400 professionals.
Critics doubt that mass adoption of the Hyperloop will occur any time soon, given the scarcity and high price of the land that would be needed in and around major urban centers.
But if a massive, privately funded infrastructure were to be created to support Musk’s model, it would create a new, high-tech sector in the construction industry that could employ tens of thousands for decades.
For now, the five-mile prototype is slated to board passengers by 2018, according to Tech Insider. But the first full-blown model is likely to materialize in Asia or Africa, where land is easier to secure.
If it makes its way to the U.S., likely routes would be between Los Angeles and San Francisco, a six- to eight-hour ride by car that would whittle to 30 minutes via Hyperloop; between New York and Washington, a 21-minute trip at 583 mph; and other often-traveled destinations.