PITTSBURGH — It's fast and like a blast from the future. Hyperloop One is the high-speed train that can get someone from Pittsburgh to Chicago in 47 minutes. The project keeps moving closer to reality.
"Most people are enthusiastic in getting from Pittsburgh to Columbus in under 20 minutes, or Chicago from Pittsburgh or other places in such a short time," said William Murdock of the Ohio Regional Planning Commission.
Murdock touted the benefits of Hyperloop on Capitol Hill in June. He's also the executive director of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission, the group working with Virgin Hyperloop One to develop the first commercial route in the country.
"We've been working with our friends in Pittsburgh and Columbus all the way to Chicago to study things like right-of-way, safety, costs and that information we will have once our studies are done by about the middle of to late summer," Murdock added.
In 2018, Target 11's Rick Earle traveled to Las Vegas for an exclusive tour of the world's first Hyperloop test track.
It involves an electric spaceship-like pod that rides on a bed of air hurdles through a steel tube. The technology uses magnetic levitation and a system of vacuums to remove the air from the tube so they can reach speeds of up to 600 miles per hour. The company still hasn't tested the pod with a person inside.
We caught up with Virgin Hyperloop One CEO Jay Walder at an open house for members of Congress in Washington, DC.
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"We've run over 400 tests on it already and in this 500 yards we've built in the Nevada desert, we've already got it going up to 240 miles per hour, which is pretty incredible. I think you'll see people riding on Hyperloop before long," Walder said.
Walder added communities all over the country are lining up for Hyperloop, which the company states could easily be built on highways or railroad right of ways.
"What's happening is a groundswell of support which is coming from the state levels up, where people are saying, 'We really want to see something different,'" Walder said.
Earlier this year, the federal government created a new council to study new technologies, like Hyperloop.
Murdock stressed Ohio wants to be on the cutting edge.
"When you think of the opportunity, you live in Columbus and you could work in Pittsburgh. If you live in Chicago, you could work in Columbus. The opportunity to almost commute between those cities becomes really powerful, not just for travel or fun, but for jobs, commerce, access to medical care and that kind of stuff. It could really change the whole dynamic," Murdock said.
Virgin Hyperloop One is planning more informational stops in Ohio, Texas and Missouri later this summer. The company may also add Pittsburgh.
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