Hopes that the Hyperloop travel concept could work for Britain are vanishing faster than you can say “Concorde crossed with a rail gun crossed with an air hockey table”.
Transport-watchers were quick to point out the practical flaws in the ambitious pod-cum-monorail idea set out by billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk to much hullabaloo on Monday night.
“For medium-length journeys such as London to Scotland it could be feasible, but the cost of security checks is likely to undermine this,” said the IEA transport expert Dr Richard Wellings, who thinks that the project nevertheless casts doubt on the technology behind Britain’s HS2 plans.
Transport author and prospective London mayoral candidate Christian Wolmar said the idea of a vacuum-based rail service has been mooted as far back as the 1840s, but that Hyperloop “seems like quite a small improvement for a very high capital investment”.
Then there’s the issue of its name. Hyperloop is already trademarked in Europe – to the cycling company Shimano, for use on fishing equipment.
Disappointed fans of futuristic travel can console themselves with the news that New Zealand yesterday approved manned test flights for commercial jetpacks.
Martin Aircraft hopes to offer the devices to customers from next year. The jetpacks are a snip at £160,000, compared to $6bn for Hyperloop.