Elon Musk's vision of a supersonic railway is about to take a step closer to reality, as construction of the 800mph Hyperloop is set to begin within weeks. A five-mile test track will be built around Quay Valley, a new community in Kings County, California.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) is one of two Los Angeles-based companies who intend to produce the passenger system, which was first revealed by a white paper written by Musk in 2013. Already CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, Musk said he doesn't have the time to work on Hyperloop himself.
Quay Valley is a proposed 75,000-resident community which will be solar powered and situated halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles. HTT says it will start surveying land close to Quay Valley in the coming few weeks over February and March, with construction set to begin in the middle of 2016. The route will be open to the public in 2018, HTT says.
Dirk Ahlborn, chief executive officer of HTT, said: "After over two and a half years of research and development our team has reached another important milestone. This will be the world's first passenger-ready Hyperloop system. Everyone traveling on California's I-5 in 2016 will be able to see our activity from the freeway."
The 760mph Hyperloop system is a railway which uses electricity to drive a train through a tunnel with its air removed, creating a low-friction vacuum and allowing for much higher speeds than on regular railways. HTT has nearly 500 staff working on the project, which it claims will be developed "rapidly" and "generate sustainable profitability, unlike most other transportation modalities."
In late January, Musk's SpaceX rocket making company will host a two-day Hyperloop pod design competition at Texas A&M University. Hundreds of school and college students will submit designs, with the winner getting $50,000 (£35,000) and a chance to work with SpaceX and Hyperloop Technologies, the other company also working on the Hyperloop train.
Hyperloop Technologies, also based in Los Angeles and not to be confused with Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, mentioned above, recently acquired 50 acres of land in North Las Vegas, where it will be building a test track of its own.