1. Butch says

    And a country that won’t even spend money to repair its defective bridges will spring for the infrastructure on something like this. You bet.

  2. V-8 says

    it will be a private venture, I am sure, cutting through whatever nature is left in between destinations… can only imagine the first accidents… sounds cool, but a drive across country is so wonderful…

  3. Tom says

    Oh agree about it having to go private. We all know how functional our Congress here is don’t we?

  4. Moz's says


    not exactl….nothing large scale has EVER in history been a “private” venture let alone just in america

    all large scale ventures throughout history have some sort of collectivist government input if nothing else than lets say the emeperor of rome raising taxes on temples to pay for aquaduct building

    some examples in the US that u might think were private and are technically private owned now were not started as private ventures = railways/ trains/ aviation invented by wright brothers but furthered by US gov involvement and improvement on, electrcity ( think the rural electrical program etc) etc etc etc

    in some way the ideas will have to recieve some sort of collectivist Government intervention if nothing else but tax right offs and low interest loans

  5. Tonez says

    @V-8 they theoretically could just build them above existing train lines where possible. Or replace one completely.

  6. Eric says


    Um, you sure about your history there? I don’t think that’s correct at all.

  7. anon says

    The original NYC subway system was pneumatic too. I don’t see how one can build a tube from NY to CA. How do you handle the need for multiple connections, two-way traffic and break-downs? If you create a vacuum you don’t need mag-lev either.

  8. Joesph Foster says

    This reminds me of the transportation system in Gene Roddenberry’s “Genesis II” and “Planet Earth.” There’s a visionary!

  9. Rexford says

    Hmmmm .. But will gay couples who are considered married in both NY and LA remain married while they’re inside the Hyperloop and traveling across various state lines?

  10. awwwwyeeeea says

    “I’ve sold monorails to Brockway, Ogdenville, and North Haverbrook, and by gum it put them on the map!”

  11. Fancy says

    I love all the science input here from commentors. I’M SURE ELON MUSK NEEDS TO KNOW THESE THINGS. I CAN’T BELIEVE HE HASN’T THOUGHT OF THESE ISSUES.

    As to cost, if you read the article, you’ll notice that it is significantly cheaper than most other proposed methods of high speed travel.

  12. Merv says

    I love stuff like this, but if it were as cheap as they say, it would have already been built.

  13. Joe says

    I think the thing I’d be worried about is what happens if it malfunctions at that rate of speed.

  14. Jere says

    The only way this will ever be feasible is if the ultimate cost of a ticket is reasonable enough that regular people will actually be able to afford to utilize it. If this is built, but tickets coast-to-coast cost $10,000 or more, it’ll just be a novelty for the rich for awhile until they tire of it.

  15. norseman says

    It does sound like Elon Musk might have seen Gene Roddenberry’s “Genesis II” where he envisioned “an elaborate “Subshuttle” subterranean rapid transit system. The Subshuttles utilized a magnetic levitation rail system. They operated inside vactrain tunnels and ran at hundreds of miles per hour. The tunnel network was comprehensive enough to cover the entire globe.”

  16. SRH says

    The earth is a globe. If you cut these as tunnels through the crust you wouldn’t have to follow the curve of the Earth as much and could get closer to a straight line between two points. That would make the distance traveled shorter leading to time and cost savings.

    Keeping the vacuum seal would be an interesting technical hurdle.

  17. keating says

    Nobody reading this site will be alive when such a project is actually completed. It’s taken years just to correct the WiFi on the Acela “fast” trains. “Jetson”-like visions take forever to complete in a society as politically dysfunctional as ours.

  18. Bill says

    First, there is a well-known text-book physics
    problem where you calculate the time it would take
    to go through a tunnel (no friction so it is a vacuum) connecting two points on the surface of the earth at sea level and treating the earth as a non-rotating sphere with uniform density. You drop something into the tunnel and use the earth’s gravity alone. What you find is that the time it takes is the same regardless of starting point and destination.

    Now the bad news. First, it gets hotter the deeper you go below the earth’s surface, so there’s an obvious safety issue if this were taken to extremes. Second your sideways acceleration when going around a curve is proportional to the square of your velocity and inversely proportional to your turning radius (the radius of curvature of your path). Third, you have to control the radius of curvature carefully under all circumstances, including a major earthquake.

    It could not be build by our government – as a public works project, it would be designed not by engineers but by senators, each of whom would want to make sure key areas in his/her state get top billing.

  19. keef says

    guys the new thought is a cross between the concorde, railgun, and air-hockey…

    I’d imagine the concorde part being supersonic, the railgun is electromagnetic acceleration (NOT LEVITATION)… that would come from the air-hockey part..
    so there would be no need for a vacuum, which is the major hurdle for a system this size.

    seems doable, if only for underwater tunneling.

  20. UFFDA says

    Our own Andy shines by including this kind of thing, and his other science/geek/new world stuff. Makes this site exceptional, despite KIWI.

  21. Bill says

    @keef: at 3000 mph, the minimum radius of curvature you can have is 2500 times higher than at 60 mph. That’s in any direction.Plus it has to stay that straight in a major earthquake.

    BTW, there is a passive maglev technology called Inductrack (see ) that was developed at Lawrence Livermore Laboratories. You can see a video of an attempt to commercialize it at . It consists of coils of wires on a track and permanent magnets on the vehicle, making it very reliable. It was originally developed to make very low friction bearings and the bearing simply was “unwound” to get a track.

    You can’t do this with permanent magnets alone – there is no stable configuration. The trick was in using induction. has a technical article.

    They would probably use something like this to support the vehicles.

  22. Jacknasty says

    Maintaining an airtight vacuum tube cross-country wouldn’t be all that much of a technical challenge – we already pump natural gas cross country.

    The massive time savings a system like this would result in is what will push its development. With supersonic airliners a non-starter, this is the only alternative (and it’s substantially faster, too). There are a lot of millionaires and billionaires who would love to get from LA to NY in an hour or two (or NY to London, which might also be possible with a tube floating underwater).

  23. says

    awesome but sorry I do not believe a land transportation device can go 3000 miles an hour! which is necessary to go from NY to LA in the time so indicated. to have a 3000 mile vacuum would require constant energy.

  24. says

    awesome but sorry I do not believe a land transportation device can go 3000 miles an hour! which is necessary to go from NY to LA in the time so indicated. to have a 3000 mile vacuum would require constant energy.

  25. says

    Maintaining a total vacuum is wiped out with one hole in the structure. Compromising the vacuum almost immediately. A dozen situations, whether natural disasters, man-made errors in judgement could easily crack or break a structure like this. Imagine the consequences!
    Add to this the massive cost of maintaining the vacuum for thousands of miles of vacuum tube and you’re left with a very costly proposition. What about land acquisition ?!