A hyperloop is a pod carrying people or freight that can travel efficiently through a sealed tube or system of tubes without air resistance or friction at a high speed. Elon Musk developed the concept for Tesla and SpaceX and in 2013 published the idea of The Hyperloop Alpha which would connect Los Angeles to the San Francisco area in 35 minutes at a speed of 1,200 km/h using pressurized capsules riding on air bearings driven by linear induction motors and axial compressors in reduced-pressure tubes.
The idea of a hyperloop has been made public and other companies have been encouraged to explore and research the concept. While criticized by some as expensive and unrealistic, hyperloops are a hot topic globally, and France’s startup project Spacetrain is no exception.
Launched in 2017 by the entrepreneur Emeuric Gleizes, Spacetrain is an autonomous shuttle that would connect Paris to Le Havre in 17 to 20 minutes running on air cushions on an inverted « t » monorail with a capacity of up to 250 passengers. The Spacetrain claims an average speed of 500 km/h and the objective is to launch a test prototype by 2020 and commercialize by 2025. While Gleizes is enthusiastic and positive about the project, a quick look at their website reveals a few figures and photos, and a lot of empty space. The future will tell if it will become a reality in 2020 or if the Spacetrain will remain a dream.