Like Twitter, the social network he wanted to buy for $44 billion, Hyperloop will be part of the eccentric billionaire’s debit column. Obviously, this futuristic train that makes the TGV look like a tortillard will never see the light of day. This was not without consequences for the more southwestern regions.
Elon Musk announced his Hyperloop project ten years ago, in July 2012. The originality of this train is that it does not run on rails. It comes in the form of capsules that can carry passengers or goods, which, thanks to electromagnetic propulsion, move under vacuum in an elevated twin tube. Hence the ability to reach a speed of 1500 kilometers per hour.
As crazy as it sounds, the Hyperloop project has attracted many businessmen, especially local elected officials in California, Nevada and Canada. In Haute-Vienne and Toulouse. In 2018, Transpot, a Toronto start-up, chose the village of Troux, near Limoges, to install a 3-kilometre test track on a disused stretch of railway line. His vehicle is said to travel at a speed of 1000 kilometers per hour. The building permit was submitted in August 2018, but, two years later, nothing has changed and even after active denials by Transpot leaders, who received two million euros of regional aid, Covid cannot be solely responsible for it.
72 seconds in Marseille
In September 2021, TransPod’s CEO, Sébastien Gendron, still confirmed that the Hyperloop is not dead and that work is about to begin. English investors were ready to give 500 million euros to the project.
Another company, an American company, undertook a project in Toulouse, the regional capital, far from the DGV. In February 2018, it opened a research center Toulouse Francazel Aerodrome, along with thirty engineers and doctoral students. The planned speed of the train is very modest: 400 to 500 km/h but Toulouse and Montpellier should be connected in 20 minutes. The first test track, 320 meters long, has been laid, raising suspicions from rival boss TransPod that a track of less than a kilometer is too short. Another 1.2 kilometer long track was planned, but in December 2021, the American company announced that it would be scrapped.