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Tube Transportation History

History

1900

19th Century – Pneumatic tube systems

19th Century – Pneumatic tube systems
In 1867 at the American Institute Fair in New York, Alfred Ely Beach demonstrated a 30 m long and 1.8 m diameter pipe that was capable of moving 12 passengers.

 

Then in 1869, the Beach Pneumatic Transit Company of New York secretly constructed a 95 m long and 2.7m diameter pneumatic subway line under Broadway, to demonstrate the possibilities of the new transport mode.
1910

1910s

1910s

Vacuum trains were first described by American rocket pioneer Robert Goddard in 1904 and then the first model was built by Russian professor Boris Weinberg in 1909.

 

1997

1997 – ET3

1997 – ET3
Global transportation concept using passenger capsules in frictionless maglev full-vacuum tubes.

 

The objective of ET3 is to license the technology to potential builders. As of 2016, more than 380 licenses have been sold in 22 different countries, including China, where ET3 claims that more than a dozen licenses have been sold.
2000

2000s – Swissmetro

2000s – Swissmetro
Swissmetro was a futuristic Swiss national transportation project using vactrain technology. It was put forward by Marcel Jufer of the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne.

 

The company Swissmetro SA went into liquidation the 20 November 2009 because of a lack of support. Based on high-speed maglev trains traveling in low-pressure tunnels, the speeds would have been about 500 kilometers per hour.
2011

2011 – Korean Railroad Research Institute – Hyper Tube

2011 – Korean Railroad Research Institute – Hyper Tube

Since 2011, the KRRI is developing a train-like public transport concept that is almost as fast as the speed of sound reaching 1,000km/h called Hyper Tube.

The KRRI belongs to Korea’s Ministry of Science, ICT, and future planning. They have more than 500 employees working on railroad safety, high-speed railroad, green and metropolitan transportation.

 

2013

2013 – Elon Musk – Hyperloop

2013 – Elon Musk – Hyperloop

In 2013, Entrepreneur Elon Musk introduces the hyperloop concept through the release of the alpha document.
 
An initial design was published to describe the different functions, pathways, and costs of a hyperloop system. According to the alpha document, pods would accelerate to cruising speed gradually using a linear electric motor and glide above their track on air bearings. Pods would travel through tubes above ground on columns or below ground in tunnels depending on the geography of the line and to avoid grade crossing.

2014

2014 – First hyperloop companies

2014 – First hyperloop companies

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, also known as HyperloopTT, is an American research company formed using a crowd collaboration approach (a mix of team collaboration and crowdsourcing) to develop a transportation system based on the hyperloop concept, which was envisioned by Elon Musk in 2013.

 

Virgin Hyperloop One (formerly Hyperloop Technologies and Hyperloop One) is an American transportation technology company that works to commercialize the high-speed technology concept called the hyperloop. The company was established on June 1, 2014, and reorganized and renamed on October 12, 2017.

2015

2015 – TransPod

2015 – TransPod

In 2015, TransPod is founded by Sebastien Gendron, a former engineer from the aerospace industry, and Dr. Ryan Janzen, a physicist from the University of Toronto.
 
The TransPod tube system is distinct from the hyperloop concept proposed by Elon Musk’s Hyperloop Alpha white paper. Unlike hyperloop, the TransPod system uses moving electromagnetic fields to propel the vehicles with stable levitation off the bottom surface, rather than compressed air. The technology is located on the pod rather than on the infrastructure to keep the infrastructure cost as low as possible to have a better business case.

2017

2017 – SpaceX competition and other companies

2017 – SpaceX competition and other companies

Further to Elon Musk’s initiative to promote the hyperloop concept through a yearly university competition, 3 student teams decided to start their own start-ups after participating in the event. There are now 3 additional European companies developing tube transportation technology:

    1. Zeleros from Spain.
    2. Hardt Hyperloop from the Netherlands
    3. Hyper-Poland from Poland

In 2018, they signed a partnership with TransPod to establish a common approach towards regulation with the European Union.

2020

2020 – TransPod technology demonstrator

2020 – TransPod technology demonstrator
TransPod is developing a new tube transportation technology and is positioning itself beyond the “hyperloop” concept as introduced by SpaceX, as well as competing designs currently under development. TransPod’s patented innovations greatly improve the efficiency of the system while considerably reducing the cost of building a line.

 

After having tested the sub-systems through computer-aided simulations and laboratory prototypes, the TransPod team are now ready to begin a series of physical tests on the entire integrated system and showcase a technology demonstrator to explain how the TransPod system works.