The train of the future?
The train of the future?iStock

Traversing hundreds of miles in less than half an hour sounds like science fiction, but lately more and more companies are trying to produce the future train that will turn long transit hours into history.

Precisely while Israel Railways is disabled, it is worth exploring the possibilities of future transport.

Already about 7 years ago, billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk announced his vision of building a train system that would be faster than any other vehicle. Musk, who is responsible, among other things, for projects such as PayPal payments service and Space X that plans to go to Mars, is known for inventing new things and implementing them himself.

The innovative train he called "Hyperloop" is designed to operate within a pipeline with ideal conditions for train travel. According to the plan, the tube will have negative (vacuum-like) air pressure to reduce friction with the air, which is one of the major causes slowing trains. In addition, magnetic forces acting on the train will make it "hover" lightly over the rails, allowing the train to travel at extremely high speeds and at even cheaper cost than a regular train ride.

Following Musk's statement, competing companies around the world began to develop the first Hyperloop train. For example, in Dubai, a 140-kilometer Hyperloop line between Dubai and Abu Dhabi which is suppoed to bring travelers at 1,200 mph, does the trip in just 12 minutes. Similar ventures were launched in India and the U.S. and there was even a thought to open a line in Israel between Tel Aviv and Eilat.

One of the major difficulties in developing the Hyperloop is precisely because of the speed and lack of friction in the pipeline, which can create difficulties in the ability to slow down the speeding cars. Another difficulty could be in creating the huge vacuum tube in which the Hyperloop travels, when it is uncertain how such air pressure can be maintained for many kilometers.

According to the original plan, construction of India's first Hyperloop train is scheduled to be completed this year, but that construction is likely to be delayed at least a year, and it is not yet clear what speed it will be able to reach. But whether Musk's utopian vision is fully or partially fulfilled, the Hyperloop is likely to change the future of transportation.