The idea of Hyperloop’s ultra-fast transport infrastructure has so far degenerated into Elon Musk’s The Boring Company underground tunnel system and completely collapsed in the performance of Richard Branson’s Hyperloop One. However, the Chinese aren’t forgetting it. China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC), which was able to take up this matter, demonstrates the forces and means that were used in this direction. The first tests are already over!
CASIC created a hyperloop test station in Datong, Shanxi Province. The first stage features 2km of pipe and all equipment. Three tests were already performed at the facility. The last was on January 14th. A full-scale prototype passenger capsule flew through a tube at a speed 50 km/h.
Future plans call for the experimental line to be extended to 60 km to enable prototype vehicles to be tested at speeds exceeding 1000 km/h. Chinese commentators claim that CASIC’s hyperloop focus means that they are interested in dual-use technologies. These include supersonic propulsion and superconducting magnetics. There will also be military applications for many of these technologies.
China is also interested high-speed infrastructure. Transporting maglevs in pipes with extremely rarefied gas will result in speed and high energy efficiency. This is not possible for conventional rail transport. Trains in China travel at 350 km/h. Modernization of rolling stock and tracks promises to increase speed to 400 km/h in 2025. However, radical changes will only occur after the hyperloop network is created, if it ever happens.