Sustainability: TU Delft students claim hyperloop milestone: first track switch

Students from TU Delft have advanced the development of the hyperloop by successfully having their prototype switch tracks. According to the student team, this has not been demonstrated anywhere else in the world.


The students have constructed a 42-metre test track on the Delft campus. Within this steel structure, their small, unmanned version of the hyperloop floats, which they tout as a promising means of future long-distance, high-speed travel. They have recently tested their track switching system.
Hyperloops float using electromagnetism within vacuum tubes. The capsules do not touch the tubes, and the artificial vacuum means there is almost no air resistance. This allows the ‘vacuum train’ to travel very quickly with relatively little energy. Developers worldwide are aiming for aircraft-like speeds of about 1000 kilometres per hour.

Realistically Close

The test model from the Delft students does not travel nearly as fast, but the new technique they have demonstrated on a small scale could be useful for creating real passenger hyperloops. “Thanks to this innovation, the hyperloop can make a switch to another track while floating, bringing the realisation closer,” they say. Track switches are, according to the team, “crucial” for further development of the transportation system. A track switch enables a network with multiple branches.

Team captain Cem Celikbas sees many advantages of hyperloops as a sustainable alternative to relatively short flights, for instance within Europe. The transportation system could reduce travel time to Paris to half an hour, which is faster than flying. “You also spend less money on your journey, as relatively short flights are becoming more expensive due to emissions.” The hyperloop does not require fossil fuels; the system runs on electricity, which can be sustainably generated.

Schiphol as a Hyperloop Station

Even for Schiphol, the student team sees advantages: what is currently an airport could “sustainably expand” with the addition of a hyperloop station.

The students believe that by around 2030, it should be possible to test the track switch with an upscaled hyperloop carrying passengers.

(Source: Zakenreisnieuws)

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