Hyperloop One has big plans for Europe. At a press conference in Amsterdam on Tuesday, the company detailed plans to bring Elon Musk’s 700-mile-per-hour transport idea to life, with nine route ideas under active consideration as part of a wider global design competition.
“Hyperloop One will offer Europe’s transport grid with an option that is more efficient, greener, on-demand and faster,” said Rob Lloyd, Chief Executive Officer of Hyperloop One, at the company’s event. “We’ve seen a lot of interest here, and we look forward to creating a partnership to enhance the continent’s transport infrastructure.”
The system, which propels pods through a vacuum-sealed tube, has not yet been employed in a publicly available setting yet, but Hyperloop One claims to be the only company in the world with a fully functional test track, the DevLoop in the Nevada desert.
The company’s ultimate goal is to bring three systems into service by the year 2021, but it has even grander plans further down the line. Eventually, it wants to connect the entire European continent with a single hyperloop network, enabling unbelievably fast travel in the blink of an eye.
The design competition started in May 2016, and the company received 2,600 ideas. That’s been whittled down to just 35 semifinalists now, and the eventual winner (or winners) will receive a feasibility study to bring their ideas to life. Here’s the nine hyperloop routes under consideration in Europe:
This closed-loop route covers 1,991 km (1,237 miles), supports both passengers and cargo, and connects up Germany’s major population centers. If realized, it would be a powerhouse loop of commerce for the European Union’s most populous country. A trip from Hamburg to Berlin would take 3 hours 20 minutes by car, or 1 hour 50 minutes by train, but with Hyperloop it takes just 20 minutes.
It starts at Hamburg, the 15th largest container port in the world. The next stop is the capital, Berlin, before moving onto Leipzig. The next stop, Nuremberg, generates around the same economic output as the Czech Republic.
The route then moves through Munich, capital of Bavaria, then Stuttgart, and then Frankfurt, home to Germany’s largest airport. The next stop, Cologne, has over 1,300 daily trains stopping, that move all around Europe. Finally, the route loops back to Hamburg.
The whole route is designed to sit on top of Germany’s highway system, so there would be less need to acquire land.
Scotland to Wales
This route covers 1,060 km (659 miles), supports both passengers and cargo, and connects through existing motorways and railways. It would change how people consider opportunities in the area, expanding employment nationally. A trip from London to Glasgow would take 7 hours 20 minutes by car, 4 hours 40 minutes by train, or 1 hour 15 minutes by plane. With Hyperloop, it takes just 1 hour 3 minutes.
The route starts at Glasgow, a tourism hotspot, before moving on to the Scottish capital of Edinburgh. It then stops at Newcastle before moving onto Nottingham, where almost 40 percent do not own a car. It then visits Cambridge, London, and Oxford, the three cities that host some of the country’s best universities. Then it moves onto Bristol before stopping at the Welsh capital of Cardiff.
Glasgow to Liverpool
This is a 545 km (339 mile) route for both passengers and cargo, which could become an international gateway for freight. A trip from Newcastle to Leeds would take 1 hour 53 minutes by car, or 1 hour 30 minutes by train. With Hyperloop, it takes just 13 minutes.
The route connects up Scotland’s central belt through Glasgow, then Edinburgh, and then enters England at Newcastle. The next stop, Leeds, is close to the Humber Ports, where almost a quarter of all England’s cargo passes through. The next two stops, Manchester and Leeds, sit at the heart of northern England’s economy.
Edinburgh to London
This is a 666 km (414 mile) route for only passengers. It connects the south of the United Kingdom to the north, and aims to reduce inequality by making opportunities more accessible. This route has just four stops: Edinburgh, Manchester, Birmingham, and London, running along the backbone of the island.
This low number of stops means a speedy trip from north to south: a trip from Edinburgh to London would take 8 hours by car, 5 hours by train, or 1 hour 20 minutes by plane. With Hyperloop, it takes just 50 minutes.
Corsica to Sardinia
This 451 km (280 mile) route is for both passengers and cargo, and aims to connect the islands of Corsica and Sardinia into a single Mediterranean entity.
This route would make it easier than ever before to transport cargo between islands and boost the tourism sector. A trip from Oristano to Cagliari, both in Sardinia, would take 1 hour 10 minutes by car or 1 hour by train. With Hyperloop, it takes just 8 minutes.
Spain to Morocco
This system aims to link the continents of Europe and Africa across the Strait of Gibraltar. It’s a 629 km (391 mile) system for both passengers and cargo. It starts in the Spanish capital of Madrid before traveling down to the port of Algeciras. It then crosses the strait and emerges at Tangier.
Although its cross-continental feature is its most eye-catching, it could also transform Spain. A trip from Madrid to Algeciras would take 6 hours 20 minutes by car, 5 hours 20 minutes by train, or 1 hour 15 minutes by plane. With Hyperloop, it would take 42 minutes.
This route covers 415 km (258 miles) and supports both passengers and cargo. It’s aimed at drastically reducing time between the major cities. It would be well-needed: Poland’s rail infrastructure ranks 20th out of 26 European Union countries.
The route starts at the capital, Warsaw, then moves on to Skierniewice, then the city of Łódź, Poland’s third largest city. It then visits Sieradz, then Oleśnica, home to some of the country’s most beautiful castles. The final stop, Wrocław, is the largest city in western Poland.
A trip from Warsaw to Wrocław would take 3 hours 20 minutes by car, 3 hours 40 minutes by train, or 1 hour by plane. With Hyperloop, it would take 37 minutes.
This closed loop route covers 428 km (266 miles) with both passengers and cargo. It links up the country’s major airports into a giant loop: A trip from Amsterdam to Rotterdam would take 1 hour 15 minutes by car, or 40 minutes by train. With Hyperloop, it would take just 7 minutes.
Estonia to Finland
This route, stretching 90 km (56 miles), doesn’t sound too ambitious, but it would dramatically alter the local economies of neighboring countries. It runs the shortest distance, along the seabed of the gulf of Finland, and would connect with the Rail Baltica corridor that runs across the Baltic states and Central Europe.
Currently, the route between the Finnish capital of Helsinki and the Estonian capital of Tallinn takes a while. By boat, it’s around 2 hours, and by plane it takes 35 minutes. A Hyperloop track would reduce these times to just 8 minutes.