It connects the major cities of France at speeds of up to 200 mph (320 km/h).
All TGV trains are equipped with a food carriage, a free WiFi connection, power sockets and fold-down tables.
On a recent trip to Marseille (3 1/2 hours), I glanced at my glass of red wine, sitting on my table. Not a single ripple, though we were cruising faster than 300 km/h.
Well now imagine a Dutch hyperloop travelling twice as fast, that could get you from Amsterdam to Paris, in just 90 minutes?
Swifter than trains, safer than cars and far less damaging to the environment than planes, the Dutch province of North Holland believes the hyperloop might be the future, The Guardian reported.
In fact, plans are being drawn up for Amsterdam to be connected to other European cities by the futuristic high-speed mode of transportation comprising a magnetic hovertrain in an air-free tube able to travel at speeds of over 600 mph due to the lack of friction and drag, the Guardian reported.
A study carried out by a Dutch technology startup, Hardt Hyperloop, has found the hyperloop could reduce commuting times from Amsterdam to Paris, Brussels, Düsseldorf or Frankfurt from “hours to minutes,” boasting that “borders would, quite literally, become blurred.”
In a post-Covid world, commuters stepping into a hyperloop pod in Amsterdam could arrive in Brussels in under 30 minutes or in Paris in 90 minutes rather than the current three and half hours, the Guardian reported.
In addition, the practicality of the hyperloop has been questioned ever since the entrepreneur Elon Musk suggested back in 2013 that the aerodynamic pods could be the future of high-speed travel for passengers and freight.
Questions have been raised about its value for money, with critics adamant that incremental changes to current transport are a better bet than inventing a fifth mode to join cars, trains, boats and planes, the Guardian reported.
But Jeroen Olthof, the deputy responsible for mobility in North Holland, said he had been impressed by the possibility of creating a “compact region” of five European cities in which commuters could travel door-to-door within an hour.
Economic modelling published recently suggests such time-savings would deliver an additional €275 billion in GDP for the province, equating to growth of 121%, the Guardian reported.
Not only would Amsterdam be served by a larger workforce but the drop in demand for short-haul flights from Schiphol airport could lead to a reduction of about 20,000 to 24,000 aircraft movements, it is claimed.
Since the hyperloop would be powered by electricity instead of jet fuel, the reduction in local carbon emissions would be substantial, Clean Technica reported.
Olthof said: “We know that people are willing to travel from door to door for up to one hour for their work. With such a super-fast hyperloop, it suddenly becomes possible to travel much longer commuting distances. That sounds promising.
“That is why we are going to consult with other authorities and parties to continue this research.”
Hardt Hyperloop, which was founded after winning the international hyperloop competition organized by Musk in 2017, is partnering with companies including Tata Steel on the project, the Guardian reported.
A first high-speed test facility is being built in the Dutch province of Groningen with a three kilometre test track, making it the first in Europe of its kind. A 30 metre low-speed test tunnel has already been built in Delft.
The key to the hyperloop concept is depressurizing the tubes the pods pass through to decrease wind resistance as much as possible, Clean Technica reported.
Doing that reliably over distances of hundreds of miles reliably 24 hours a day is a daunting task. That doesn’t mean it can’t be done, but the engineering challenges are enormous, and the reality of a hyperloop may be decades away.