MELBOURNE, Oct. 4 (Xinhua) — Australia could soon have its own 1,000-kilometer per hour train running from Melbourne to Sydney.
The U.S. company which has developed a futuristic high-speed rail link has identified Australia and the route between its two largest cities as an ideal etc etc etc (think we need a bridging par between intro and Elon Musk ....)
Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla and SpaceX, could pioneer his Hyperloop project, a futuristic high-speed rail, in Australia.
Musk released the blueprint of his idea in 2013 to competing firms hoping that one would be able to bring his idea to life while he continued to work on Tesla's self-driving cars and SpaceX' s Falcon 9 rocket.
Alan James, the vice-president of Hyperloop One, a Los Angeles- based firm which has publicly demonstrated the most promising concept for the rail network yet, said the Melbourne to Sydney corridor is amongst the company's top preferences for testing.
"We're very keen to explore the potential for doing proof of operations in Australia and the reason for that is there's a clear long-term need for ultra-fast transport on the Australian east coast," James told News Limited on Tuesday.
"Melbourne to Sydney is the third busiest air corridor in the world and we can give you Melbourne downtown to Sydney downtown in 55 minutes.
"So we would be looking, either in New South Wales (NSW) or Victoria, or possibly the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), to develop the first section of that route, to prove the operation of Hyperloop, to get regulatory approval."
James said that Australia never having had an attempt to build a high-speed train makes it a perfect candidate for Hyperloop, which he said could be operational by 2017.
"There's no sunken investment in high-speed rail and nobody has yet committed themselves to that technology, so the field is open for a better and more strategic solution," he said.
"We will have it fully operational at full scale at our test site in the Nevada desert in the first quarter of 2017.
"This is not a ten years away story', this is not a five years away story', and literally months from now the world will be able to touch, smell and see an operational Hyperloop."
Victoria's Minister for Trade, Innovation and Small Business, Philip Dalidakis, did not share James' optimism for the project being operational in such a short time frame.
"I think with a project this size and scale you'd have to involve federal government in it. Nearly every piece of major infrastructure, especially transport, has at some stage received significant funding from the government," Dalidakis told News Limited.
"I think Hyperloop has extraordinary potential but at the same time I think we're still a few years away from looking at the technology in a meaningful way."
Musk has already moved to get students involved in the project, introducing the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod competition, which has drawn entries from 1000 applicants, only one of which from the southern hemisphere, VicHyper, remains in contention.
Zac McClelland, a Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) student and leader of the VicHyper team, said he is hopeful that his team's prototype will win the competition, decided by which pod achieves the highest speed.
"Our team is now up to 28 people and we've just finished the design and we're about to start building it," McClelland told News Limited on Tuesday.
"We'll have a three meter long prototype we'll transport to Los Angeles and test on a specially designed test track there.
"We have all the resources to build this; the expertise, the people, the minerals.
"Hyperloop will happen. It'll revolutionize the way we travel. I can't wait to see Hyperloop in Australia."