Imagine travelling from Chennai to Bengaluru in the time it takes you to walk to your grocery store and back, or covering the distance from Bengaluru to Mumbai in about an hour or so. That’s less time than it takes to get from one part of Mumbai to another.
The fact is that the Indian government has been approached by Hyperloop Transportation Technologies (HTT) in order to build a super-high-speed transport line between Bengaluru and Chennai. It is obviously inspired by the Hyperloop concept that Elon Musk shared in 2013. He described it as a cross between a Concorde, a rail gun and an air hockey table, all combined into one.
Tubes connect distant locations and contain transport pods that carry people. Air resistance for the pods is minimised in the tubes as they will be maintained at extremely low pressures. This makes it energy efficient and allows the pods to travel at almost the speed of sound.
Prefabricated tubes will be hoisted on earthquake-proof pylons which ideally make them immune to weather and ground conditions. It also makes construction economical as this negates the need for tunnels. The pods will be propelled by a system of solar powered magnets that make it an extremely energy efficient form of transport.
While the project sounds simple, it could take a decade before the plan gathers steam. It is likely that the high-speed transport programme will get bogged down with procedural delays, paperwork and government sanctions.
Ticket prices could be a subject of dispute. The government will ideally want to keep it as low as possible (like a bus ticket) but this could render the project unviable. If it does get executed, long distance travel will be revolutionised in India.