What is Elon Musk’s Hyperloop and is it the future of train travel?

Dan and Bex investigate!

In our latest podcast series, Bex and Dan are thinking about how some cool new technology could help trains of the future!

As Britain’s railway networks grow, there’s going to be more and more passengers on the railways. so we need to find a ton of clever ways to fit everyone on.

Getting rid of bottlenecks, new faster trains, and all the cool technology are just a few suggestions.

Let’s look at some more!

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Whilst it sounds like something from a science fiction movie, HYPERLOOP is a real concept and engineers are working to make it a reality.

Here’s how it works…

A hyperloop network would use a sealed tube or system of tubes, which could be in tunnels or on columns above ground or both.

Passengers and freight would be carried in dedicated carriages.

Once loaded, the carriages would accelerate gradually, propelled by electricity through the low-pressure tubes.

The carriages float above the track using magnetic levitation and glide at the same speed as you would on a plane – that’s up to seven HUNDRED miles an hour. Because it doesn’t touch the track, friction won’t slow things down.

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The technology would be fully autonomous without a need for a driver, and being in tubes would mean that journeys aren’t affected by the weather.

It’s thought that Hyperloop systems will be kinder to the environment with a smaller engineering footprint.

Your carriage wouldn’t need to stop at different stations along the way – you travel direct to your destination – just like you do when you are on a direct flight.

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Now, whilst Hyperloop is currently only a concept, Maglev trains are already a reality.

Maglev stands for Magnetic Levitation, and it moves vehicles without making contact with either the ground or an electrical pickup – Maglev trains float on a cushion of air.

Carriages travel along a guideway using magnets to control stability and creating propulsion and lift.

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The big difference between a Maglev a conventional train is that Maglev trains do not have an engine – at least not the kind of engine used to propel a conventional train along steel tracks.

The Maglev engine is rather inconspicuous, and uses a magnetic field created by electrified coils in the guideway walls and the track to propel it along.

Maglev trains need special tracks and these are very expensive to build. Whilst they won’t be as fast as the Hyperloop, Maglev trains can go in excess of three hundred miles an hour – and that would certainly speed up journey times!


Find out more about Britain’s railways!

Bex and Dan from Fun Kids learn all about the future of Britain’s railways, from signals to trains and tracks, in this new podcast series!

Click here to find out more!

Kids Guide to Trains: Britain's Digital Railways

Bex and Dan learn all about the future of Britain's railways, from signals to trains and tracks!

 

Explore all the free Fun Kids podcasts!

Download a series to listen to on your phone, tablet or in the car!

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Britain’s Digital Railways, in association with the Royal Academy of Engineering Ingenious scheme

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