We didn't use up our 'Skill Bar' in 1976
In 1976 an Anglo-French development team put a turbojet-powered, supersonic passenger jet capable of flying at over twice the speed of sound in to operational commercial service; an incredible feat recognised by NASA as being a challenge equivalent to putting man on the moon.
40years on and another landmark step change in transportation stands before us, but instead of grasping it we seem to be arguing over it! Despite the developments since my previous post on this 'From the Ridiculous to the Sublime' , there's doubters everywhere suggesting that the leaps and bounds required to overcome the hurdles needed to bring Hyperloop technology to life are impossible to achieve! People listing all the reasons why it isn't going to happen, before it's even been properly explored or given a chance! To them I say: "Really? So you're suggesting we've not advanced in the 4 decades that have passed since Concorde, that we used up our Skill Bar in its' development and that's it...our ambition to be bold, to try and achieve anything of note is dead and gone!?"
Back when developing the project in 1965-76 computer modelling and simulation didn't exist, there was no CFD, advanced lightweight alloys, high-temperature ceramics, carbon fibre...Steve Jobs was only just selling the first ever 'Apple I' computer that Wozniak had hand-built out of his parents’ garage in '76 and yet this iconic piece of aviation history, this engineering marvel that was a full meter longer when flying at full speed than it was at rest on the ground, could carry 128 passengers at 1,354mph from London to New York in three and a half hours!
Is it fear, what are you afraid of? Or perhaps it's that we really become that jaded or down-trodden that we don't actually believe we're capable or deserving of such things anymore...is that it?
Because I can't think of a single reason why we wouldn't at the very least try? Find out what might be possible...because surely even the doubters can appreciate what a game changer this would (is going to) be! Travelling to places in less time than the minutes HS2 will save on journeys...in less time than it will take you to collect your tickets and walk through the station to the 'platform'!
Look I get the speed thing, I do. Speed has always thrilled and scared us in equal measure, and there are obviously some challenges and dangers when travelling at close to the speed of sound, but lets be clear about this whether you crash at 250mph or 700mph, dead is still dead, there aren't degrees of deceased-ness...you can't be more dead than dead!
In reality, when you think about it, it's actually going to be a lot safer, because the Hyperloop operates in a tube, so:
It's not going to derail, ever.
Each tube only goes one way, so they'll never be a head on collision.
If there's and issue with the evacuated tube, it leaks, the air gets thick and the pod slows down all on it's own.
No one can hurl themselves in front of, wander across or throw anything on to the 'tracks'...not even the wrong sort of leaves can get in there!
That's not to say there aren't issues that do need solving and no one's suggesting they're going to be easy...there's going to be issues around routes and land, and rights of way, just like there always will be with any sort of major infrastructure project like this. It's an end-to-end, point-to-point mode of travel, so we're going to have to rethink stations and boarding to accommodate the pods, how they're processed through multiple stops, all sorts of challenges, but think of it like this...would you like to spend £60-70billion and wait a decade and a half to save a few minutes on our current journey times to get to places or do you want to look back at pictures of huge, heavy trains on open tracks and tell your children, nephews and nieces stories about how journeys used to take hours rather than minutes and watch them laugh in disbelief having spent a 1/4 of that figure!?
Still not convinced? Feel free to NOT bother telling us why, our future has no need for your attitude or outlook...instead you can sit back, relax and start working on that 'I told you so' speech you're going to have to chew and choke on!
If, on the other hand, you realise this is going to happen regardless and the question is merely where and who will get left behind, you might be interested in this...
The Hyperloop One Global Challenge, a first-of-its-kind competition, aims to identify and select locations around the world with the potential to develop and construct the world’s first hyperloop networks. Hyperloop One is seeking to collaborate with applicants who put their minds and talents to the test. If you have powerful ideas and are interested in reinventing transportation in your region to move cargo and passengers immediately, safely, efficiently, and sustainably so that your businesses grow, your economies flourish, and your communities thrive…
On Friday morning (10th June 2016) the Sheffield Business Advisory Panel and Sheffield City Council (Deputy Leader of the Council) agreed to support working up the HyperTriangle proposal and submitting it for the challenge!
We are pulling together a working group of myself, Neill Birchenall (BirchenallHowden), Ian Slater (Sheffield Metropolitan), Timothy Pryor (Lloyds Banking), Paul Horton (Grant Thornton) and anyone else who would like to be involved, to work up the plans for an 88mile HyperTriangle that will put the 3 main cities that form the central hub of the 'Northern Powerhouse' within 3minutes of each other and go on to extend a Hyperloop network out across the rest of the North, connecting cities way beyond the scope of HS2.
If you're ready to reach for the stars, to be a pioneer in implementing a legacy that will literally change the face of the country and the rest of the planet; not just for the next generation, but forever. Then you might like to join the 'Fellowship of the Loop'...the 3month window to get in our submission opened on the 16th May and closes on the 16th September.
This is not just about being one of the first three places in the world that will HyperConnect their towns and cities, it's about becoming a part of the Hyperloop One Team, developing the future and putting us in the best position to not just be a part of making this happen, but building and manufacturing too.
"The best way to predict the future is to create it"
~ Abraham Lincoln