Helsinki-Stockholm in 30 minutes?

Connected society 11 June 2018

The hyperloop could solve a lot of congestion problems the sustainable way. It is moving ahead in Finland, among other places.

Expert columns
2 min

It is no surprise that the concept has been met with some scepticism: sending people through a giant, low-air-pressure tube at over 1,000 km per hour, much faster and in a more climate-friendly way than any commercial aircraft – and at around three times the speed of the Japanese Shinkansen and other modern bullet trains. 

However, despite the far out sci-fi aspects, the hyperloop might be coming to a capital near you within the next decade – thus solving a lot of congestion problems. 

Last year, Virgin Hyperloop One reported a speed record of 387 km per hour at its full-scale test track in the Mojave Desert of Nevada. This year the company has developed a full-scale pod prototype at the site (pictured). 

Dubai, Saudi Arabia and several European countries have also expressed their interest, and KPMG and Ramboll have conducted a pre-feasibility study on the plans to link the Finnish and Swedish capitals with a tube that will cut the journey time for the 500-km trip to less than half an hour. 

Our expertise has been in rock engineering; civil engineering; environmental planning for a sub-Baltic sea corridor, a rock tunnel between the two countries; and two land-based corridors, one in Sweden and one in Finland. 

The joint conclusions of the study were highly promising, and Ramboll is now exploring a hyperloop test track section that would run from Salo towards Turku in Finland. 

The concept 

  • Hyperloop is a new mode of transport first envisioned by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. It consists of a low-pressure environment in the shape of a tube through which pods travel at high speed. 
  • Several people have proposed similar ideas, but the term and specific system were first revealed to the public in a white paper published by Tesla and SpaceX in 2013. 
  • Musk open-sourced the concept, and several startups have since launched efforts to make the concept a reality.
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