Where a Houston Hyperloop Track Could Lead

Proposed Hyperloop Routes

A couple of possibilities for Houston-terminal hyperloop tracks have made the latest cut in Hyperloop One’s global design your own economically feasible route contest. The company, one of a couple firms working to bring Elon Musk’s ultra-quick travel-by-tube-suction concept out of literal pipedream territory, will eventually pick a handful of winning teams to give a technological and financial boost. The Texas-centric network shown above would connect Houston, Austin, Laredo, San Antonio, and Dallas, apparently with special stops for DFW and the Ship Channel. (A direct Dallas-Houston leg wouldn’t be high priority, in case the bullet train actually happens, according to designer Stephen Duong). The other Texas-inclusive route that made the cut, going by the name Rocky Mountain Corridor, would connect the Bayou City to Cheyenne, WY, by way of Denver and Amarillo:

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Proposed Hyperloop Routes

Texas was supposedly a prime potential site for that mini test track planned back in 2015 — but a 1-mile tube track was finished up the next year outside of the Tesla headquarters in Hawthorne, CA, and Hyperloop One just wrapped up a full-scale development track somewhere in Nevada.

Images: Hyperloop One

Texas Pipedreams

12 Comment

  • A hyperloop to Austin would put Washington Ave out of business. Everyone would just go to 6th Street.

  • Yeah …. if HSR isn’t going to be built, neither is this

  • Pass whatever you’re smoking over here.

  • So you mean a liberal tech company advanced the proposed route of a high speed transportation system that practically links Mexico to the US? Shocker.

  • There is a fine line between having vision, and ‘having visions’. Anyway, I don’t get the vision thing.

  • @ Capitalist: After China and Canada, Mexico is the third largest trading partner with the United States, so extending the hyperloop down to Mexico doesn’t seem a stretch to me. Liberal/conservative has nothing to do with it; it’s a capitalist thing.

  • The hyperloop line that makes since is a freight only system from La Cardenas on the Mexico pacific coast to Houston. A sort of land bridge from the Pacific to the gulf

  • Setting aside the pie-in-the-sky plan, is this track supposed to be underground OR above ground?
    .
    Either way, that’s going to cost a lot of money. And, talk about a tempting terrorist target. Underground: risk being buried alive. Above ground: risk being blown up in front of the people on the freeway. And, cows. In front of cows.
    .
    I wish they spent as much effort on solving world hunger.

  • I wish people would stop selling and thinking of the hyperloop as a passenger service. That’s just promotional advertising to get early private funding and to create buzz.

    The real promise for the hyperloop is cargo movement. Dallas primarily receives cargo from the Port of Los Angeles by rail. Austin, San Antonio, and Houston are served by the Port of Houston. A hyperloop cargo system from Houston to Dallas and other points will be a massive boon for the Port of Houston and the local Houston economy. The reduction of cargo trucks and conventional trains would provide benefit for all in the region.

  • Well if it’s about cargo maybe a connection to Corpus Christi, Free port, et cetera might be in order before heading out to San Antonio? This would be done all in the name of future-proofing, since ships keep getting bigger and bigger and the Port of Houston keeps getting busier and busier…

  • @Houstonreader
    Yes, Mexico is a valuable trading partner with the US. Among the largest categories of imports/exports between the US and Mexico – vehicles and machinery. Exactly what diameter do you expect this hyperloop tunnel to be? Additionally, there is a reason that freight trains have to travel slower than passenger trains – cargo shifts and can either be damaged or cause damage. Lastly, there is a serious last mile problem with freight cargo that generally doesn’t apply to personal transit assuming the destination isn’t in the middle of nowhere.

    So, now the cargo idea has two serious issues. 1) Construct an enormous (diameter and length) tunnel that is capable of moving hundreds? thousands? millions? of tons of freight consisting of vehicles and machinery, among others, across thousands of miles at high speeds without experiencing damaging shifts. 2) Once all of this cargo has made it to its final destination, there now must be an offloading terminal with various machinery/equipment to unload and reload the vehicles/machinery onto either traditional rail or flat bed trucks for the “last mile delivery.”

    Issue 1 is an enormous engineering/physics/capital intensive feat. Issue 2 would require to rebuild all the infrastructure that already exists at ports and cargo rail terminals. Where is the value proposition after all of this, assuming it could even be achieved? My guess, this is not a positive NPV project without government subsidies, just like most of Elon’s other endeavors.

  • Someone on another thread suggested a central hub airport. Why not a central hub port (generic)? Maybe put it down near Corpus Christi and it will be a new (air/sea/space) port built from scratch. Existing connections around the state will solve their last mile issue however they have been doing it all this time, and in the meantime build a city around this brand new air-and-sea-port and bring the people to the last mile (instead of the other way around). Having said that the city would be constructed around all of the new last-mile technologies including buildings built around the concept of delivery (instead of the other way around) and streets optimized for self-driving vehicles. Naturally, congestion pricing would be a fact of life and chewing gum would be banned. The main cottage industry would be high tech: it would serve as a staging area for tech companies’ employees who could not get into the US via the traditional visa system at that particular moment.