Elon Musk Claims the NYC to Washington, D.C. Hyperloop Is a Go

Jul 20, 2017

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Elon Musk tweeted this morning that he’d received an informal go-ahead to begin tunneling an East Coast Hyperloop, fueling speculation that the future of travel could be just over the horizon.

According to Musk’s tweet, the Hyperloop would run between New York and Washington, D.C. — and would stop in Philadelphia and Baltimore along the way. A trip would take a mere 29 minutes, speedy enough to put current transit options — about 1 hour 20 minutes by air and just under 3 hours by rail — to shame.

At the center of Musk’s bid to revolutionize Northeast corridor transit is The Boring Company, an upstart infrastructure firm that apparently sprung from the billionaire entrepreneur’s deepest, darkest hatred: Traffic. In mid-December 2016, Musk tweeted, “Traffic is driving me nuts. Am going to build a tunnel boring machine and just start digging…” An hour later The Boring Company was born.

According to The Boring Company’s website, advancements in earth-boring technology could dramatically lower the often astronomical cost of tunneling. One way is by speeding up the tunneling process itself, which, the website points out, is currently 14 times slower than a snail. “Our goal is to defeat the snail in the race,” the website boasts. Don’t knock Musk for talking big — he’s ripped up a SpaceX parking lot to test his tunnel boring machine, and shared pictures of Gary, his pet snail, nearby.
Gary tunnel boring
No word on who’s in the lead. Photo courtesy of The Boring Company.
Innovations in speed and efficiency might make mega-tunnels like this potential one between New York and D.C. actually feasible. But the road (tunnel?) to this Hyperloop is still a long one, as Musk admitted in a later tweet:

If Musk’s latest moonshot project is actually able to clear the many federal, state and local governmental hurdles that almost certainly stand in its way, things could get very interesting. Watch out Acela — a new speed king may be coming to town.

Featured image of the “Godot” tunnel boring machine courtesy of The Boring Company.

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