Hype on Hyperloop

Nick Seebruch
Hype on Hyperloop
The Paradigm Hyperloop capsule that took part at the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition II in Hawthorne

Canada was recently announced as one of 10 finalists for a potential hyperloop project.

A hyperloop is a new high speed rail system that would see cargo and passenger cylinders move quickly across great distances thanks to magnetic levitation, at least that’s the broad strokes of the concept.

American company Hyperloop One opened a global competition in 2016 inviting organizations from around the world to submit their proposals for a hyperloop in their country.

Canada’s hyperloop submission was submitted by the Canadian branch of AECOM, an American engineering company.

Their proposal would see the train trip from Montreal to Toronto reduced from five hours to under 40 minutes.

This type of speed of movement is the future, and expansions to this project could greatly reduce cargo transportation times.

The problem I have with the proposed project is that it completely by-passes Belleville, Kingston and Cornwall in favour of a detour to Ottawa.

Now while it is entirely understandable that Ottawa is on the route, the stretch of the Hwy 401 corridor between Montreal and Belleville should be as well.

The municipalities along that stretch of real estate should organize together and make sure that they get in on this project.

Being left off of the hyperloop system would be like a town not being on the railway system in the nineteenth century, or not having electricity in the early twentieth century, it is a major economic disadvantage. Belleville, Kingston and Cornwall should work together to make sure that this region is not left behind in the past.

Right now, Cornwall, like Kingston, is on the Via Rail line that runs between Montreal and Toronto, but Via has not kept up with the times. Super-fast hyperloops aside, Via Rail is slow and expensive when compared to similar services in Europe and compared to train systems in Asia it is even worse.

Ottawa is our nation’s capital and it has an economy of over one million people, but geographically it is a detour for this hyperloop. Ottawa should still be one of the first stops added to this system, but if Hyperloop One added a direct corridor from Montreal to Toronto that parallels Hwy 401 then the trip would be faster for Montreal to Toronto commuters and Cornwall could easily be added to the system.

The Mayors of Cornwall, Kingston and Belleville should work to get an assurance from Hyperloop One that their cities would eventually be added to the hyperloop system and to that end these cities should be added to the projects feasibility study which is the next step.

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