As the race for the Hyperloop rages among several competing companies, 13-year-old Caroline Crouchley presented a more realistic version of the supersonic train imagined by Elon Musk.
Straight out of the head of Elon Musk, the boss of Tesla and SpaceX, the Hyperloop is a supersonic train propelled at more than 1,000 km/h. It could now be dethroned by a version which is more realistic in the short term and less expensive and imagined by a 13-year-old teenager. On the occasion of the final of the 3 M Young Scientist Challenge, the young Caroline Crouchley has indeed presented a proposal that opens the door to railway companies.
The idea of the SpaceX boss is to carry the Hyperloop passengers in pods propelled in long, low-pressure tubes. A scenario that raises many safety issues within the engineering community. Especially for corners. A constraint that the American teenager frees herself from by relying on existing infrastructure: the train.
Twice as fast
By connecting the latter via a magnetic system to the pod located in the tube, Caroline Crouchley proposes to make the users travel in a train towed by the Hyperloop. A design that does not achieve the peak speed of 1,102 km/h promised by Elon Musk (and never achieved in the tests), but which could still run twice as fast as the current high-speed trains and, above all, be powered by renewable electricity. Exploiting the existing rail infrastructure also helps to make the budget less mind-blowing. Harvard and MIT would be ready to explore the feasibility of the project.