An unlikely European nation could be home to Europe’s first Hyperloop train

15 Mar 2016

While the US and Japan are considered the focal points of ultra-high speed trains, the unlikely future player in Europe could be Slovakia, which has agreed to explore building Elon Musk’s Hyperloop system.

The Hyperloop train has been envisioned by the likes of Musk as the answer to faster and cleaner transportation around continents using high-pressure tubes carrying a train at speeds of more than 1,000kmph.

Last November, the Hyperloop company announced that it expected to raise $80m by the end of 2015, but it is now already looking to Europe, and more specifically Slovakia, as the launchpad for a European network.

According to The Telegraph, the Slovakian government has had discussions with the Hyperloop company – Hyperloop Transport technologies to give it its full title – to bring the technology to the central European nation.

While there are no concrete plans of yet, the government would want to connect its capital city of Bratislava with the Austrian capital, Vienna, as well as Budapest in Hungary.

‘Redefine the concept of commuting’

Just to emphasise how revolutionary this would be in terms of speed, it’s envisioned the Hyperloop system would be able to take someone from Bratislava to Vienna in eight minutes, and from Bratislava to Budapest in just 10 minutes.

Commenting on the ambitious project, Slovakia’s Minister of Economy, Vazil Hudak, said: “A transportation system of this kind would redefine the concept of commuting and boost cross-border cooperation in Europe.

“The expansion of Hyperloop will lead to an increased demand for the creation of new innovation hubs, in Slovakia and all over Europe.”

As for a timeline of when we’ll see our first European Hyperloop, it’s unlikely that we will see any running train within a decade considering the technology has yet to undergo its first field test, pencilled in for some time later this year.

Bratislava image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic