TransPod, a four-year-old company with roots in Canada and France has signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of Alberta to study the feasibility of linking the provinces two major cities, Edmonton and Calgary, by a hyperloop-like system.
Top speed would be over 1,000 kilometers/hour, or about 620 miles/hour, and the Hyperloop would be an above-ground enclosed tube.
Since Edmonton and Calgary are just under 200 miles apart, travel time would be about half an hour.
“Alberta’s government is supporting new and exciting opportunities for job creation and innovation,” Ric McIver, Alberta Minister of Transportation, said in a statement. “By supporting TransPod’s feasibility study, Alberta Transportation will provide important information contributing to the research, development, testing, and construction of a full inter-city TransPod line between Edmonton and Calgary. We look forward to seeing this work put Alberta at the forefront of the movement of goods and people.”
While Alberta is supporting the project, it is also making no financial contributions at this point. According to TransPod, the project will proceed in four phases:
Short-term: feasibility study (2020-2022)
Short-term: research and development phase (2020-2024)
Medium-term: test track construction and high-speed tests (2022-2027)
Long-term: construction of a full inter-city line between Edmonton and Calgary (to begin in 2025)
Ultimately, of course, any phases beyond the first will depend on additional investment, probably including a financial commitment from Alberta.
TransPod is fully electric and fossil fuel free, the company says. Since it travels in an enclosed tube, it’s essentially immune to bad weather: good news given Alberta’s harsh winters. The tube would be laid at ground level, reducing cost over an in-ground or above-ground solution.
“With the convenience of a subway that departs every few minutes, TransPod will avoid airline flight diversions, travel faster than a jet, and three times as fast as a high-speed train,” the company says.