West Virginia Goes Back to the Future With Transit Technology

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The future of transportation will be built on the site of a former coal mine in West Virginia.
Last week, Virgin Hyperloop One announced plans to build a $500 million certification facility and 6-mile test track in the Mountain State. Construction is scheduled to begin in two years, with a completion date of 2025. Virgin will use the facility to test and develop hyperloop technology, working with the U.S. Department of Transportation to establish regulatory and safety standards. If all goes according to plan, Virgin hopes to have a full-scale system operational somewhere in the U.S. by 2030.
A hyperloop consists of a sealed tube mostly devoid of air. As envisioned by Virgin, passengers and cargo will ride within a sleek pod that zips through the tube using magnetic levitation to avoid contact with a rail. Removing air from the tube means there will be almost no wind resistance and, therefore, less energy needed to move the pod at high speed. Future travelers may zip between cities at 600 miles per hour in near silence.

Elon Musk popularized the hyperloop concept back in 2012, and by 2018 nearly a dozen projects — proposed or planned — had been announced. By 2020, Virgin Hyperloop, an American technology firm …

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