China has become the first country to set out a construction programme for a hyperloop, the vacuum-tube maglev system that would theoretically allow trains to travel at up to 1,000 km/h.
The plan is to build a link between Shanghai and Hangzhou, the capital of Zhejiang Province, 175km to the south, reports the South China Morning Post.
If all goes according to plan, this will enter service in 2035.
The paper quotes an article published in the Chinese language journal Railway Standard Design last week. According to that piece, the Chinese Academy of Engineering chose the two cities after carrying out a “comprehensive assessment” of candidate cities.
The academy provides advice to the Chinese government, and its members are directly involved in the conception, design and construction of infrastructure projects.
The Railway Standard article adds that Shanghai is China’s largest city by population and Hangzhou, the home town of Ali Baba, is a growing hub of e-commerce. As well as the likely economic payback, the terrain between the two cities is relatively flat.
Other lines considered were between Beijing and Shijiazhuang, the capital city of Hebei province; the Pearl River delta tech hubs of Guangzhou and Shenzhen; and a central China line between Chengdu and Chongqing lines, one of China’s fastest growing regions at present.
If the line goes ahead, travel time between Shanghai and Hangzhou will be cut to 15 minutes, compared with three hours by road or 1 hour by high-speed rail.