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Transportation Businesses

Elon Musk Begins Digging a Hyperloop Tunnel In Maryland (baltimoresun.com) 146

Elon Musk has been granted permission by Maryland to start digging tunnels for his hyperoop transit system that he wants to build between New York and Washington. "Hogan administration officials said Thursday the state has issued a conditional utility permit to let Musk's tunneling firm, The Boring Co., dig a 10.3-mile tunnel beneath the state-owned portion of the Baltimore-Washington Parkway, between the Baltimore city line and Maryland 175 in Hanover," reports Baltimore Sun. From the report: It would be the first portion of the underground system that Musk says could eventually ferry passengers from Washington to New York, with stops in Baltimore and Philadelphia, in just 29 minutes. Maryland's approval is the first step of many needed to complete the multibillion-dollar project. Gov. Larry Hogan toured a site in Hanover that aides said could become an entry point for the hyperloop. The state does not plan to contribute to the cost of the project, aides said. Administration officials said they will treat the hyperloop like a utility, and permitted it in the same way the state allows electric companies to burrow beneath public rights-of-way. It was not immediately clear Thursday what environmental review or other permitting procedures must be completed before the company breaks ground.
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Elon Musk Begins Digging a Hyperloop Tunnel In Maryland

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  • But we don't know what we dig 'em for
  • Dig or not Dig? (Score:5, Informative)

    by ElectraFlarefire ( 698915 ) on Friday October 20, 2017 @08:09PM (#55407297) Journal

    Title says "Begins Digging" yet he's only now been "granted permission"?
    Wrong headline is wrong.

  • More likely someone else is doing the actual digging and planning

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Although it's not informative, that's exactly how I envisioned this, with Elon mopping his pasty head with a red bandanna handkerchief and waving off executive assistants with beeping phones. "Tell Space X to call back later, I need to knock out another 10 feet!"

      • by lucm ( 889690 )

        I know you're joking but there's something about his personality that just rings true. A relentless, scrappy bastard that would pick up a shovel and start digging if he ran out of money, and that would probably call people that were around during the sunny days and shame them into getting down there to help.

        The kind of thing that I could picture Jeff Bezos, Michael Dell or Bill Gates do in their days. All those guys are/were the real deal. This is the kind of leadership that's sorely missing in tech, tough

        • With you until you said "Gates".

          • Maybe you don't know him that well. I suggest to read this story from joelonsoftware:

            Then I sat down to write the Excel Basic spec, a huge document that grew to hundreds of pages. I think it was 500 pages by the time it was done.
            [...]
            In those days we used to have these things called BillG reviews. Basically every major important feature got reviewed by Bill Gates. I was told to send a copy of my spec to his office in preparation for the review. It was basically one ream of laser-printed paper. I rushed to get the spec printed and sent it over to his office.
            [...]
            I noticed that there were comments in the margins of my spec. He had read the first page!

            He had read the first page of my spec and written little notes in the margin!

            Considering that we only got him the spec about 24 hours earlier, he must have read it the night before.

            He was asking questions. I was answering them. They were pretty easy, but I can’t for the life of me remember what they were, because I couldn’t stop noticing that he was flipping through the spec

            He was flipping through the spec! [Calm down, what are you a little girl?]

            and THERE WERE NOTES IN ALL THE MARGINS. ON EVERY PAGE OF THE SPEC. HE HAD READ THE WHOLE GODDAMNED THING AND WRITTEN NOTES IN THE MARGINS.

            He Read The Whole Thing!

            https://www.joelonsoftware.com... [joelonsoftware.com]

            Bill Gates was the real thing.

    • More likely someone else is doing the actual digging and planning

      To handle the physical tunnel work, Musk has recently recruited John Henry, who is one of the top rock stars in the field.

    • by drgould ( 24404 )

      Elon's got you covered.

      The Boring Company [wikipedia.org]

  • Abandoned tunnels are a good place to grow mushrooms. I imagine the chefs in higher-end resturants in the DC area will be enthusiastic about this news in a decade or so.

    • by lucm ( 889690 ) on Saturday October 21, 2017 @01:07AM (#55408191)

      It's fun and rewarding to be a bird of ill omen, no? Sit there like a know-it-all and piss on people who are trying to make things happen?

      Not so long ago "electric car" meant a shitty golf cart that reached maybe 15mph. Now we have access to electric cars that do the driving for you and can do 0-60mph in 3 sec. Also not so long ago, sending shit to space was obscenely expensive and was mostly a one-way trip for the rocket; now there's reusable rockets and the cost of sending shit to space is 4x lower than what the NASA or Air Force used to pay.

      What the fuck more do you need to be amazed by that guy.

  • That's interesting, because it would seem to mitigate one of the problems with the hyperloop concept. Namely, if the tunnel ruptures, there's a fast-moving wall of air rushing at anyone inside the tunnel.

    http://dailycaller.com/2016/07... [dailycaller.com]

    If the tube is in a tunnel, there would be much less air available to create such a pressure wave. Or if it's bored through rock there would be almost no air at all inside the tunnel but outside the tube. I think this would mean there would be, at worst, a much less sever

    • by Rei ( 128717 )

      Anyone who thinks you'd be hit by a crushing "wall of air" needs to read up on shock tube experiments, and in particular how propagating shocks respond to high aspect ratios (length relative to aperture size)

      When the shock hits you, is it moving fast? Yes. Several times the speed of sound.
      When the shock hits you, does it have meaningful density? No, unless you're talking a huge rupture and you just happen to be right next to it at the time.

      • by nasch ( 598556 )

        Well, I don't think it would be acceptable to say that the passengers will be fine unless there's a huge rupture and they're right next to it, in which case everyone could be killed. And even if that were not a concern, putting it underground seems to solve a bunch of other problems too.

        • Re:Tunnel (Score:4, Insightful)

          by swillden ( 191260 ) <shawn-ds@willden.org> on Friday October 20, 2017 @11:36PM (#55407989) Homepage Journal

          Well, I don't think it would be acceptable to say that the passengers will be fine unless there's a huge rupture and they're right next to it, in which case everyone could be killed.

          Making a huge rupture in a 1" thick steel tube will require a large quantity of explosives. Such a quantity of explosives won't harm a bus full of passengers unless they're right next to it, in which case everyone could be killed. We don't take that as an argument for eliminating buses.

          putting it underground seems to solve a bunch of other problems too.

          At the expense of creating a bunch of other ones. Engineering is all about tradeoffs. Boring will make sense primarily in densely-populated areas. Elsewhere, the original elevated tube design will be better, I think.

          • by donaldm ( 919619 )

            Making a huge rupture in a 1" thick steel tube will require a large quantity of explosives. Such a quantity of explosives won't harm a bus full of passengers unless they're right next to it, in which case everyone could be killed. We don't take that as an argument for eliminating buses.

            What makes you think it will be a 2.54cm (1") thick steel pipe. Have you any idea the tech and subsequent cost that would go into making that type of pipe? Not only that but you have to join the pipes with "O" rings (it is a vacuum tube after all) and you also have to take into account the thermal expansion coefficient of steel.

            Remember that what has been proposed is a very long vacuum tube so there would be normal air pressure outside so even with a slight deformation you are going to have a rupture whic

            • by Whibla ( 210729 )

              What makes you think it will be a 2.54cm (1") thick steel pipe. Have you any idea the tech and subsequent cost that would go into making that type of pipe?

              Unlike you, apparently, some people have read at least the original concept document. To quote:

              "A tube wall thickness between 0.8 and 0.9 in. (20 to 23 mm) is necessary to provide sufficient strength for the load cases considered such as pressure differential, bending and buckling between pillars, loading due to the capsule weight and acceleration, as well as seismic considerations"

              Strangely enough I'm also pretty sure that the guy whose company builds large tubes that they then launch into space has a pret

              • by donaldm ( 919619 )

                Well, he's still as annoyingly smug as when he first started laughing at the idea. I find it slightly amusing that he's seemingly unaware of the irony of pooh-poohing the idea of hyperloop while mocking the Kitty Hawk comparison.

                There is a huge difference between heavier than air flight by the Wright Brothers and the so-called Hyperloop proposal. For starter people like Leonardo da Vinci (1452 to 1519) knew about flight structures well before the first powered flight. From then on aircraft developed quickly and surprisingly the Wright Brothers never got any patent money from it.

                When discussing a vacuum container at sea level the pressure on the container will be one atmosphere which is 101kPa or 15psi and not equivalent to 10 met

                • by Whibla ( 210729 )

                  For starter people like Leonardo da Vinci (1452 to 1519) knew about flight structures well before the first powered flight. From then on aircraft developed quickly...

                  I'm not sure I see the point you're trying to make here. As many people are keen to point out the notions of vacuum tubes, magnetic levitation, air bearings and indeed pretty much every engineering concept used in the hyperloop proposal are not new either.

                  When discussing a vacuum container at sea level the pressure on the container will be one atmosphere which is 101kPa or 15psi and not equivalent to 10 meters of water.

                  Are you sure [calctool.org] about that? I'll repeat my original assertion in case you misread it: "The pressure differential between the atmosphere and an evacuated tube is roughly equivalent to a tube at atmospheric pressure submerged in 10 metres of water"

                  ...what has been proposed is a vacuum tube that is well over 100km long...

                  The original

                  • by Whibla ( 210729 )

                    I wouldn't usually reply to myself, but I rather felt the need to make a correction...

                    Does a 3 foot length of evacuated tube share the same characteristics when repressurising as a 300 foot length of tube? A 3000 foot length? Not exactly. Once you get beyond about 33 feet (essentially the pressure difference between a vacuum and 1 atmosphere) things change

                    I'm not entirely sure what I was thinking (other than "finish typing, it's nearly beer o'clock") but I clearly had a massive brain fart here. This '33 feet' figure is complete bollocks, in relation to what I was talking about, primarily 'cos we're talking about horizontal tubes, not vertical, and also 'cos air ain't water.

                    No excuse really. Mea culpa!

                    The actual figure is more likely to be in the region of tens of kilometres

                • When discussing a vacuum container at sea level the pressure on the container will be one atmosphere which is 101kPa or 15psi and not equivalent to 10 meters of water.

                  The pressure differential between a container of perfect vacuum and ambient atmosphere at sea level is about 14.7 psi. The pressure differential between a container of air at one atmosphere and ambient seawater at 10m depth is about 14.7 psi. Each 10m of seawater depth increases ambient pressure by approximately one atmosphere. At 100m, pressure is 10 atmospheres higher than the surface. Freshwater is less dense than seawater, so pressure increases a bit more slowly.

                  Any SCUBA diver knows this.

                  Here's a c [calctool.org]

            • by torkus ( 1133985 )

              Remember that what has been proposed is a very long vacuum tube so there would be normal air pressure outside so even with a slight deformation you are going to have a rupture which would send out a shockwave traveling at the speed of sound and anything in the tube would be pulverized.

              Ignoring the rest of your nonsense because there's only so much time in the world...but this one is just too easy because you're simply too ignorant or too stupid to understand how pressure works.

              The difference in pressure between two areas along whatever separates them exerts the pressure on that isolating material. Given the lowest pressure you can have is zero (total vacuum) and standard pressure at sea level is 1ATM or ~15 PSI...the largest pressure possible against the hyperloop tube is a measly 15PSI

    • When Metro's Red Line started leaking it cost more to repair than it cost to build the entire system. And it's still leaking.
    • Tunnels are mich mire expensive than surface tubes. When they rupture, you get a mud slide and surface structures can be affected. See Rastatt tunnel accident in Germany. They drilled a close to surface tunnel. One of the wall segments collapsed with devastating effects.

  • I remember visiting Shanghai last year where they have a maglev that speeds you from the airport to just outside the city. I was told that a residential area was built along it but that the maglev generated a huge amount of vibration that affected people's health so they moved away. I don't know if this is apocryphal, but do wonder how much vibration the design will generate and how that would impact the environment, people living above it, cars driving on icy roads above it, etc.

    • by Whibla ( 210729 )

      After the Channel Tunnel was built the train line was extended, in stages, all the way into central London. Large parts of this track run variously on viaducts over rivers, roads and other rail lines and in tunnels under roads, buildings, and other rail lines. The trains that run on these tracks weigh 700 tonnes and travel up to 300 km/h (albeit they do slow down in some sections).

      These trains have been running for closing 15 years now, and, as far as I know, no building has yet collapsed because of them, n

  • I still fail to see how this can Hyper-stuff can make a profit. ok, you can move up to 16 people between points at a very fast speed, yet the cars would need to be spaced far enough apart from each other to provide a save emergency stop if something went wrong with car up front.

    While there is existing technology, the mag lift, in use, that can move two hundred plus people at a time on a monorail (cheaper then a tunnel) at speeds up to 400 km per hour.

    The future of transportation is moving a large

    • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

      People made all the same criticisms about air travel back in the 1920's. Their mistake was assuming that the technology would never develop much further than the (slow, cloth-and-wood framed, 1-2 person) aircraft that were in existence at the time.

      • People made all the same criticisms about air travel back in the 1920's. Their mistake was assuming that the technology would never develop much further than the (slow, cloth-and-wood framed, 1-2 person) aircraft that were in existence at the time.

        You could build and fly bigger aircraft without changing the infrastructure. Not so with Hyperloop. Try a different analogy.

        • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

          You could build and fly bigger aircraft without changing the infrastructure.

          Untrue -- bigger planes required bigger runways and bigger terminals. And so, bigger runways and bigger terminals were duly built.

          • You can grow airport runways and terminal buildings progressively and relatively easily (as you can railway stations - the equivalent) - just buy some more land. Upgrading thousands of miles of railway lines however, including enlarging tunnels and strengthening bridges, is a task of a higher order.

            UK railways suffer to this day with having been built too small. Upgrading Hyperloop to take larger vehicles would mean scrapping the entire tube and starting again. Fortunately I don't think that Hyperloop will

      • I've never liked this argument, as it's based on what we know is a successful technology: Flying.
        You could just as easily say "This hyperloop is getting the some condemnation that Phrenology once received!"

    • Like most things the government is involved in, profit is not a concern!
    • The spacing at low speeds is actually the limiting factor. I suspect the experience will be like loading onto the 8 person gondolas at a ski resort. Which have a capacity of about 1.1 person per second which is entirely limited by the ability for humans to get in and out of the gondolas. For reference a highway lane has a maximum throughput of 0.5 vehicles per second.
  • which will necessitate airport levels of security.

    29 minutes huh? So does that mean passengers get 10 minutes to board/deboard this thing????? It's gonna have to be quickly loaded. Leaving 9 minutes of travel time?

    What if a hyperpod can't leave on time? Are the margins of error such that it can be squeezed in prior to the next hyperpod? Or will that hyperpod need to be retired and the passengers put on another hyperpod. What does that do to scheduling passengers?

    And how are passengers going to react

    • You're right. Musk doesn't have even ONE smart person who can do any kind of math working for him. You should remind him to do something about that.
    • by SirSlud ( 67381 )

      What you're saying is that you're not smart enough to recognize what you don't know.

    • 29 minutes huh? So does that mean passengers get 10 minutes to board/deboard this thing????? It's gonna have to be quickly loaded. Leaving 9 minutes of travel time?

      The pods are small. Think subway car-sized, not jumbo jet sized. How long does the subway stop at each location? Two minutes? Pods are expected to have a maximum speed of 760 mph, which would cover 226 miles in 18 minutes.

      And how are passengers going to react to the acceleration/deceleration necessary

      Well, at 1/4 gee acceleration (8 f/s^2), you'd need 139 seconds to accelerate to 760 mph. For the described journey, you'd have to accelerate or decelerate 6 times, so that would take 14 minutes, leaving 11 minutes at top speed. During each acceleration or deceleration, you'd cover 14.7 mi

    • by lucm ( 889690 )

      What if a hyperpod can't leave on time? Are the margins of error such that it can be squeezed in prior to the next hyperpod?

      There's multiple train stations in India that handle 500,000 to 1,000,000 daily passengers, and their railway infrastructure runs on switches and relays that were obsolete before man set foot on the moon. There's not a lot of room for errors there and yet they manage.

      So I think it's fair to say that Elon Musk, his unlimited Mastercard and his legion of PhDs can figure out how to handle delays in a transportation system designed for thousands of passengers a day.

    • which will necessitate airport levels of security.

      So you won't be allowed on board with a pocket knife in case you demand the computer divert the pod down a different tube, but you'll be allowed on with 2 kilo of lipo batteries?

      Even so I don't see why. We've had these things called "trains" for years which seem to work just fine.

      29 minutes huh? So does that mean passengers get 10 minutes to board/deboard this thing????? It's gonna have to be quickly loaded. Leaving 9 minutes of travel time?

      Um what? Have you

    • The 29 minutes is the travel time, not the loading time. The loading time is to walk in and sit down. Baggage car might come after one for passengers, its not required to carry both in the same vehicle. Baggage transfer would probably be highly automated and therefore very fast.

      I believe that these are tubes between 2 points, and each "point" requires getting up and changing vehicles, like hub airports. Vehicles leave whenever they are ready to leave. There should be no interleaving of vehicles runn

  • Not likely (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dcooper_db9 ( 1044858 ) on Friday October 20, 2017 @10:10PM (#55407779)
    The Inter-County Connector intersects with the BWI Parkway about five miles away. Getting that highway built took fifty years, got hung up for years on environmental studies and the Federal Government withheld funding. The state house is dominated by Democrats and Hogan is a Republican. Oh, and the Feds won't approve it's construction into DC? I doubt this is going to get done with little more than a few utility permits. Good luck though.
  • 10 miles is a stunt. It would take most of this distance to accelerate and decelerate to the touted speeds. Lots of people are going to lose lots of money on this stupidity.

  • Just wondering where the environmentalist are? And the environmental Impact studies that take years. The years of jumping through hoops to get government approval, etc etc, etc

    Or is the fact that (WunderKind) Elon Musk owns the company doing this, means that nothing harmful or bad could ever come out of this.

    Just to make it clear I am not against this, it just seems to be moving amazingly fast ;)
    • I'm pretty sure this is a state that allows fracking. The bar for approving underground stuff is low.

      If he just takes it down to a depth that is extremely unlikely to hit anything ever put in from the surface or disturb any surface waters (necessary to avoid pumping like crazy anyway), there is little environmental impact that anyone cares about other than disposing of the removed material which should be very non-hazardous and possibly in demand for fill.

      • by lucm ( 889690 )

        If he just takes it down to a depth that is extremely unlikely to hit anything ever put in from the surface or disturb any surface waters (necessary to avoid pumping like crazy anyway), there is little environmental impact that anyone cares about

        This sounds like the premise of another high quality syfy movie

  • As others stated the \. Headline is WRONG or at best very misleading. Please fix and stop such tactics to build traffic. I enjoy many of the intelligent as well as amusing posters but loath to support such a poorly administered site.
  • Just a bit of paranoid speculation that perhaps all this hyper-loop stuff is essentially a money laundering scheme for the government to subsidize and fund Musk's other projects (Rockets, Cars, Batteries) without seemingly doing it directly which might have political ramifications. This type of project is the kind of thing easily in the many many billions, and will take decades to complete, both of which could be inflated at cost and length of time, essentially providing Musks ventures (which haven't or won

I THINK THEY SHOULD CONTINUE the policy of not giving a Nobel Prize for paneling. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.

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