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Fast forward button pressed on railroad technology (3)

(China Daily)    07:54, August 13, 2018

A model of a bullet train is displayed at CRRC Qingdao Sifang Co, a wholly owned subsidiary of China Railway Rolling Stock Corp. MAI TIAN/FOR CHINA DAILY

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, a company in California working on the concept of an ultra-high-speed hyperloop, signed a deal last month to build the superfast track with Tongren Transport and Tourism Investment Group, a company controlled by the Tongren government.

The route is expected to cover an initial distance of 10 km from the city to Tongren Fenghuang Airport, with an estimated investment of 2 billion yuan ($293 million).

During the second phase, the hyperloop project will extend from the city to Mount Fanjing in Tongren, covering 50 km, a distance suitable for commercial operation. Investment is set to rise to more than 10 billion yuan.

To implement the project, HTT and the Tongren government will set up a joint venture to build the hyperloop system.

It is the first deal signed by HTT with China, and marks the company's next significant step in taking a foothold in the country, a market with substantial infrastructure spending.

HTT CEO Dirk Ahlborn said: "In response to the rapidly growing urban population, China spends more than $300 billion on infrastructure construction annually. Our cooperation with a wide range of countries has proved that the superfast tube system will be a workable plan."

He expects HTT to play a bigger role in helping China to broaden its links with the rest of the world.

Tongren has partnered with the China Railway Fifth Survey and Design Institute Group Co and China Railway Maglev Transportation Investment & Construction Co to contribute 50 percent of the financing for the project. The remaining 50 percent will be provided by HTT.

The company will provide the technology and essential equipment, while the Tongren government will help the joint venture to certify the tube, establish the project and draw up regulations for the new technology.

Chen Changxu, Party chief of Tongren, said: "The super-high-speed hyperloop will be faster and cleaner, which will reduce energy consumption. Tongren used to be a less-developed area. The development of information and transportation will improve this situation, and the superfast hyperloop will be a major change to local transportation."

Wang Mengshu, an academician at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said it will create jobs not only for Tongren but the entire country to supply infrastructure and technical materials such as electronic components, wiring, construction machinery and pipelines for the project.

Earlier this year, HTT also signed deals to build commercial hyperloop systems in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, and in Ukraine.

Ahlborn said, "This year, we started the commercialization of our technology with a focus on regulations, which are the biggest hurdle remaining to bringing this new mode of transportation to the world."

The concept of a super maglev train system is an attempt to change a market dominated by bullet trains running on ground-level tracks.

High-speed rail transportation has been one of the most impressive areas in which China has made progress. In recent years, the country has built the world's largest high-speed rail network and become a world leader in providing globally competitive high-speed products and services.

By the end of last year, China's high-speed rail network had reached 25,000 km, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the world's total. The nation's railway network spans 127,000 km.


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(Web editor: Liang Jun, Bianji)

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