Indian Railways Updates: Officials from the Ministry of Railways announced Thursday that they will partner with IIT Madras to build a “indigenous” Hyper loop system and will also assist in the establishment of a Centre of Excellence for Hyperloop Technologies at the top institute.
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Suresh Prabhu, the then-railway minister, expressed interest in Hyperloop technology in 2017, indicating that India would be observing the project closely. Since then, several rounds of talks between the ministry and Hyperloop One, based in the United States, have taken place, but nothing concrete has emerged.
Hyperloop is developing a system that uses magnetic levitation in low-pressure tubes to carry people and products at plane-like speeds.
Hyperloop mode of transportation is appealing to Indian Railways because of its low energy requirements and the substantial role it may play in making India carbon neutral, according to a statement from the ministry.
“Avishkar Hyperloop,” a team of 70 students formed by IIT Madras in 2017, has been applying scalability and frugal engineering concepts for the development of a Hyperloop-based transportation system with the goal of making India proud by showcasing its technologies to the world,” according to the statement.
The group was the only Asian team to place in the top ten worldwide at the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition-2019. At the European Hyperloop Week – 2021, the student team “Avishkar Hyperloop” won the “Most Scalable Design Award.”
In March 2022, IIT Madras addressed the Ministry of Railways with a request to collaborate on the creation of a contactless pod prototype and a first-of-its-kind Hyperloop Test Facility at its Discovery Campus (at Thaiyur). The proposed facility will provide the world’s largest Hyperloop Vacuum Tube, which could be used as a test bed for Indian Railways’ Hyperloop research.
The institute requested assistance from the Railways in the areas of manufacturing, safety rules, and access to its electrical testing facilities.
It has also asked the Ministry of Railways for financial assistance in moving this project forward. According to IIT Madras, the project’s anticipated cost is Rs. 8.34 crore.
The present CRR at IIT Madras is working on five projects and has been training railway engineers on topics including lean manufacturing, condition monitoring, and concrete testing and analysis. Officials said the objective is to build a 500m tube (diameter 2m) and track capable of supporting multiple propulsion and levitation system combinations in order to accelerate pod technology development. The tube will be functionally comparable to the Virgin Hyperloop facility in the United States, but will be substantially cheaper, according to the Railways.
Elon Musk and SpaceX have advocated the Hyperloop concept, and other businesses and organisations have been invited to collaborate and develop the technology. In November 2020, Virgin Hyperloop conducted the first human experiment at its test site in Las Vegas, hitting a high speed of 172 kilometres per hour (108mph).