Canadian hyperloop company says super-high-speed travel between Calgary and Edmonton is achievable

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The Canadian hyperloop company TransPod has completed a feasibility study for the implementation of a very high speed transmission line between Calgary and Edmonton.

The company says it expects to secure private financing for the first part of the line by the end of the year.

TransPod’s ultimate goal is to allow Albertans to commute between Calgary and Edmonton in train-like pods – at speeds of up to 1,000 kilometers per hour – through magnetic tubes.

In August 2020, Toronto-based TransPod announced that it had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the province that supported the company – but offered no funding – to further investigate the feasibility of technology in Alberta, share transportation data and identify suitable terrains. for a test track.

On Friday, the company released the findings of the feasibility study. He said initial investment proposals totaling $ 1 billion have been shared with the government.

TransPod co-founder and CEO Sebastian Gendron said completion of the study has moved the project into the next phase of investment and research and development.

“The next step is securing – so we have two half-billion proposals to fund these first 20 kilometers and we have to confirm that before the end of this year,” he said.

“Then we will begin the process of reviewing the land acquisition or land agreements between the Edmonton airport and the city and the public consultation, building permits and environmental assessments.

Sébastien Gendron, co-founder and CEO of Transpod, a Canadian hyperloop company. (Tony Seskus / CBC)

In total, the feasibility study predicts that the project will cost around $ 22.4 billion, or $ 45.1 million per kilometer along approximately 350 kilometers of single track.

It also provides for an additional cost of $ 6.7 billion for fixed infrastructure type stations.

In 2020, the company estimated that building the complete line would cost between $ 6 billion and $ 10 billion, but Gendron said the new cost analysis includes the costs of acquiring the land.

The results of the study indicate that hyperloop transport between the two cities would help reduce the province’s carbon emissions by 636,000 tonnes per year.

Alberta Transportation Minister Ric McIver said Alberta has a history of innovation and entrepreneurial enterprise.

“This is why we are delighted that the TransPod feasibility study points to a possible safe and clean ultra-fast passenger and freight link between Calgary and Edmonton,” he said in a couriered statement. electronic.

The company hopes to have a test track built and complete high-speed testing from 2022 to 2027, with construction of the complete intercity line between Edmonton and Calgary scheduled to begin in 2025.

“The Red Deer option was considered, but it would add an additional $ 1 billion to the cost of the infrastructure,” Gendron said.

A company statement says the project “will create up to 140,000 jobs”, but its comprehensive study explains that this number was obtained by multiplying the annual “full-time equivalent” positions over a nine-year period.

“In Alberta, over 140,000 FTE years of employment are expected to be created, or an average of 15,556 per year over the nine-year period,” the study says.

Just under half of those “FTE years” would be “direct”, according to the study; the rest would be “indirect” or “induced” jobs resulting from anticipated economic benefits.

Transport Minister Ric McIver said he was encouraged to see a project like this come to fruition with private funding. (SRC)

“The goal is really to make this project as inclusive as possible and to address all concerns,” said Gendron.

“We’ve already started reaching out to some of the First Nations, for example, and we’re working with Edmonton’s building trades to get there and create jobs.

McIver said it was encouraging to see a project like this advanced and funded with private capital.

“From day one, the Government of Alberta has strived to make our province the most attractive place in North America for innovators and the incredible opportunities they offer. This work is bearing fruit.

Tickets on the super-fast hyperloop would cost passengers around $ 90 for an economy class ticket and up to $ 150 for business class tickets.

A one-way ticket would take around 45 minutes. It would carry a mixture of passengers and cargo.

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