Watch passengers take a first test ride of Virgin Hyperloop

This speedy experimental type of transportation could become a big part of future long-distance travel
virgin hyperloop Two Virgin employees just took the first-ever ride on a hyperloop. (Virgin Hyperloop)


The hyperloop is a new, experimental type of ground transportation that could travel as quickly—or faster—than a commercial jet plane.

Virgin is one of a few companies that is testing this tech. The others include Hyperloop One and SpaceX and Tesla owner Elon Musk's Hyperloop. But as of Sunday, November 8, Virgin is the first of these companies to send actual passengers on one of their prototypes.

Before we get into their test run, let's revisit what the hyperloop actually is.

Vacuum-sealed train

virgin hyperloop

The XP-2 Virgin Hyperloop prototype. (Virgin Hyperloop)

It's kind of like a mix of train and tube. A pod is placed inside a tightly sealed tube that is then turned into a vacuum. A vacuum happens when nearly all matter is removed from inside of something. Creating a vacuum cuts down on air resistance and friction, which are the two main forces that slow down any vehicle, especially one travelling on ground.

Under these conditions, the pod can theoretically travel as fast as 1,080 km an hour (671 mph)! It's still a long way from working, but the November 8 test brought it a little closer.

Hold on!

The Virgin Hyperloop test was a short trip. The two-person pod only traveled 500 metres (1,640 feet). That's a long way off of proposed journeys between places like Toronto and Montreal or San Francisco and Los Angeles. But it's a start.

One of the passengers, Sara Luchian, told the BBC that the trip was "not at all like a rollercoaster" and that she did not feel ill afterwards. Though it was a very short trip, the fact that she did not feel ill was a big deal because many are worried about both the safety of the hyperloop and whether or not passengers would feel motion sickness.

You can watch Sara and her colleague, Josh, make the journey in the video below. Wheee!


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