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    Hyperloop in Moscow: Will Russians Become First to Travel at Speed of Sound?

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    The draft project named Hyperloop, the brainchild of the famous American engineer and entrepreneur Elon Musk, is scheduled to be launched in Moscow in the end of 2016. As the population of the Russian capital has soared to more than 12 million people, authorities believe that this high speed transportation system is a must.

    Russian billionaire and chairman of Summa Group Ziyavudin Magomedov became the main investor of the project in Moscow. His company in collaboration with the city government is now learning about the construction of Hyperloop, which will connect the city center with the suburbs and Moscow's airports.

    "We consider multiple routes as a priority for the implementation of these technologies that, I believe, will be tested as early as December this year," Magomedov confirmed.

    The arrival of Hyperloop to Moscow is just one of the ideas; the bigger ones involve freight traffic along two routes: North-South Transport Corridor, which runs through the territory of Russia, Iran, Pakistan and India, and the corridor that connects China and Europe, passing through Kazakhstan and Russia.

    "These two projects are the most urgent and are a priority for us," he explained.

    Summa Group in conjunction with one of the research institutes is currently analyzing the technical and economic feasibility of applying the technology on a 70-kilometer route, which connects the Hunchun customs and logistic center in China with Zarubino seaport on the Russia's Far East. This is done with the use of new technologies in the framework of the Chinese project of New Silk Road, involving the diversification of trade routes to Europe through Russia and Central Asia.

    The Chinese side joined in discussions on the project a few days ago. According to Maxim Sokolov, co-chairman of the Russian-Chinese Commission and Russian transport minister, joint Russian-Chinese venture fund will participate in case of the project's approval for funding.

    The first preliminary tests of Hyperloop passed in May 2016 in the desert of Nevada. Now, a fully functional prototype with a vacuum tube and a magnetic confinement cabin has to be created and tested. The most important problems related to passengers' safety and comfort have to be solved as well.

    According to the Head of the Moscow University of Finance and Law Alexander Buzgalin, in addition to yet unsolved problems, there are issues of another kind:

    "For China, which thinks 10-15 years forward, this project is a testing range of new technologies. And the New Silk Road is a cultural, social and economic project, and not just infrastructural. China is ready to cooperate with Russia on a long-term basis, and this project may well be mutually beneficial."

    "However, it means that Russian investors should not expect a quick return. They should think strategically supporting the long-term program with the mutual obligations of the parties, with careful calculation, with the comprehensive development of territories, etc. Then it will become a serious investment project," Buzgalin told Sputnik.

    Hyperloop expects to start cargo shipping in 2020 and passenger transport in 2021. Hyperloop Vice President Bruce Upbin wrote on his blog: "The Russians were first to space with Sputnik and could be first again to transonic travel."


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