Edmonton to Calgary at 600 km/h: TransPod plans Alberta hyperloop

TRANSPOD — A rendering shows a TransPod tube designed to send vehicles between Calgary and Edmonton at speeds as fast as commercial aircraft using electricity, magnets and a low-pressure environment.

Need to go from Edmonton to Calgary? With emerging hyperloop technology being developed by Canadian-based TransPod, the journey could soon take roughly an hour without having to set foot on an airplane or burn fossil fuels.

According to a feasibility study recently released by TransPod, the system will carry passengers and cargo faster than 600 km/h, far faster than a high-speed train. A trip between the two cities would cost around $90. The electric system is built on a proprietary design that leverages aerospace engineering. The company is developing this technology with high safety standards in collaboration with the European Union and United States transportation departments. The TransPod vehicle’s top speed is similar to a jet, but it travels at ground level in a protected guideway.

Sebastien Gendron, co-founder and CEO of TransPod Inc., believes the system could generate massive economic benefits for Alberta’s struggling economy by creating a new high-tech industry ripe for export. He explained the basic concept for a system like TransPod’s has been around for more than a century. 

“If you really want to go beyond 200 km/h at ground level you need to get rid of aerodynamic friction,” said Gendron. “That’s when people started to think about removing most of the air in a tube.”

This is achieved by creating a low-pressure environment around a sealed track. The vehicles are propelled by linear induction engines, which are powered by fully electric energy. TransPod’s JetGlide technology controls a magnetic levitation system to keep the vehicle off the bottom of the tube guideway, creating a smooth ride, and reducing energy consumption due to an absence of mechanical friction between the vehicle and that limits traditional trains.