Startup Arrivo Will Build Test Track for Tube-Encased Supertrains
Arrivo, one of a handful of companies attempting to build tube-encased high-speed trains, unveiled its version of the hyperloop and said it plans to construct a test track just east of Denver.
The startup, which launched in late 2016, announced a strategy Tuesday that was simultaneously both more and less ambitious compared to rivals. It said it would move more people and vehicles —as many as thousands of vehicles per hour on its main line— but over shorter spans and at lower speeds.
The company will focus on regional distances, such as connecting different parts of the Denver area. By contrast, other similar companies have proposed service between distant cities such as Los Angeles and San Francisco. It also envisions speeds of around 200 miles per hour, compared to three times that for other systems.
Arrivo will be different to regular high-speed trains because its tracks will be enclosed, which Arrivo Chief Executive Officer Brogan BamBrogan said would make the environment easier to control. And it plans to use its own carriages as well as sleds that can carry passengers' own cars. It will not use vacuum technology, which BamBrogan said was too expensive.
“Let's find the best solution that can help the most people,” BamBrogan said, adding that was how his company justified the elimination of the vacuum, which cut speeds as well as costs.
Arrivo plans to begin construction of its test track in Commerce City, Colorado, in the first quarter of 2018. A test track is the first step in proving the viability of the technology, which aims to use an advanced variety of magnetic levitation to move the pallets and vehicles.
The company says it has the $10 million to $15 million it will cost to build out the half-mile test track and facility, although it declined to say who its outside backers were or how much they have invested in the company. Investors include the company's founders, a venture capital firm, and strategic partners, BamBrogan said.
“Our transportation challenges are so big, that if anybody has something that will help, it’s incumbent on us to work with them,” said Shailen Bhatt, executive director of Colorado’s Department of Transportation.
Separately, rival company Virgin Hyperloop One said in September it would study the feasibility of a route that connects Cheyenne, Wyoming, to Pueblo, Colorado, via Denver. Its test track is in Las Vegas.
Elon Musk’s Boring Co. is working on a transportation system that would incorporate high-speed trains enclosed in tunnels. Other companies in the sector include Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, based in Los Angeles, and Hardt Global Mobility, based in the Netherlands. Arrivo’s team, including BamBrogan, includes several former Hyperloop One executives.