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Statehouse Visitors Get First Look At Columbus Hyperloop Vehicle

A recovery vehicle moves a sled down a track after a test of a Hyperloop One propulsion system, Wednesday, May 11, 2016, in North Las Vegas, Nev.
John Locher
Associated Press

Statehouse visitors on Monday will get a first look at the XP-1, a prototype of the vehicle Virgin expects to use in Hyperloop systems like the one proposed for Columbus. It's the hyperloop's second stop in Columbus, after appearing in front of COSI on Sunday.

The technology used by the Hyperloop is something like a blend of trains and the pneumatic tubes at drive through banks—sending capsules shooting down vacuum tubes on a cushion of air.

"You’re moving as fast as an airplane with the experience that’s as smooth as a new elevator, is a good way to describe it," says William Murdock, the executive director of the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. "But no stops."

MORPC is in the midst of a $2.5 million feasibility study for a hyperloop line connecting Pittsburgh, Columbus and Chicago. It claims the trip would take just 29 minutes between Columbus and Chicago, and 18 between Pittsburgh and Columbus.

The Midwest Connect Hyperloop proposal was one of 10 winners of the global Virgin Hyperloop One competition.

"When people hear about the technology they think it’s science fiction," Murdock says. "But what we’ve been doing is the real transportation planning work behind it, and what Virgin Hyperloop one has been doing is testing this in the Nevada desert."

He hopes seeing the vehicle has helped Central Ohioans see Hyperloop as a reality, too.

"There could be a lot of jobs if we're building a new form of transportation in engineering, construction, transportation," Murdock says. "So we're really focused in on how Central Ohio can take advantage of that."

Virgin's Hyperloop pod is also making a brief stop in downtown Marysville on Tuesday. The tour will also take Virgin to Kansas City and Arlington, Tex.