Suck it, Elon Musk.
China claims to have become the first country in the world to successfully carry out tests on a Hyperloop-style, magnetically levitated train inside a vacuum tube — or "vactrain" for short — according to a report from state-run newspaper China Daily.
Researchers tested the train along a roughly 1.25-mile track in the province of Shanxi in northern China. During the test, it reached speeds of up to 80 mph inside a "low vacuum tube," according to the report.
The team is only getting started. The goal is to eventually construct a full-scale, 37-mile test track and have trains reach speeds of up to 621 mph.
The test could lay the groundwork for an entirely new kind of high-speed train system, not unlike the "Hyperloop," a design popularized by Elon Musk roughly a decade ago.
According to the researchers behind the test, it's the first successful demonstration of a maglev train of its kind traveling inside a low-vacuum tube.
While maglevs are an established, albeit rare form of transportation — just this week, Japan broke its own speed record by getting its maglev bullet train to travel at 374 mph — the concept of a vactrain has yet to be realized.
Perhaps the most famous vacuum tube-based train concept is Elon Musk's "Hyperloop," which he first proposed back in 2012. Despite plenty of optimism and early testing, we have yet to see a full-scale Hyperloop system being built, let alone put into use.
But given China's advances, the billionaire has clearly been beaten to the punch.
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