The Hyperloop One System - Hyperloop One

Is the Hyperloop Coming to the Nordics?

The Possibility of a Nordic Super-Region

July 11, 2017, Bruno Jacobsen

Last month, the company Hyperloop One announced the semi-finalists of their challenge: to make a good case for how the Hyperloop track might generate economic growth, development, and change the way people live and work in their region. Among the routes was the 90-kilometer journey between Tallinn and Helsinki. But is this happening any time soon, in the Nordics or around the world?

The track between Tallinn and Helsinki is not alone. The company has already formed a partnership with FS Links Ab to investigate a potential route between Helsinki and Stockholm, the Finnish and Swedish capitals respectively. The journey could take less than 30 minutes, compared to the 16 hours by ferry today .As for the cost, some say it could be around 21 billion dollars.

According to Hyperloop One, the goal would be to connect other cities in the region as well, and with over 40 million passengers coming through them yearly, a Nordic “super-region” could be formed. 

If people could travel between Helsinki and Tallinn or Stockholm in under 30 minutes, the dynamics of the region would change substantially. People could work in other countries, productivity would rise, and new businesses and partnerships would emerge. On top of that, the Nordic region, due to the high number of start-ups per capita, could indeed become a hub of economic and technological development.

But eventually, both for Hyperloop One and their competitor Hyperloop Transportation Technologies, the goal is to connect a multitude of regions. We could, potentially, have a variety of "super-regions" across the world. There were in total 38 semi-finalists for Hyperloop One’s Challenge, and Hyperloop Transportation Technologies has recently announced partnerships in South Korea, Indonesia, and others.

However, despite the appearance of an arms-race, what has come to be known as the Hyperloop technology, coined by Elon Musk, is not safe from criticism and skepticism. Among high costs and design flaws, some of it pointed out to the unpleasantness of riding the Hyperloop, the danger of seismic activity, and the impracticality of the system in times of power outages.

So we might still have to wait a decade or two to see whether the Hyperloop will eventually make our lives easier and travelling faster. But given how hard people are working on it, we may find out even sooner.

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