Faster on paper than in reality. South of Toulouse, on a site made available by the State with the agreement of the Prefect, the Californian company Hyperloop TT came to settle in 2017 with great goals in mind. To connect Toulouse to Montpellier, a supersonic train progressing in a tube at the speed of 1300 km / h, was preparing to reach 24 minutes of travel.

Today, the expansion of the test tube is no longer guaranteed. After 1.5 million euros of tax credit, the signing of a lease for a land and subsidies from the Occitania region, the wind seems to turn.

The one that was supposed to take Hyperloop TT to the next level will not be possible. A one-kilometer test track has just been declined the lease by the council of Toulouse Metropole on December 16, it was learned according to an information from France Bleu.


“There is no reason to worry”

The fruit of an observation: the Californian company has still not exploited the lease for its construction, and the municipality is preparing to host a new hub for the mobilities of the future on which Hyperloop TT will have to cohabit with other startups. The vice-president of Toulouse Métropole was keen to reassure: “It’s a simple resizing, there’s no need to worry,” he said.

According to its initial plans, Hyperloop TT was to carry out its first test with passengers on board in 2020. The pandemic and technical barriers seem to have slowed down the work of the company’s team of about 20 engineers working there.

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If Hyperloop TT were to find its way to experimentation, the Metropolis explained that it would be able to offer a 10-kilometer plot of land to install the hypersonic train’s tubes. “In the longer term, Hyperloop might need a 10-kilometer track this time. The Department could find this space in the Muretain,” said the mayor of Saint-Orens.

But the Occitanie region is not so flexible and its patience will not be endless. Hyperloop will not fly under the radar and after having launched a 450,000 euro subsidy in favor of the project, it now reserves the right to demand reimbursement of the 89,000 euros already committed.

On the other hand, Hyperloop projects are numerous and several well-known personalities of the tech world continue to invest. We think in particular of Richard Branson, with Virgin, but also Elon Musk, who began his research on the subject in 2013 and Hyperloop One, in Canada.

For both, the observation is the same. There is still a long way to go. And the means to achieve a technology that is sufficiently advanced and safe in comparison with conventional trains will not be achieved solely through regional subsidies and an airport track.The test is one kilometer long.