Travelling long distances around Australia could take just a matter of hours in the not too distant future, if a revolutionary super sonic transport system is given the green light.
Ultraspeed Australia, the Australian reps for US-based Hyperloop One, will make a pitch for investment in Queensland at an Infrastructure Association conference this week. It's estimated a network connecting Brisbane to Melbourne could be developed for $40 billion.
Hyperloop, originally dreamed up by Tesla founder Elon Musk, claims to be quick, safe and environmentally friendly. Passengers would be loaded into a "pod" and accelerated gradually by an electric propulsion, to speeds of up to 1,200 km/hr through a low pressure tube.
It's fully autonomous and enclosed, eliminating pilot error or weather hazards. In May 2016, Hyperloop One successfully demonstrated the system with an open-air test, a metal sled going from 0 to 175 km/hr in less than 2 seconds.
Ultraspeed Australia said the group is planning an inland route from Sydney via Tamworth and Toowoomba to Brisbane, with an extension line to the Gold Coast. However, if the company gains financial backing it's believed a Sydney to Canberra route would be proposed first, followed by Canberra to Melbourne, then Sydney to Brisbane would begin by the late 2020s.