Strange things are afoot in Russia. The government wants to build a 70-kilometer (44-mile) hyperloop line along the country’s Pacific Coast, which would link Russia’s port of Zarubino with China’s Jilin province. There’s just one small catch, of course. Russia wants the Chinese government to help pay for the $500-million project since the high-speed transportation line would theoretically benefit both countries. Can Russia convince the Chinese government to help build a 600 mile per hour rail line?
The Russian hyperloop project, reported by Global Construction Review, is part of the country’s largest scheme to improve transportation infrastructure and create corridors between its Primorye region and northeast China. China announced earlier this year it would spend upwards of $1 billion on its Silk Road plan, which involves re-establishing trade routes over both land and sea, so Russian officials are hoping leaders in China will see a great opportunity in the joint hyperloop project.
Maksim Sokolov, Russia’s transport minister, commented on the plan on the sidelines of the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) earlier this month. “I have already held talks with hyperloop company,” he said without specifying which company. “We have suggested the investors consider the construction project of the zone within the international transport corridor Primorye-2.”
The ultra high speed rail concept, initially dreamed up by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, is a hot topic in the United States, where two separate companies are racing to build hyperloop test tracks in Nevada and California. Each project has its own strengths and weaknesses, and only time will tell which team becomes the first to successfully open a working hyperloop. As for the Russian-Chinese venture, things look a little shaky. Although trade between the two countries is strong and Beijing recently indicated an interest in lending money toward another high-speed rail project (between Moscow and Kazan), Chinese support for a hyperloop is low. GCR reports that Yury Trutnev, a deputy prime minister and presidential envoy for the Far East, said Chinese investors were not ready to invest in projects to develop the Primorye-1 and Primorye-2 corridors “due to the lack of economic appeal.”