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Elon Musk plans to build 150mph train system underneath Los Angeles

The Telegraph logo The Telegraph 19/05/2018 By Joseph Archer
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(Provided by GoBankingRates)

Elon Musk has said he will build a 150mph train network underneath Los Angeles to bring an end to "soul-destroying traffic" in the city.

The technology billionaire behind Tesla and SpaceX promised on Thursday the high-speed rail system of tunnels would cost passengers just $1 (74 pence) per trip and would be constructed at a “cost that’s not crazy”.

Musk plans to launch a prototype train inside a 2.7-mile tunnel that his "Boring Company" wants to build on the western side of the city.

Musk made the announcements at a “community event” with locals as part of a charm offensive for the ambitious transit project and to reassure residents about concerns over its construction.

“We are going to figure out how to tunnel fast and safely,” he said, claiming this would be a  “significant breakthrough” and bring a “personalised mass transit” system. He added: “But obviously that can only happen with public support.”

Elon Musk sitting in front of a curtain © Provided by The Telegraph The project would see groups of about a dozen passengers travel in small pods through the tunnels on high-speed electric “skates”.

"For tunnels you can have hundreds of lanes, there’s no real limit," he said. The tunnel system could also continue deeper and deeper with more demand.

Musk also hit out at UberAir, the ambitious electric passenger drone system created by the ride-hailing app. Uber plans to demo flights in LA by 2020. "You can’t fly the quietest helicopters through neighborhoods without bothering people," Musk said.

He promised that all the digging and boring required to build the tunnels will go undetected because it's so far down. "It’s quite difficult to detect when a tunnel is being dug," he said. 

The Boring Company claimed that tunnelling could begin as soon as the first quarter of next year if LA authorities approve a permit for a “proof of concept” tunnel at a hearing scheduled for next month. The company hope to reduce the cost of tunnelling from hundreds of millions of dollars to as little as $10m (£7.5m) per mile.

Last month, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the local transport agency, said that it had met with Boring Company representatives to co-ordinate on the “proof of concept” tunnel. “We’ll be partners moving forward,” LA Metro said in a statement posted on Twitter.

However, some residents have taken legal action against the city alleging the project’s environmental impact was not properly considered. Other critics have argued that the city’s fast-tracking of the project is too risky, given the novel methods that he has proposed.

But Mr Musk argued that many of the company’s innovations are “really simple” ideas such as removing dirt more quickly, using electric engines to avoid dangerous emissions, and building the concrete walls on-site. “It’s not rocket science,” he said.

This comes as Tesla is under pressure to increase production of its Model 3 cars during a set of high-level management leaving the company . Earlier this week, Mr Musk said he would be “flattening the management structure” at Tesla as part of a reorganisation.

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