Hyperloop pod is inserted into the 1.6km Devloop tube for its first full-scale test run. Picture: Hyperloop One

Las Vegas, Nevada - The near-supersonic rail system known as hyperloop has passed another key milestone on its path to become reality

American startup Hyperloop One, which is developing a system theorised by entrepreneur Elon Musk, said on Wednesday a test of a full hyperloop system at its private facility in the desert near Las Vegas was a success, hitting record speeds.

"That's a huge milestone for us," Hyperloop One co-founder and executive chairman Shervin Pishevar said."  "We've shown that the hyperloop actually works. And now this is the dawn of the commercialisation of the hyperloop. So from this point on we move to the commercialisation process."

During what the startup referred to as Phase 2 testing, a pod fired through a tube depressurized to the equivalent of 60 000 metres above sea level reached an unprecedented speed of 310km/h.

Magnetic levitation

The company said all components were successfully tested, including the motors, controls, the vacuum system, and the magnetic levitation system that lets pods zip along rails without touching them.

"We've proven that our technology works," said chief executive Rob Lloyd. "We're now ready to enter into discussions with partners, customers and governments around the world about the full commercialisation of our Hyperloop technology.” 

Hyperloop One had originally promised a full-scale demonstration by the end of 2016, after a successful test of the propulsion system. Pishevar said on Wednesday he now saw the system "getting operational in the next few years".

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