Route through Fort Wayne a worldwide finalist for pod-transportation system

LOS ANGELES (WANE) A line that would connect Chicago, Columbus, Ohio, and Pittsburgh and run through Fort Wayne has been chosen as one of 10 worldwide finalists in a private company’s challenge to move passengers at speeds of nearly 700 mph using a pod and tube system.

A Hyperloop tube is displayed during the first test of the propulsion system at the Hyperloop One Test and Safety site on May 11, 2016 in North Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

Los Angeles-based Hyperloop One announced the finalists Thursday in a competition that attracted attention from more than 100 countries across six continents. The company is trying to identify the best routes for its new transportation system, which would use pods lifted above a track by magnetic levitation.

The pods would glide at airline speeds because of ultra-low aerodynamic drag in the tube.

According to Hyperloop, a group of agencies, officials and municipalities that included the city of Fort Wayne and the Indiana Department of Transportation submitted a plan to Hyperloop One that called for a possible route from Chicago through Fort Wayne and on to Columbus, Ohio and ending in Pittsburgh. The 488-mile trip could be made in 49 minutes on a Hyperloop pod, compared to nearly 4 hours on a plane or nearly 8 hours in a car, according to Hyperloop.

City of Fort Wayne spokesman John Perlich told NewsChannel 15 that while Hyperloop suggested the city was involved in with proposal, the city of Fort Wayne was not directly involved with any planning. He said the city’s name was likely part of the proposal or discussion because Hyperloop would follow the same path as a planned high-speed passenger rail line.

Perlich said it’s too early to say how Fort Wayne would be impacted by Hyperloop. A stop in Fort Wayne by any pop is unlikely.

The planned route of a Hyperloop high-speed transport line would run from Chicago through Fort Wayne to Columbus and on to Pittsburgh.

The project is in its very early stages, of course. Hyperloop said it will now work with a local team to “validate and analyze their proposals further, and provide initial ridership forecasts, business case and preliminary technical analysis of the route and corridor, tailored to the needs of the individual route.”

Hyperloop plans to produce three of its systems by 2021.

The proposed Hyperloop route, at least from Chicago to Columbus with Fort Wayne in the middle, is the same touted for a new high-speed rail system. In December, the line was awarded federal and state approval and a study was conducted. It’s expected to be done in late fall.

It is the latter project the city of Fort Wayne is on-board with.

“Our focus has been and continues to be on high-seed passenger rail,” Perlich said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.