The Korean Railroad Research Institute (Korail) announced on Wednesday that a “hyper-tube train” traveling through a vacuum could reach a top speed of 1,019 km / h.
The test took place on a scale model and is, according to Business Korea, the first of its kind in the world. The previous top speed, which was also set by Korail, was 714 km / h.
South Korea hopes to have a Hyperloop network in place by 2024 that will cut travel time between Seoul and Busan from three hours to 30 minutes.
The country already has high-speed, bullet-speed trains serving this route, but the government is keen to make it near-supersonic.
The revolutionary transit technology was first proposed by Elon Musk in 2012. However, the SpaceX and Tesla CEO said he didn’t have time to focus on developing them himself.
Since then, several companies and startups have risen to the challenge, with Hyperloop TT and Virgin Hyperloop being the most promising.
Earlier this week, Virgin Hyperloop welcomed the first human passengers aboard a pod on a 500-meter test track just outside Las Vegas, Nevada.
The ride lasted only 15 seconds but reached speeds of 172 km / h, which co-founder Josh Giegel described as “a great leap towards the ultimate dream”.
Other countries currently considering the technology are France, India, Saudi Arabia, and the UK.
One possible route between Gatwick and Heathrow Airports could turn the 60km journey into a 5-minute shuttle. However, the building permit required to build an entirely new form of transport infrastructure in an already overcrowded capital could take decades before it is ever realized.
According to Dirk Ahlborn, CEO of Hyperloop TT, the South Korean government is cheaper when it comes to obtaining a building permit and overcoming regulatory hurdles. This could make it the first country in the world to introduce a Hyperloop mass transit system.