A bullet train making its way to the Show-Me State wouldn’t just benefit Kansas City and St. Louis, it could make an incredible impact on students from everywhere in Missouri, Bearcat or not.
Hyperloop, the train in conversation to come to the Midwest, has been talked about by SpaceX and Tesla founder, Elon Musk, since 2012. However, it wasn’t until 2017 that the idea for this project would begin preparations. This futuristic locomotive essentially shoots passengers at extremely high speeds from location to location, or in this case, from St. Louis to Kansas City.
The time it would take to travel the statewide distance would only be about one hour. At this rate, the train would not only cut out the other three or so hours of the typical drive, but it would effectively eliminate any concerns of traffic or late night drives as well. At its worst, it is just one more option for travel.
Even on the most general of levels, the bullet train serves as a major convenience for all citizens of Missouri. A convenience keeping so many potential drivers off the road in harsh weather conditions, heavy traffic or on even the sunniest day is a good thing.
Furthermore, it is impossible to ignore the 65 percent of students at Northwest alone who live in state. Hundreds of these students, new and old, have grown up in St. Louis. This significant cut in travel time means easier trips back home and an increased likelihood for family to visit too.
Less gas money being spent and short travel times are sure to allow for at least a bi-weekly visit, something seemingly impossible at the moment.
A benefit as simple as convenience for students is obvious though.
A more unforeseen positive is the new faces Hyperloop could bring to the picture. Maryville is about an hour away from Kansas City, but a bullet train would inevitably entice those who were initially unsure of a six-hour drive to St. Louis to reconsider. Even for those out of state, a one-way ticket to the Western side of Missouri may be much more accessible. Hyperloop is not just a quick pass across the state; it is a way for new faces to experience the Northwest lifestyle without going out of their way at all.
One of the biggest concerns with Hyperloop is the noticeably cramped cabin space. These trains are nothing short of tubes traveling at blinding speeds, so the idea of dozens of strangers being stuffed inside sardine packaging can easily be off-putting. Additionally, because of the issue of making sure the geography can sustain such technology is all but uncertain, Hyperloop may not be something students and Midwesterners can count on just yet.
The beauty of this bullet train does not lie in its design or convenience, though. It lies in is optional utility. Hyperloop is only being proposed as a choice, not unlike choosing whether or not to suffer a cross country drive over the choice of flying. Any who take issue with the train, such as the more claustrophobic passengers, don’t need to worry. Highways will always be there as a backup.
A bullet train can just be there for the tightly scheduled weekends or spontaneous trips back home. It is not trying to be the next substitute for cars, it is simply trying to present an alternative.