Rendering of a train station with the grim reaper superimposed on top, a hyperloop station
A rendering of an O’Hare Express System station as originally envisioned, with electric pods ferrying passengers. Now references to the Dugout Loop and Baltimore-D.C. loops have been removed from the Boring Company website. (Courtesy The Boring Company)

Elon Musk’s Baltimore-to-D.C. Hyperloop appears dead

The media hasn’t been too kind to Elon Musk’s Las Vegas Loop over the last two weeks, as a special preview of the $52 million, subterranean convention center loop revealed … a system where you get in a Tesla and tell the human driver which station to let you off at. That’s a far cry from what was originally promised, 16-person shuttles that would autonomously whisk passengers from one side of the Las Vegas Convention Center to the other in less than a minute, all thanks to the innovative tunneling tech from the Boring Company.

Now, to make matter worse for Musk, it appears that plans to connect Baltimore and Washington, D.C., via Hyperloop tunnel have been scrapped. According to Bloomberg, all mentions of both the D.C.-to-Baltimore loop and the Dugout Loop, which would have run between Los Angeles’s Red Line subway and Dodgers Stadium, have been removed from the Boring Company’s website.

Looking back, 2018 seemed like a pretty optimistic time for fans of high-speed, electrically powered autonomous sled pods that ran underground. In February of that year, the Boring Company received an exploratory permit to dig up a test parcel outside of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives headquarters in D.C. as part of a proposed D.C.-Baltimore-Philadelphia-New York route. In August, the Boring Company revealed its plans for the 3.6-mile-long Dugout Loop, promising it could connect Dodgers fans with L.A.’s subway system in only 4 minutes, carrying between 1,400 and 2,800 passengers per day.

However, that was three years ago. In the summer of 2019, Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot effectively quashed a Chicago loop that would have connected Block 37 in the Loop to Chicago O’Hare Airport, and there hasn’t been much news about the other two since. As Bloomberg points out, both projects are currently stuck in the environmental review process (digging hundreds of miles of tunnels under roads, water, power, and gas lines, and infrastructure would likely require a slew of approvals from each individual landowner as well) and no ground has been broken. In 2019, the U.S. Department of Transportation under former secretary Elaine Chao, the Federal Highway Administration, and the State of Maryland released a 411-page draft environmental impact report, but to date there has been no news of a full Environmental Impact Statement.

However, just because the projects are shelved now doesn’t mean that they’re dead, and the Musk-owned Boring Company still plans on expanding its tunnel network in Las Vegas.