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Elon getting into the tunneling business!


One can NOT induce accuracy with precision!
Mar 24, 2013
For a quick primer in current state-of-the-art boring, BBC has a small article - Inside the world's longest rail tunnel - showcasing the just-opened longest tunnel, at 35.5 miles, bored with four 31-foot diameter chewers, each about 1,700 feet long - Switzerland's Gotthard Base Tunnel.

Arc-smelting could conceivably create in situ a fine tunnel but I'm not sure where the requisite yottawatts could be found.
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Active Member
Supporting Member
Apr 8, 2014
New Hampshire
Worked well in Boston.
Why yes, it did. Thank you all for contributing to making my trip to the airport much easier! :p

Arc-smelting could conceivably create in situ a fine tunnel but I'm not sure where the requisite yottawatts could be found.
"Yotta" is such a fun prefix. Makes me smile every time.


Supporting the greater good
Jun 28, 2012
El Lay
Angeli, the TBM about to start digging the Regional Connector under L.A., just invited Elon to come have a look at her...

For those not familiar with the L.A. transit system, the Regional Connector is going to be the second underground rail line under downtown. It will be connecting three different light rail lines (Blue Line, Expo Line, Gold Line). The service will then be operated as two new lines. One going East/West, and the other going North/South.

Regional Connector Transit Project

And a zoomed out view showing what the future E/W and N/S lines will look like. There will be 5 total stations that will be on both lines. The 7th/Metro station and Union Station are also both stops on the current subway line.

In a very short time, there will be 3 different active projects tunneling. The Regional Connector, the Crenshaw Line, and the Westside Subway Extension.

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So at the Hyperloop competition today Elon confirmed what this is all about. Because he's got nothing better to do right now (!), he wants to improve tunneling technology. They are looking for a 500%-1000% improvement in tunneling speed. They have started digging a vertical shaft at the Hawthorn facility. It will be the entry shaft for a TBM (Tunnel Boring Machine) . They plan to strip down an existing TBM and improve it. They are going to test new tunneling techniques technology. Elon says they don't have any real plan, they are just "winging it".

Based on other things said, it sounds like the LA Mayor and Mass Transit Authority are in on the plans.

Go figure.
Everything Elon starts has implications on Mars. This is genius like Hyperloop. Once crews start landing on Mars, they will need to build a significant underground habitat that can protect against any type of harsh weather phenomenon. There will not be time to improve the technology when they get there, it needs to start improving right now to be ready for his timetable.

I wouldn't be surprised to learn that Elon did some research on boring companies and maybe put out some feelers on future innovations and he realized that there was a lack of competition in the marketplace. He's been badly burned in both SpaceX and Tesla with some outsourced parts and labor not able to hit time lines or quality. There are very valid reasons why SpaceX and Tesla build so much of their tech in house. One of the biggest has been suppliers jacking up price once Tesla starts to ramp up production. I see this company as a way for Elon to hedge his bets on mission costs.

I believe that Elon looks through the lens of getting his mission done. He saw this as a potential bottleneck and decided to use the LA traffic as an excuse to push this vital (to him) technology forward. I expect he might start some other companies as well.
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Well-Known Member
May 23, 2008
Winchester, UK
I think we should all vote for this :)



Active Member
Mar 31, 2013
So. Cal.
Tunnel Skepticism Runs Deep | Los Angeles Business Journal

While Musk can tunnel underneath SpaceX’s Hawthorne campus without approval from that city, crossing beneath city property or private land would require Boring to go through official channels, a nightmare-inducing process of regulatory approvals, community hearings, property rights acquisition, environmental reviews, and, most likely, litigation, public officials said.

The company would be required to get right-of-way permission from myriad public and private property owners, building permits for elevators that would lift cars from the tunnel to street level, among other approvals, Cole said.

“The level of complexity and permitting and environmental review – and opportunity for environmental litigation – would stretch this out for decades,” he said.

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