Capsule Pipelines – Large Diameter

This page gives basic details of organisations and people who are currently known to be working on large diameter capsule pipeline projects, and the projects they are working on. Be warned that this information may be out of date. ‘Large’ diameter is considered to be approximately one foot or greater. All whose listed have engaged in some form of concerted attempt to develop schemes or technology. Those that appear to this author to have not developed beyond an initial idea or scoping paper can be found under the ideas section.

Technology listed is:

  • PCP – Pneumatic Capsule Pipelines
  • HCP – Hydraulic Capsule Pipelines
  • EMCP – ElectroMagnetic (Linear Induction and similar) Capsule Pipelines
  • UFT – Underground Freight Transport – not specifically capsule pipelines, but related.

The status (in mid 2007) of the work is shown, if known. If you have new information about a project, please contact the author.

Freight Pipeline Company, USA – formerly Henry Liu

Founded to develop and implement many of the techniques from the Capsule Pipeline Research Centre, work evolved to the development of compacted flyash bricks for the construction industry. Henry Liu died in a road accident on 1 December 2009 (source).

  • PCP: Research: Studying the feasibility of using the underground network of tunnels in New York City for freight PCP, funded by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (2003-4).
  • EMCP: Research: Study to develop LIM-based PCP for mineral transport, funded by National Energy Technology Laboratory and US Department of Energy.
  • HCP: Research: Compacting flyash to make bricks.

Further information: [cached text]

Capsule Pipeline Research Centre, University of Missouri, Columbia, USA – formerly Henry Liu, Thomas Marrero

Once a highly active university research department, research now seems to have finished.

  • PCP: Research: Had briefly re-started research into PCP, work partly supported by Sumitomo.
  • HCP: Advanced Prototype: 5 year research programme into Coal Log Pipelines now completed. Commercialisation has moved to the Freight Pipeline Company (see below). These transport coal which has been compacted into capsule shaped ‘logs’. Working prototypes have been constructed, and a commercial application is likely soon. Non-coal HCP applications have also been investigated, including grain movement in the Mississippi basin (1980s), and waste products (recent).
  • EMCP: Unknown: At least one patent has been registered, but there have been few attempts to develop this field.

Further information: [cached text]

Related resources:

  1. Facts About Pneumatic Capsule Pipeline (FAQ) [cached text]
  2. Facts About Coal Log Pipeline (FAQ) [cached text]
  3. Coal Log Pipeline System Description [cached text]

Tubexpress/Ampower Corporation, USA – William Vandersteel

  • PCP: Dormant: Research and prototypes during the 1960/70s, based on the work of M. Carstens. That technology was adopted in Airapid. Some PCP principals have been integrated into the EMCP proposals.
  • EMCP: Proposal: One of the initial proposals using linear induction for long distance inter-city freight transport. The scheme is still actively promoted, but has not been comprehensively researched.

Further information: [cached text]

Magplane Technology Inc, USA – Bruce Montgomery

  • EMCP: Prototype: Probably one of the most advanced EMCP research projects. A prototype system has been constructed to move phosphates in Florida. Magplane subsequently focused on passenger transport systems in China.

Further information: [cached text]

Related resources:

  1. Capsule Pipeline Transport Using An Electromagnetic Drive [cached text]
  2. Electromagnetic Pipeline Transport Systems for the Phosphate Industry [cached text]

Sumitomo Metal Industries Ltd/Capsule Liner, Japan – formerly Sanai Kosugi

  • PCP: Commercial: Construction and operation of a PCP for moving limestone at the Karasawa Mine, Tochigi Pref. This was based on Transprogress technology. Currently active in promotion of PCP systems for a range of applications (including domestic waste and the construction industry), using horizontal and vertical PCP.

Further information: [cached text]

Related resources:

  1. Karasawa Mine
  2. Dr. S. Kosugi Passed Away on October 14th, 2004 [cached text]

Southern Ontario Technologies Inc, Canada – Mike Marcu

  • PCP: Prototype: Involvement in Romanian PCP development. In 1988 constructed a PCP for moving crushed rock at Stoney Creek, Ontario. Continues to research improvements to make PCPs more reliable/reduce maintenance, and actively promoting PCPs in the mining industry.

Further information: 285 Raleigh Ave, Scarborough, Ont, M1K 1A5, Canada. Fax: +1 416 266 7494. Email: mmarcu (at)

Pneutrans Systems Limited, Canada – Brink Weaver

  • PCP: Unknown: Primarily engaged in tailoring PCP technology to specific commodities, including horizontal and vertical PCP.

Further information: [cached text]

Texas Transportation Institute, Texas A&M University, USA – Steve Roop

  • UFT: Research, now dormant: Development of subterranean freight pipeline system using pallet-carrying vehicles.

Further information:

Related resources:

  1. The Future of Freight: Research Explores underground pipeline system [cached text]
  2. Freight and pipeline publications

Pipe§net, Università di Perugia, Italy – Franco Cotana

  • EMCP: Initial prototype: Development of frictionless sublimation-vacuum technology using synchronous linear motors to convey light freight loads.

Further information: [cached text]

CargoCap, Germany – Dietrich Stein

  • UFT: Advanced research: Advanced proposal for an underground freight system in Bochum. Capsules will be guided through underground tubes by a guide-rail. Propulsion is by conventional ‘electric drive’.

Further information: [cached text]

Underground Logistics System Schiphol, Netherlands – Johan Visser

  • UFT: Prototype: Well advanced project to construct an automated underground freight system to move flowers across Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport. The project seems to encouraged the national government to consider other underground freight schemes.

Further information:,

Transprogress, former USSR/Georgia SSR – Alexandrov/Kershenbaum/Jvarsheishvili

  • PCP: Unknown: The Soviet PCP research programme resulted in a number of PCPs being constructed. Although the programme seems to have finished in the mid-1980s, at the start of the 1990s three systems remained in use: LILO-1, LILO-2 and the system at the Sichevska Concentrating Mill. LILO-2 is still thought to be operating, but it is not clear what has happened to the other systems.

Further information: Nothing available, except in the history section.

University of Minnesota, Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics – Yiyuan Zhao, Thomas Lundgren

  • EMCP: Dormant: Design and feasibility work related to EMCP.

Further information:

Related resources:

  1. Characteristics of a Freight Pipeline Transportation System [cached text]

Magtube, USA

  • EMCP: Proposal: Concept for an underground network of magnetically levitated freight capsules called Mag Netä.

Further information: [cached text]

Evacuated Tube Transport Technologies (ET3), USA – Daryl Oster

  • EMCP: Proposal: Proposal aimed at long-distance freight (and potentially passengers), likely to involve electro-magnetic powered capsules operating at high speeds in a vacuum. Interesting method of raising finance.

Further information: [cached text]

Related resources:

  1. Discussed on Slashdot

FoodTubes, United Kingdom – Noel Hodson

  • EMCP: Proposal: Food and consumer goods movement using 1 meter diameter tubes.

Further information:

BHR Group (formerly British Hydromechanics Research Association), United Kingdom – Ed Broomfield

  • PCP: Dormant: No direct involvement with PCP since the 1970s trials, except that capsule pipelines occasionally appear in the group’s conferences.

Further information:

Metro-Freight, United Kingdom

  • UFT: Dormant: Proposal to extend and convert London’s Post Office Railway to a system using automated tired vehicles, conveying both mail and retail goods to shops along Oxford Street. Initial development was conducted by Cranfield University Centre for Logistics and Transport, between about 1993 and 1996.

Further information: None available.

Fast Tube System (FTS), United Kingdom – Richard Earle

  • PCP (ropeway within tube): Proposal: Proposal for a network of pipelines, mainly for use by passengers. Capsules would be propelled by means of ropeways running within the tube.

Further information: [cached text]

RBT Inc, Canada – Harry Ha

  • PCP: Proposal: Proposed 25km high speed Passenger Capsule Transit Pipeline Infrastructure linking Union Station, Toronto, to Lester B. Pearson International Airport, Mississauga.

Further information: Harry Ha, 2602-25 Mabelle Avenue, Etobicoke, Ontario, Canada, M9A 4Y1. Telephone: 416-617-0899. Email: harryha (at)

Index: Capsule Pipelines ·