10 Aug

Very Low Air Pressure Maglev Trains

Next Big Future has a piece about low pressure or vacuum tunnel based trains:

“The laboratory at Southwest Jiaotong University told Beijing-based Legal Evening News that it was working on a prototype with an average speed of 500 to 600kph. A much smaller model train traveling at 600 to 1,000kph in a vacuum tube will be introduced in two or three years, it added. A US proposal was for a highly evacuated tunnel.”

So the idea is, with lower or no air pressure in the tunnel, you save fuel and can go faster. You can ramp a train up to 600 miles an hour.

I’m suddenly wondering, without the need for as much maintenance, and training, what a future with less air travel and more high speed rail in near-reach cities, and a nation-wide partially evacuated tunnel system for longer reach routes, looks like.

I read a scene in an Arthur C. Clarke story that presumed such things. Interesting to see the research going down in China. But then again, over the last few years they’ve decided to really up the ante on trains. America has decided to (and in the case of Republicans, is downright proud of) relinquish rail technology and not even really hedge its bets much. That may end up well, but specialization usually tends to screw you up…

5 thoughts on “Very Low Air Pressure Maglev Trains

  1. I suspect that the political and economic disinterest of this country in various mods of fast transportation, such as the maglev or the various other train projects out there, will be the death of the U.S. as a true super power. We can pretend it won’t, but when other nations with nearly as much landmass, or even less, are able to transport people, goods, things, and so on at a much faster and more efficient rate than us due to the introduction of massive, highspeed rail systems, or even cheaper forms of air travel and truck travel, they’ll be able to push their economies to heights that our own will never be able to achieve.

    But I also don’t think that Republicans actually care all that much. A lot of Democrats don’t either. So we’ll keep going down this path of extremely slow “green” growth and nations who see the value in that and are willing to pay the bill now will overpower us and leave us in the dust. I don’t think we’ll become a second world economy, but we definitely won’t be at the top of the food chain anymore.

    What’s shocking to me is that more Americans are enraged by this. You’d think that being as rabidly patriotic as so many of us are that we’d want to beat all those evil socialists and commies and yadda yadda at their own game. But maybe because I’m not part of that crowd I don’t quite understand how they think…

  2. Hmm, a reduced air tunnel to speed transfer. Sounds great. It’ll keep the fireball a lot smaller once it uses up all the air in the train. But, how do you get the rescue forces to the derailment/crash to recover those who died from hypoxia?

    Yeah, I know, I’m a pessimist. Some people see the glass half full, I see the broken shards on the floor with a small wet hazard around it.

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