Christopher DeMorro on our sister site, Gas2.org, just wrote a story on a new high-speed train China is planning that is expected to go 1,000 KMH! Say what? Yes, that is fast.
As DeMorro writes, “The latest plan from the People’s Republic calls for a high speed train that will combine the maglev system used in Japan and France with vacuum tubes. In theory, this train will be able to go 1,000 kph, or about 620 mph. That is twice as fast as most high speed trains travel today.”
Maglev systems can get trains going over 300 mph (with a record of 361 mph) smoothly and quietly using magnetics, but it is hard to get them going faster than that due to air friction.
China’s plan is to remove the air friction by using vacuum tubes (i.e. removing the air). Of course, this isn’t cheap — the vacuum tubes add $300 million to the already high cost of the maglev trains. But, over 600 mph?! That saves a lot of people a lot of money in what transportation economists (or economists, in general) call “time costs.”
One of the key safety concerns that immediately came to my mind regarding this high-speed, vacuum-sealed, maglev train apparently crossed DeMorro’s mind as well — “What happens if the train fails or loses power? Will suffocation ensue?” Hopefully, there is some “simple” safety measure to prevent that.
I imagine that all safety concerns will be properly addressed soon if they aren’t already, though, because China is really moving forward with this, and fast. Plans are to have the super high-speed, maglev, vacuum tube train up and running in 3 years.
Cleantechnica readers (or people who stop by for a visit from time to time) love to get on the potential problems of new, revolutionary technology ideas. Any initial criticisms of this one?
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Photo Credit: Wikipedia