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China is planning to build a 1,000 kph locomotive, which would nearly double the current record speed.  (Source: China Daily)

The new train design revives a concept bandied about since the 1960s -- a vacuum tube train. To date the concept has never been commercially implemented.  (Source: Capsule Pipelines)
Design would almost double today's record speed

We've discussed a couple of times the U.S.'s growing gap in high speed rail compared to China.  As fossil fuels become more scarce, more expensive, and more dangerous from a political standpoint, mass transit solutions look increasingly appealing.  High speed rail is particularly promising as it promises not only to reduce fossil fuel use, but also to get you to your destination faster.

Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Chinese Academy of Engineering (CAE) reportedly are preparing a record-shattering 1,000 kilometer per hour train, according to the 
Beijing Times.  

The new trains will make use of a vacuum tube to reduce friction losses.  They will first build a prototype vacuum magnetic suspension train capable of traveling between 500 and 600 kph.  That gives it a shot at breaking the record set by Japan's JR-Maglev train, which achieved a speed of 581 km/h (361 mph).  The record for a traditional railed train was set by France's TGV at 574.8 km/h (357.18 mph).

After the prototype, the group plans to implement a smaller train capable of speeds of as much as 1,000 kph.  Shen Zhiyun, a member of the research team, comments, "The speed can be reached by making vacuum pipelines for maglev trains to run through, with no air resistance."

Daryl Oster, who owns the U.S. patent on evacuated tube (vacuum) rail, now works at the CAE.  Along with Zhiyun and another researcher, Zhang Yaoping, he is leading efforts to deploy the technology.  The team hopes to begin laying ETT rail lines within the next ten years.

It would use less steel than current trains, but would be slightly more expensive.  China is targeting a cost of 200 million yuan ($29.54M USD) per kilometer for its traditional rail.  The Evacuated Tube Transport (ETT) rail would cost approximately 210 to 220 million yuan ($31.0M USD to $32.49M USD) per kilometer.

Currently the planned trains travel at 350 kph.  A cost increase of 5 to 10 percent seems a fair tradeoff to score nearly twice the speed.  It's just one more example of how ambitious China is when it comes to high speed rail.

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By Murloc on 8/5/2010 2:00:39 PM , Rating: 4
the international standards prescribe to write kilometers per hour this way: km/h
since this is a "tech" site and speaks about science stuff, you should be more serious about units of measurement.
you write kph because you're used to the fact that in anglosaxon countries you write mph.
Don't americanize real units (yup, the ones used by international scientists) please, write km/h next time.

RE: kph
By Ristogod on 8/5/10, Rating: -1
RE: kph
By quiksilvr on 8/5/2010 2:44:41 PM , Rating: 1
Oh please, if there's one standard we can live without its the flawed English measuring system. 12 inches to a foot? 3 foots (I detest ee plural words, so they don't exist my vocabulary) to a yard, 1760 yards to a mile, or 5280 foots to a mile? What were they smoking when they came up with these random standard units?

RE: kph
By Kenenniah on 8/5/2010 3:05:44 PM , Rating: 5
Most of it came from actual use in the times the units were created.

RE: kph
By FaceMaster on 8/5/10, Rating: -1
RE: kph
By angryplayer on 8/5/2010 8:30:04 PM , Rating: 5
So widespread, it's only used in one country as a standard of measurement. And a basterdized version too.

RE: kph
By spread on 8/5/2010 8:42:57 PM , Rating: 4
... also used in Burma. Don't forget Burma.

RE: kph
By Gul Westfale on 8/6/2010 8:25:11 AM , Rating: 5
USA+burma=international coalition. let's invade metristania.

RE: kph
By aegisofrime on 8/6/2010 12:18:27 AM , Rating: 5
The English measuring system is obviously created by aliens. Any sensible human measuring system would be in base 10, for the obvious fact that we (or most of us) have 10 fingers.

RE: kph
By Solandri on 8/6/2010 1:21:57 AM , Rating: 5
English units actually make a whole lot of sense if you're actually using them in real life, not thinking of them as abstract numbers. You have to remember that when these units were invented, there was no widespread access to calibrated measuring devices like we have nowadays. Back then, actually measuring things was the hard part; doing math on them was easier, relatively speaking.

10 cm in a dm. Can be divided into 1/2 or 1/5 to yield integer measures.
12 inches in a foot. Can be divided in 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 1/6, all yielding integer measures.

1000 m in a km. Can be divided into 1/2, 1/4, 1/5, 1/8, 1/10, 1/20, 1/40 to yield integer measures.
5280 feet in a mile. Can be divided in 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 1/5, 1/6, 1/8, 1/10, 1/11, 1/12, 1/15, 1/16, 1/20, 1/30, 1/40, 1/60 to yield integer measures.

English weight units are designed to be divisible by 2. In old days before every household had a calibrated scale, if you had 1 pound of wheat (measured on a calibrated scale at the market), how do you think they divided it evenly? They pulled out a simple balance, and split it until each side had the same weight - 8 ounces to a side. Split that again, 4 ounces. Split it again to get 2 ounces. And again to get 1 ounce.

Same goes for English volume measures. 4 quarts in a gallon (I don't remember what the 1/2 gallon unit is), 2 pints in a quart, 2 cups in a pint, 2 gills in a cup, 4 ounces in a gill (don't remember the 1/2 gill unit), 2 tablespoons in an ounce, 4 drams in a tablespoon. Again, if you're pouring liquid into two similar sized pitchers, it's almost trivial to eyeball it until both have the same amount of liquid. It's nearly impossible to eyeball 1/10th of a liter.

Nowadays, the situation is reversed. Calibrated measures are cheap and common. But most people don't have a calculator handy (and never got beyond elementary school math). So it makes more sense to use measures which match our base 10 counting system. (Except for computers, where base 2 makes more sense.)

Metric units are easier to calculate with. English units are easier to work with.

RE: kph
By Pjotr on 8/7/2010 8:02:21 AM , Rating: 2
History is irrelevant. Either use what most of the world uses, or stick to the US system, which loses me as a reader. When I read a review saying a laptop weights X lbs, it says nothing and I go to some other site.

RE: kph
By spamreader1 on 8/6/2010 8:58:03 AM , Rating: 3
Wouldn't any sensible measuring system be in base 2 for the obvious fact that we (or most of us) have 2 arms or 2 legs then?

Really, base 2 makes more sense since it's the simplest measurement system.

RE: kph
By MrBungle123 on 8/6/2010 12:20:16 PM , Rating: 5
screw it lets make everything 7x harder than it has to be and use base 27.5! Then both humans and computers can be equally confused when dealing with anything. :)

RE: kph
By Chernobyl68 on 8/6/2010 12:00:27 PM , Rating: 2
wait, what? You're complaing that other people are using "kph" vs. "km/hr" when you'd rather say "foots" than "feet"? pot, meet kettle. kettle, meet pot.

RE: kph
By FaceMaster on 8/5/2010 4:58:47 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah, we American's wouldn't want to upset the international community now would we?

You've done a good job of upsetting the rest of the world so far, why buck the trend?

RE: kph
By Quadrillity on 8/5/10, Rating: -1
RE: kph
By FaceMaster on 8/5/2010 5:47:55 PM , Rating: 5
On that note... NEVER expect nor ask for our help during any disaster be it man made or natural. We wouldn't want to "upset" you and further.

Why would we want your help? You'd only make it worse, or try to steal our country's oil or something.

RE: kph
By NanoTube1 on 8/5/10, Rating: -1
RE: kph
By heffeque on 8/6/2010 12:31:21 AM , Rating: 5
We didn't even help our own people (Katrina anyone? I bet most people don't know that the place is still a miserable mess) How can other countries expect us to help THEM!

RE: kph
By Quadrillity on 8/6/2010 8:07:51 AM , Rating: 1
Katrina? Wow, you are one brainwashed media tool... Do you realize that they got more than a weeks notice to: "get your s*** and get the f*** out, there is a HUGE storm coming your way".

But that's OK, it is well within reason to build your homes BELOW SEA LEVEL in one of the most active hurricane regions in the world. If Bush hadn't sent that elite team of saboteurs, the levies would have held up. Curse your Bush! -sarcasm

While we're at it lets also have sympathy for people that park single wide trailers in TORNADO ALLEY.

There were hundreds of helicopters and other rescue teams zipping about after the initial storm saving people while most of the city was looting TVs, Jewelry, and whatever else. In fact, I remember several stories that showed people SHOOTING at the rescue helicopter!!! "Oh look! Someone's here to save us! SHOOT EM!"

You are a pathetic fool if you think my efforts should go to save people who build their homes in places that are very susceptible to flooding/fires/earthquakes. Don't get me wrong, everyone has to live somewhere, but New Orleans is by far a TERRIBLE choice for a decent person to live. That flood almost cleansed that entire area of scum that was living there.

They were warned far in advance to get the hell out of there. They did not listen. So Bush was blamed as a racist as a result. The world moves on, stfu.

I guess we should have just sat back and watched when the earthquake at Hati came too huh?

RE: kph
By Iaiken on 8/6/2010 10:48:49 AM , Rating: 3
If Bush hadn't sent that elite team of saboteurs, the levies would have held up. Curse your Bush! -sarcasm

He didn't have to, the levies had a 15 year head start on falling down themselves. Unfortunately, no level of government wanted to pay for their maintenance and improvement. More interestingly, they are unwilling to work with the Dutch (who have far more expertise in this area) to create a failure tolerant system of levies.

While we're at it lets also have sympathy for people that park single wide trailers in TORNADO ALLEY.

Where do you draw the line Quadrillity, between earthquakes, flooding, deserts, tornadoes and all other natural disasters there's practically no livable space in North America according to your hodge-podge logic.

You are a pathetic fool if you think my efforts should go to save people who build their homes in places that are very susceptible to flooding/fires/earthquakes.

Not as pathetic as your apathetic self. The problem was a manageable one.

They had 15 years warning that this was possible, 15 years to spend the time and money it would take to maintain and upgrade the levy system. 15 years to collaborate with other experts in the field to come up with cost effective solutions to this problems. 15 years to add fault tolerance to the existing levy system.

Which cost more? To upgrade and improve the levies so they didn't sink into the mud or fall over with excess pressure, to build in overflow zones and evacuation zones? Would it have really cost more than the 91 billion dollars in damage that the failures caused?

The entire time of the Bush and Clinton administrations, the Government of Louisiana had sought assistance from the fed and the Army Corps of Engineers to expedite the upgrades to the levies in failure prone areas. Each time they were either flat-out denied or shoved aside in favor of other earmark projects. This was in spite of the fact that the Regan administration had tasked the Army Corps of Engineers to conduct an engineering survey of the levy system at which time they validate the now 5-year old concerns of the New Orleans civil engineers.

That flood almost cleansed that entire area of scum that was living there.

I've been there both before and since and I can say that your assertion is founded solely in ignorance. Both times, the people were friendly, happy, and I found myself invited to several dinners, parties and other events at peoples private homes just because. In Buffalo NY, people rioted, smashed, looted and burned because the Sabres got eliminated from the Stanley Cup, should we flood that city to cleanse them? You can't judge an entire people for the actions of a few idiots in the absence of law and order.

I guess we should have just sat back and watched when the earthquake at Hati came too huh?

Ironic you should bring that up since it damages your argument so badly. Within 24 hours the US had established an air bridge to Haiti and within 48 hours they had several hospital, support and supply ships making supply runs back and forth. Before the fifth day, 17 ships, 48 helicopters and 12 fixed-wing aircraft in addition to 10,000 sailors and Marines were involved in supply, rescue and policing efforts.

Meanwhile in Louisiana, it took the US government 48 hours to even approve additional national guardsmen, let alone get them to the disaster area. Further frustrating efforts were the delays by the fed in allowing international aid to the region, even Canada (the closest ally of the USA) had to put aid ships in international waters off the coast until approval came on September 2nd. European nations could not render aid until the fed finally OK'd it on September 4th.

In a disaster, time is of the essence and the Bush administration fumbled badly and because of it, even neighboring states were left waiting on the fed and Louisiana was left to fend for itself the first 48 hours. He had executive power to get these people the aid they needed and the opportunity to get it to them with expediency and he squandered both.

RE: kph
By Quadrillity on 8/6/2010 12:56:52 PM , Rating: 1
Unfortunately, no level of government wanted to pay for their maintenance and improvement.

Which goes back to my statement about where its STUPID TO LIVE BELOW SEA LEVEL THAT HAS A REAL GOOD CHANCE OF FLOODING. And another thing... should we rely on "government" to babysit us? Can we not use common sense to protect ourselves and our families. Gov tit issue going on here...
They had 15 years warning that this was possible..

Yep, I agree. I wouldn't be living in conditions where it was "likely" that I lose my life and possessions because of living below sea-level in a flood-zone . So it's the governments fault that those people chose to live there?
I've been there both before and since and I can say that your assertion is founded solely in ignorance.

So you went to the "good parts" which accounts for about 2% of the entire city? Good comparison that you made there...

Within 24 hours the US had established an air bridge to Haiti and...

Yes, it's true that our disaster prevention/recovery system were very lacking. Haiti was proof enough that were did in fact vamp up those programs significantly. So what's your point? Why do you and many other have this notion that "the government" should look over each and every aspect of our lives? If people chose to live in a flood-zone that is held back by man made levies, then so be it! We still sent help regardless of how effective it was after being told to evacuate. The government isn't here to prevent stupid people from being stupid (impossible). But one of my main points is that how can we even launch a successful rescue mission if we have the people shooting at the workers and off looting stores? You can say whatever you want to, but only a fool would have stayed there with weeks of repeat warning.

RE: kph
By Iaiken on 8/6/2010 2:15:46 PM , Rating: 3
Which goes back to my statement about where its STUPID TO LIVE BELOW SEA LEVEL THAT HAS A REAL GOOD CHANCE OF FLOODING. And another thing... should we rely on "government" to babysit us? Can we not use common sense to protect ourselves and our families.

The only problem with that is that it is in the governments interest that the port of Louisiana stay open and operational. It is the SINGLE HIGHEST VOLUME PORT IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE and is responsible for more tonnage per annum than Los Angeles, Long Beach and San Diego COMBINED.

Like it or not, this port is critical infrastructure and requires an enormous number of people to keep it running efficiently. When you factor in that this port is responsible for over 60% of all US grain exports, it criticality becomes even more apparent.

The amount of duty and excise that the US government makes off imports and exports makes it simply mind-blowing that they were unwilling to spend the money required to keep the city that the port relies upon intact.

So you went to the "good parts" which accounts for about 2% of the entire city? Good comparison that you made there...

Nope, I spent a month there both times and I got to go everywhere, city center, the port, the bayou and each of the different parishes. It's an amazing city and if you never go there in your lifetime, you're missing out. The only way I can describe the spirit of New Orleans is that it is like gaiety of Montreal on steroids with better food.

RE: kph
By Zingam on 8/7/2010 8:22:47 AM , Rating: 1
Imperial units... "IMPERIAL", Shakespeare, King Arthur etc... crap are NOT American... they are British. Today probably 90% of the Americans have nothing to do with Britain.
All EU countries used to have their own measurement units but the whole normal world changed to a common standard that makes sense - the metric system.
If US were so British, why driving on the right side of the road then?

RE: kph
By mgilbert on 8/5/2010 2:27:57 PM , Rating: 5
English language standards dictate that a writer should capitalize the first letter of every sentence - and end each sentence with a "period".

Your first sentence is awkwardly worded, and the sentence should have started with the word, "International".

In your second sentence, you used the word "you" in the indefinite sense - another error.

And "anglosaxon" should have been written, "Anglo-Saxon".

And "americanize" should start with a capitol "A".

And, finally, you should have left a blank line between your two paragraphs.

I'm sorry, but I couldn't resist. You made several more mistakes than the writer of the article did, and you did it in 100 words or less!!!

RE: kph
By Funksultan on 8/5/2010 3:24:47 PM , Rating: 5

Boom, headshot.

RE: kph
By therealnickdanger on 8/5/2010 4:24:04 PM , Rating: 2
While I see it all the time, I thought sentences beginning with conjuctions (and, but) were also considered "poor grammar".

RE: kph
By chick0n on 8/5/2010 4:32:27 PM , Rating: 4
heeeaaaddd heeeaddd Headddshoooott !


Ooops, did I just messed my English up? what is this? getting a PhD in English or something ? :D

btw, wtf is kph anyway. (is btw/wtf English? LOL! is LOL English?)

I only know km/h and mph.

enlighten me.

RE: kph
By KaiserCSS on 8/5/10, Rating: -1
RE: kph
By smackababy on 8/5/2010 4:32:43 PM , Rating: 2
I don't think that is the case, as it is more because kids don't form complete sentences when they start with conjunctions. And as is usually the case, most people don't form complete thoughts that way either.

RE: kph
By SoCalBoomer on 8/5/2010 6:39:30 PM , Rating: 2
In the case wherein each statement is basically a bullet point, dependent upon the initial clause, beginning with a conjunction is acceptable.

RE: kph
By Amiga500 on 8/6/2010 5:05:10 AM , Rating: 2
I believe the use of "But," at the start of a sentence is acceptable as a replacement for "However,".

RE: kph
By FaaR on 8/5/2010 9:09:04 PM , Rating: 3
I don't think the word "capitol" means what you think it means... ;)

If you're going to play teh grammer police and generally be an ass in the way you express yourself, you better make damn sure your post is flawless first.

You, Sir, fail.

Me? English is a second language to me, I have an excuse.

RE: kph
By heffeque on 8/6/2010 12:35:03 AM , Rating: 2
This is like those demotivational images that are nested each of them correcting something the previous person wrote incorrectly.

RE: kph
By lelias2k on 8/5/2010 10:00:05 PM , Rating: 2
And "americanize" should start with a capitol "A".

Do you mean "capital"? ;)

RE: kph
By Pjotr on 8/7/2010 8:04:07 AM , Rating: 2
LOL of the week. :-)

RE: kph
By SSDMaster on 8/5/2010 3:21:24 PM , Rating: 1
You sir, are an a$$hat.

RE: kph
By tng on 8/5/2010 8:54:30 PM , Rating: 2
I agree that the English system is difficult. Just how big is a 7/32 wrench? Really? They expect me to do division just to find the correct tool?

I can visualize 3mm or 15mm in my head, much more practical in my opinion. None of the 5/8ths stuff.

Now I do like the Fahrenheit measurements over Celsius. For allot of the work that I do with measurement equipment, the Fahrenheit scale offers more resolution on instruments that will not read out in tenths or hundredths of a degree.

RE: kph
By FaaR on 8/5/2010 9:16:09 PM , Rating: 1
The resolution of the instrument has nothing to do with the temperature scale it uses, it's purely a function of the way the instrument itself was designed.

Anyway, Fahrenheit surely was smoking some serious shit when he designed his scale; it's almost completely arbitrary in its fundamental design. Arguably, so was Celsius I might add, originally placing 100 degrees at the freezing point of water and 0 at the boiling point... It actually took a frenchman to set things right. ;)

Americans are like the proverbial last dinosaurs on earth with their obsolete imperial measurements (bastardized, on top of everything else). Time to get in synch with the rest of the world, guys!

RE: kph
By elewand2 on 8/6/2010 1:31:35 AM , Rating: 2
Fahrenheit is the perfect scale for the average person who lives in the northern continental US. The hottest day barely goes above 100 and the coldest day barely goes below zero. The average yearly temp is about 50 degrees. For science Fahrenheit sucks but so does Celcius. Either scale you have to add 460 or 273 for most calcs.

RE: kph
By elewand2 on 8/6/2010 1:33:20 AM , Rating: 2
by add I mean subtract

RE: kph
By Solandri on 8/6/2010 1:40:11 AM , Rating: 2
The problem with the Celsius scale is that the "water freezes/boils" statements are only true at sea level. Even at sea level, these temperatures will vary with the weather that day (high or low atmospheric pressure). At any other altitude, the statements that water boils at 100 C, or freezes at 0 C, are virtually guaranteed to be wrong.

Fahrenheit actually did good trying to make 96 F equal to body temperature. The human body is remarkably good at maintaining the same body temperature regardless of external factors like location. It only got revised up to 98.6 F when some people after him proposed to redefine the scale based on boiling water at sea level. And 0 F was the lowest temperature likely to be encountered by anyone at the time (it's the freezing point of a brine water solution). Meaning that except for cooking, the temperatures encountered in the vast majority of people's everyday lives fit between 0 and 100 F.

A better argument for Celsius is that, fortuitously, the biggest temperature difference you can sense is about 1 C. Compare 85 F to 86 F and most people will tell you they're about the same. But compare 30 C to 31 C and most people will tell you there's a slight difference.

RE: kph
By Iaiken on 8/6/2010 9:52:34 AM , Rating: 2
Meaning that except for cooking, the temperatures encountered in the vast majority of people's everyday lives fit between 0 and 100 F.

Maybe if you live in a temperate climate.

There are many nations where the temperature hits -40 degrees or colder (thankfully this is the same in both systems) several times each winter.

This was the first year in a long time where southern Ontario didn't dip below -30C.

RE: kph
By Richlet on 8/7/2010 1:14:29 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not an expert, and this isn't a flame, but I'm not sure I understand how 0 and 100 are "weaknesses" when F it's listed as 32F and 212F. Aren't those numbers also only true at sea level? Does the base scale for Fahrenheit change depending on altitude?

RE: kph
By JasonMick (blog) on 8/11/2010 5:29:17 PM , Rating: 3
the international standards prescribe to write kilometers per hour this way: km/h
since this is a "tech" site and speaks about science stuff, you should be more serious about units of measurement. kph stands for " k ilometers p er h our" and is equivalent to km/h.

If you don't believe me type "kph" in Google. It gives you the unit conversion for km/h. Or type it in Wikipedia.

Maybe you have never heard of this abbreviation because of your lack of familiarity with the metric system, but don't blame me for that.

By corduroygt on 8/5/2010 1:31:54 PM , Rating: 3
One step closer to Starship Troopers!

RE: Yes!!!
By theapparition on 8/5/2010 2:41:08 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, but we surpassed bad acting and cheesy graphics long ago.

RE: Yes!!!
By ClownPuncher on 8/5/2010 4:00:19 PM , Rating: 3
It was a book. Y'know, with pages and letters?

RE: Yes!!!
By Cullinaire on 8/5/2010 4:56:20 PM , Rating: 3
On the other hand, we have not surpassed co-ed showers.

RE: Yes!!!
By hduser on 8/5/2010 2:55:11 PM , Rating: 4
One step closer to Starship Troopers!

I was thinking more of the tubes they use in Futurama.

RE: Yes!!!
By jevans64 on 8/7/2010 11:53:10 PM , Rating: 2
Go back a little further, like Logan's Run, Genesis II, or Planet Earth. The latter two were series concept films by the late Gene Roddenberry ( Star Trek. ) Those films featured subterranean trains that linked cities and continents.

By Ammohunt on 8/5/2010 2:06:36 PM , Rating: 2
So you need a pressurized passenger cabin in a vacuum tube sounds like a good way to accidentally die of asphixiation.

RE: hmmm
By hduser on 8/5/2010 2:53:31 PM , Rating: 2
I always wanted to know what it feels like to be in one of those tubes the use to send cash around at Costco.

RE: hmmm
By Solandri on 8/6/2010 1:52:38 AM , Rating: 2
Those aren't vacuum tubes. The just use air pressure to push the canisters around. These trains would be running in an evacuated tube.

On the face of it, it does sound like this train would be much more dangerous due to the vacuum. But bear in mind, at 1000 km/h, any impact accident is pretty much guaranteed to be fatal. The decompression will just finish off anyone who by some miracle manages to survive a crash. (And if you're interested, exposure to vacuum will result in loss of consciousness within 10-15 sec, and death from asphyxiation within 1 minute.)

The bigger technical challenge I think will be maintaining the vacuum in a tube that's several hundred or several thousand km long.

RE: hmmm
By andrinoaa on 8/6/2010 3:01:27 AM , Rating: 1
They didn't specify what type of vacuum. It is simple minded to assume a total vacuum!! How about a partial vacuum? Did you ever contemplate that?

RE: hmmm
By Solandri on 8/6/2010 4:25:57 AM , Rating: 3
Yes it's been contemplated before. The idea is not new.

When you have a plane traveling through a partial vacuum (outside air pressure at 35,000 feet is about 3.5 psi), there's lots of room for the air to move aside and away from the plane. So the air offers little resistance to being pushed out of the way to let the plane through.

Inside a sealed tube is quite a different story. If the air can't be pushed around the train, the train ends up pushing a huge column of air in front of it, which could conceivably make it worse than a regular train in open air. It's even been proposed as a means of helping slow down a train which is approaching its destination. You either have to make the tube much larger in diameter than the train to allow air to pass around it (which multiplies construction and operational costs since the bigger the tube, the more air which needs to be pumped out), or you have to draw a pretty good vacuum.

RE: hmmm
By inperfectdarkness on 8/6/2010 12:15:59 PM , Rating: 2
precisely. transatlantic tunnel. i seriously doubt the ability to actually pull it off successfully for anything other than extremely short distances. tektonic fluctuations are too large for something which requires a precisely sealed enclosure.

RE: hmmm
By ot56 on 8/6/2010 6:30:41 PM , Rating: 2
You actually do not need to worry about teckonic fluctuations for a transatlantic tunnel. Such a tunnel would be composed of tubes designed to be neutrally bouyant at about 100 feet depth. such a tunnel would then float at that depth across the big swamp!

RE: hmmm
By ZoZo on 8/6/2010 3:50:53 AM , Rating: 1
Safety would have to be extremely good.
First of all the tunnel would have to be narrow and sturdy so that the train would never collide head-on with the sides, only slide upon impact.
In the event of an anomaly, a section containing the train should be immediately sealed off and re-pressurized as fast as an air-bag.
The section would have to be quite long to allow the train to decelerate during the anomaly.

Amazingly expensive
By CarbonJoe on 8/5/2010 3:51:32 PM , Rating: 3
This rail line will have to be extremely long (just to allow the train to reach maximum speed and then decelerate back to zero) or it won't reach anywhere near that top speed. Plus, at a cost of $32.49 million per km ($52 million per mile) the rail line costs over $1 billion for just 20 miles. Besides bragging rights, how can China justify the staggering costs for this train? How many people need to travel that far within China to justify this over a standard "bullet train"?

RE: Amazingly expensive
By rrrrrr on 8/5/2010 4:10:14 PM , Rating: 2
Well since the standard rail costs $29.54M per km you would end up at a 20 miles long track for the cost of $945 million.

It seems cheap with the faster line. That's less than 6% of a cost increase for about a 2.5 times increase in speed (calculated at a 400 km/h average normal speed, quite a fast "average" train).

Calculated that a normal train is 200 km/h its a 5 times increase.

RE: Amazingly expensive
By Bono007 on 8/5/2010 4:14:23 PM , Rating: 1
For China cost in last 15 years were never an issue, they have tons and tons of money that they can spend. They produce goods for whole World so they are full of Euros and Dollars.

2000 has become starting point when USA and Europe's producing jobs went to China and similar countries, so low class is out of luck.
2010 is year when they don't need intellectual property because they picked up the pace and soon they will know how to develop products same as rest of western world or better.

RE: Amazingly expensive
By Shadowself on 8/5/2010 4:29:24 PM , Rating: 4
This rail line will have to be extremely long (just to allow the train to reach maximum speed and then decelerate back to zero) or it won't reach anywhere near that top speed.

Actually, with as little as 0.1 "g" acceleration you can get to 1,000 km/hr speed in under 40 km in under five minutes. The real problem is stopping on short notice in an "emergency". If you want to take even as long as 10 seconds to stop from top speed (a near eternity in an emergency) it take a mimum of about 1.4 km and almost 3 "g" of negative acceleration.

RE: Amazingly expensive
By TSS on 8/8/2010 1:37:35 PM , Rating: 2
I'd doubt there will be such a thing as "emergency" stops. Remember, this thing travels in a vacuum tube. What are you going to do after you've stopped? open the doors?

It'll probably be either designated stops or desintergration.

Transportation Gap
By tng on 8/5/2010 8:44:20 PM , Rating: 2
We've discussed a couple of times the U.S.'s growing gap in high speed rail compared to China.

And the gap between the US and Japan, France, Germany......

Seems like the US just can't get it together and get some real high speed rail put together. I don't mean just the 70mph Amtrac stuff, but more like the trains I am used to in Japan that are 150-160mph.

RE: Transportation Gap
By HotFoot on 8/5/2010 10:35:39 PM , Rating: 2
Comparing the U.S. to parts of Canada might be more fair. If the Windsor-Quebec City corridor isn't worth putting a high-speed rail in, then there probably isn't anywhere in the U.S. that has the density/economics to work it, either.

RE: Transportation Gap
By YashBudini on 8/6/2010 2:26:02 PM , Rating: 2
Seems like the US just can't get it together and get some real high speed rail put together

There is an upside to that. Some politicians eager to spend such funding want to put a high speed rail between Albany and Buffalo NY. This would connect nothing to nowhere. Now who would ride these trains besides the same politicians?

I'd rather somebody give them a private jet, it's cheaper.

RE: Transportation Gap
By wookie1 on 8/6/2010 3:33:48 PM , Rating: 2
"Seems like the US just can't get it together "
What? We don't need these trains, we have airplanes. We can even change where they take us without laying new tracks!

But the cost sounds pretty cheap. In the Phoenix area, I think they spent $70M per mile for light rail that travels something like 35mph above ground without any tunnels. They want to extend it, but now at a cost of $100M per mile, still no tunnels anywhere for that cost. Amazing.

Ridin' that train
By Suntan on 8/5/2010 1:22:42 PM , Rating: 2
All I can think of is that 'Dead song, "Casey jones."


RE: Ridin' that train
By MrBlastman on 8/5/2010 1:41:10 PM , Rating: 2
Hmm I guess you can't tie a damsel to the tracks of one of these things and hold her for ransom... or to hold up the train. :(

RE: Ridin' that train
By FaceMaster on 8/5/2010 4:56:27 PM , Rating: 3
Hmm I guess you can't tie a damsel to the tracks of one of these things and hold her for ransom

That is soooo outdated. Vacuum-death is the FUTURE.

75 Years Later
By docinct on 8/5/2010 4:51:31 PM , Rating: 2
So good to see that we are making progress in high speed rail line.
In 1934 the Burlington Pioneer Zephyr made the run from Denver to Chicago run (1,064 miles)in 13 hours (that's averaging 79 MPH); that was on only 418 gal of diesel fuel for 60+ passengers (or about $20 per passenger in today's costs). Regular runs were 90 passengers in 16 hours. Some of the later versions hit 122 MPH for short distances. The trains ran on regular track with some added work on ballast and spikes. In today's terms, the train would cost about $4 million.
By way of comparison , a single MetroNorth passenger car in CT is about $2.8 million. The Acela Express trains average about 80 MPH with peaks of 150 MPH (depends on location); they can go faster.

RE: 75 Years Later
By wookie1 on 8/6/2010 3:39:20 PM , Rating: 2
There's not much return on investment to make rail faster, when airplanes are already available. That leaves it up to the government (and our tax money), and it really isn't a big priority for enough voters to increase our debt even more just so we can get railroad speeds to approach airplane speeds. What real benefit would the "progress" provide? A big money sucking sound for generations?

RE: 75 Years Later
By docinct on 8/6/2010 5:40:14 PM , Rating: 2
737s start at $50 million, plus they need vast amounts of land for airports, infrastructure for airports, ground transportation to and from airports, fuel (1-2,000 gallons per hour), and lot's of time spent getting to and from an airport and then flying. My point was that we had a quick, economical way to use the rails for moving people long distances, and then piddled it away with a "love affair" with cars and planes. The Zephyr was 1930's technology and yet we really haven't improved on it by more than 100% in those 70 odd years.

Just tell me this . . .
By blueboy09 on 8/5/10, Rating: 0
RE: Just tell me this . . .
By ppardee on 8/5/2010 8:40:50 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, there is no inherent danger in going 1000 km/hr. The acceleration up to that point can be dangerous if it isn't gradual. Rapid deceleration, especially when the deceleration is caused by hitting a stationary object with your face, is generally considered hazardous, but once you’ve accelerated, you won’t even know you’re moving unless you slow down, speed up, or change direction.

RE: Just tell me this . . .
By Noliving on 8/6/2010 11:34:13 AM , Rating: 2
Deceleration is not a word, the correct word to use when slowing down is acceleration.

RE: Just tell me this . . .
By gcolefla on 8/6/2010 2:20:19 AM , Rating: 2
The cruising speed of your jet plane (somewhere around 900km/h, max speed around 1100km/h) is just a little lower than this 1000km/h train. I would debate the safety of flying in a tin can in the air (with only aerodynamics and jet thrust to hold it up) with that of being connected to the ground by rails(a more simple machine). Both go the same speed and operate in similar 'vacuum' environments. I think I would just prefer to be on the rails.

Title of the article should have been...
By klstay on 8/6/2010 8:47:51 AM , Rating: 2
"Gullible tree-hugging quarter wit sucked in by Chinese propoganda on high speed rail that will NEVER be built."

By YashBudini on 8/6/2010 4:24:11 PM , Rating: 2
Wait let me guess. Nobody has hugged you today?

By brokenaxiom on 8/7/2010 11:41:22 AM , Rating: 2
The difference between China and America is that China actually builds the things it talks about. They invested over a trillion dollars in internet infrastructure over the last ten years and they are planning to build over 500 billion dollars worth of trains over the next 10 years.

May not happen
By nafhan on 8/5/2010 2:46:29 PM , Rating: 3
This article and espeically the headline make this sound like almost a sure thing. 10 years off is a long way, though.
A big problem with high speed anything is that beyond a certain speed, you start having limited ROI. Essentially, you get the Concorde problem: people aren't going to care a whole lot if they can get from Beijing to Shanghai in one hour or two. Also, to get maximum benefit from high speed rail, you need to minimize the number of stops, which also lowers the number of potential riders.
I would also think there are a lot of safety and maintenance problems unique to running a 1000 km vacuum tunnel. This has been possible for years. Cost vs. benefit is the problem.
Still, this sounds like some very cool tech, and if anyone has the population density to make something like this worth it, it would be China.

RE: May not happen
By finbarqs on 8/5/10, Rating: 0
RE: May not happen
By brokenaxiom on 8/7/2010 11:54:22 AM , Rating: 2
Actually the paradigm shifts based upon the time of transit. For example, if I lived in California, then getting a job in say San Fransisco would prevent me from living in San Diego due to transit time. If I could jump a super train and get there in 35 minutes (for relatively low cost), then I could live in San Diego without incident.

The axiom of commerce is more and faster mobility equals more commerce.

Obvious patents
By oTAL on 8/6/2010 3:19:03 AM , Rating: 2
Daryl Oster, who owns the U.S. patent on evacuated tube (vacuum) rail, now works at the CAE.

I read the title of the article and thought to myself 'hell, at those speeds they might as well have a vacuum or a reduced pressure tube to minimize friction losses'.

I'm a damn software developer and it was obvious to me.

How can you get a patent for this kind of shit??

RE: Obvious patents
By chemist1 on 8/8/2010 6:01:43 PM , Rating: 2
You can't patent ideas; you patent things (or designs for things that are sufficiently detailed such that they could be implemented by someone with standard knowledge of the art). So the patent is not for the idea of a vacuum-tube train, but likely for the engineering design of how to implement it.

Have you ever...
By siconik on 8/5/2010 2:02:29 PM , Rating: 3
...been curios about high-speed demise due to cabin depressurization but had that pesky fear of lying get in your way?

"People Don't Respect Confidentiality in This Industry" -- Sony Computer Entertainment of America President and CEO Jack Tretton

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