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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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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.

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