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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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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?

"This is from the It's a science website." -- Rush Limbaugh

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