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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 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.

"There's no chance that the iPhone is going to get any significant market share. No chance." -- Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer

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