China is beginning to explore high speed train technology, and who knows where it could lead. To illustrate some ideas about China’s emerging high-speed train technology, the author provides the following theoretical discussion:
I’ve been discussing the idea that if you put a maglev train in a tube and create a vacuum, then you can run it faster wherever you want it to go. Ok, nice idea, but I should point out the following flaws:
- Every time a train enters this tube it has to be sealed and a vacuum created; the longer the tube the longer this will take.
- Each train will need to carry its own oxygen supply or the passengers will arrive dead, not to mention any pets or other living things.
- In such an environment a train can’t have a kitchen or cook as there can’t be any exhaust.
- Should repairs be needed then the whole track has to be shut down, no traffic.
- If there is some kind of failure then how will people exit the tube? It was suggested that every 500 feet you have a door in case of emergency. OK, but if they can’t keep Biosphere II sealed that had no vacuum, how can they keep a tube with a vacuum sealed? (Look this up yourself.)
- Just how much energy will it take to create and maintain the vacuum?
I’ll leave it at that. Overall I think it’s a dumb idea. But there are solutions right now that can do just about as well and without the need for a vacuum tube.
Driving is possible, but it would take just about forever. A plane could fly it around ten hours. But how about a train?
An electric super-train that can go about half as fast as a plane, or around 300 miles per hour, would take about 20 hours non-stop. There are a number of trains currently available that can go very fast. Some are even called bullet trains. There is one in China known as the CRH380A, which goes from Shanghai to Hangzhou.
I started this article discussing comments on a discussion I had with someone about high speed trains in a tube. The idea is not the tube but maglev. If trains without a tube can attain such speed then how about with maglev technology behind them? Instead of going 300 miles per hour a train could go 400, or possibly even faster with better design.
If these electric trains were powered by solar, wind, methane and wave generated electricity, then they would be far ahead of the U.S., and Germany is already outpacing the U.S. in renewable energy.