China Developing "Evacuated Tube Transport" (ETT) Maglev Trains

It was not all that long ago that Magnetic Levitating Trains came on the Scene, in Jan 2004, the worlds first Mag Lev train came online in shanghai to help trainsport people to it’s airport.

Magnetic Levitating (MagLev) Trains have since prooved themselves in reliability and cost, even though the initial cost of capital investment is high, thier running cost lower, considering they have no moving parts to maintain or break down, and its electric intrastrucutre allows it to operate much more effienctly that any petro-chemical counterpart.

the top speed of mag lev trains have been pretty fast compared to normal trains. between 200-300km/h, due tot hat fact that the whole train levitated on a cussion of air, as opposed to standing ona  rail, there is less frictional forces at play, enabling faster travel, but also, it is much safer than a conventional train which would easiely de-rail at these speeds. it is impossible in the conventional sense for a maglev train to de-rail.

so maglev trains really are the top dog of all land based transportation at the moment, but there is one thing that doesn’t out do them. air travel. a typical aeroplane can travel at 750-800km/h.they can only do this at high altitude thought, where the air is thinner, if they were at ground level, they could not travel at these “cruise” speeds.

Air resistance is a very significant force at high speeds, you only need to put your hand out of a car window on a motorway to understand how heavy it can then feel.

this is the major factor into what limits the top speed of any transportation system. remove the air, you increase the top speed. this is why spaceships in orbit in the vacuum of space can travel thousands of km/h without a problem.

China are developing maglev trains, inside a low pressure tube system, this way the air can be removed from the transport tube and there will be minimal friction for the track and the air drag, then the opnly problem comes from howmuch power you want to use to get faster and faster.

these low pressure vacuum tubes are currently being put through thier prototpye stage, but could mean speeds of upto 600-1000km/h depending on the pressure inside the evacuated tube system.

the theoretical maximum speed for a complete vacuum tube transport system could be as high as 10,000km/h, so there is alot of room for improovement once these systems are built.

For example, in the future if an ETT was build from New York to London, it would be possible to have a one-way trip that would take 55mins! with constant steady acceleration for half the journey and decelereation for the remaining half. passengers would experience only a steady 10 degree incline in gravity or decline depending. and it would be possible to get there in 20 mins, but the ge-forces involved in this type of transport would be rather un-comfortable for typical passenger transport. but it could be used for Postal services…

china are planning to have the first ETT built and tested by early 2020′s – so this could become a major competitor to todays air travel systems, given that they are more re-useable, safe and enviromentally friendly, i can imagine this technology being quickly adopted by the world to replace all our old aging long haul transport intrastructure.

fingers crossed that it all works out, and may we can all pop half way across the world for a quick day visit, and be back home for tea.