Superfast double-decker trains will be taking passengers from London to six big cities in the UK by 2033.
The Government set out plans for the high speed rail network – known as HS2 – on Monday (28 January). When the project is finished, it will take a lot less time to get to London from major cities like Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. Read More
They have been promised for decades, but is it now finally the time for magnetic levitation (maglev) trains to hit the mainstream?
As a vision of the future it is a little underwhelming. A battered shipping container sits on top of a black platform that straddles a 130m (400ft) raised track. As I climb into the metal box, I note there are no seats and very little to hold on to.
I am still excited though, as I am about to ride the only magnetic levitation, or Maglev, train in the United States, owned and operated by General Atomic.
A red light flashes, there is a jolt and then a sense that we are floating…because we are. The platform beneath the cargo container I am in is being buoyed up and moved along by powerful electromagnets, allowing the train to move with low friction and no moving parts. As we move off, there is hardly any sound. A gentle whine is the only indication of the current flowing through the track below, and the main noise we can hear is trucks on the nearby freeway. As the shipping container gathers speed, the wind blows through the open doors and the ride is smooth and effortless. Just 20 seconds later we are at a standstill, but it is enough to help me understand why proponents believe Maglev systems are the future of trains and high-speed, long-distance travel.
Vacuum trains promise to speed between Europe and the US faster than a plane. But will they ever make it off the drawing board?
Transatlantic passengers on Concorde often referred to the supersonic plane as their “time machine” for its ability to land in New York two hours before it left London.
But that kind of illusion could look like child’s play if so-called vacuum trains ever take off.
These futuristic transporters, designed to hurtle through tunnels that have had all of the air sucked out of them, could theoretically hit speeds of up to 4,000 km/h (2,500 mph), cutting the commute from Europe to North America to just one hour. In this high-speed future, passengers would arrive a full four hours before they set off. Read More