Vacuum Trains: Future Travel Might Really Suck
The concept of the "jet set" has already been a quaint anachronism for decades, but for those looking to cruise back and forth across the ocean for the purpose of global metropolis-hopping, it's been a long, long time since any significant innovations have come down the line. In other words — where the @#$% are those goddamn jetpacks we were promised as kids? Up until now, Jetsons-like developments designed to catch our travel experience up with the dizzying of pace of, say, computer technology, have been conspicuously lacking, to say the least. But according to the folks at the BBC's Future tech column, help may be on the way. Who's up for riding in a vacuum train?
No, we're not talking about taking a Hoover on the subway with you. The idea behind the vacuum train is that the main thing slowing down airplanes on their way through the sky is air pressure. A vacuum train would move through a tunnel -- either underground or aboveground, or maybe even underwater -- that's had all the air sucked out of it. With no pesky air to impede its progress, it's estimated that a vacuum train could get passengers back and forth between the U.S. and Europe quicker than the Concorde's supersonic speed. The Future article claims that the trains "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." Anybody want to meet for tea in London, say about an hour from now?