Moving away from oil Part 5

The need to get around will always be there. Sometimes flying is the best choice for today’s passengers. But as the technology evolves, some may say you can fly today and never leave the ground.

The average commercial aircraft has a ground speed of about 575 MPH and can get you from New York to Los Angeles in about 5 hours give or take. As life in America goes everything is rush and multi task. At 35000 feet, you have limited multi task options.

Enter the high speed train that can today eat up 300 miles in a hour, and speed records around 360 MPH. The same trip counting a few stops along the way will take about 10 hours. That for some may be too long but consider you will have full Internet access as well as use of your phone the entire time. So in fact you will have no down time.

Not everyone will make that run, and most will opt for trips of half that distance. However that is with today’s technology. Fast forward about 25 years to around 2035 and give some thought to that technology.

Imagine if you would a train propelled by magnets. They have them today and even some roller coasters have trashed the hook and chain for magnets to launch the ride. With this technology there is no speed limit. Trains achieving speeds at or faster than commercial aircraft are entirely possible. The speed limiting factor would be wind resistance. The train would never touch the rail as it would always be suspended by magnetic fields. That will result in a smooth fast ride. The power source could come from windmills along the way as well as a wind driven turbine on the train to generate power for the train.

So imagine the same New York to Los Angeles trip in 5 hours on the ground, and you can see that this becomes viable. Aircraft would then shift to be more international over seas use. No matter how you look at it, this will be a fun way to get around.

The cost of train fare would be less than flying possibly only 40% of the cost as there will be no fuel to pay for. Look at what percentage of airfare goes to fuel, and you begin to see the numbers.

The jobs for this will be long term in building the magnetic levitation track as well as the fleet of trains. This train network could easily employ the same number of employees as the airlines and make driving seem too slow and obsolete.

There is no doubt a lot of work needs to be done to bring all of this to be. However the hardest job in getting away from oil is not done with a hammer and wrench. That difficult job is getting Americans to change the way they think. They will not give up the independence of the car for very long. Once the new technology is in place, Americans can climb back in their car and do what they always have done.

One Response to Moving away from oil Part 5

  1. Mike Hunt says:

    Nice idea. The of the infrastructure makes this pretty unattractive. Also wind resistance goes up as a function of velocity squared, therefore the power you need (force X velocity) to get the train moving faster is dependent on the velocity cubed.

    Remember when a plane flies at 565 MPH it is at 30,000 feet where the air resistance is much less. Even a plane cannot fly 565 MPH at sea level unless it’s in a full speed crash with the ground.

    Suggest you study some Engineering fundamentals to challenge some of the big ideas you present here.