Sunday, May 11, 2014

All Roads Lead to China

How China could change the way the world travels - the "Super Orient Express". Could supersonic trains replace air travel? Here are two very interesting articles on advanced rail travel.

In less than two decades, China has lifted a great deal of its population out of poverty through shear determination and ingenuity. Where has the West gone wrong? One word would explain the failure of the West - GREED. China has created over 1,000,000 millionaires and numerous billionaires in that very same time period. While not as noticeable, Russia's wealth appears to fly under the radar.

We have Obama, Cameron and Harper to thank for our two major industries, "oil and war".

​China tests 3,000-kph ‘super-Maglev’ train concept

Published time: May 10, 2014 14:25

Maglev train drives into terminal station in Shanghai (Reuters / Ming Ming)
Maglev train drives into terminal station in Shanghai (Reuters / Ming Ming)
Chinese researchers at the Applied Superconductivity Laboratory of Southwest Jiaotong University claim their fast transportation concept based on magnetic levitation (Maglev) technology could potentially be three times faster than an airplane.

Maglev technology was first proposed in the mid-20th century. Nowadays, the Shanghai Maglev Train can reach speeds of over 430 kilometers (260 miles) per hour and is the world’s fastest passenger-carrying train.

The “Super-Maglev” could, however, beat even that. Chinese researchers have been testing a concept train encapsulated in a vacuum tube, thus decreasing the speed limitations imposed by air resistance on regular Maglev trains.

Should the project be successful, the workable prototype will set the standard for the future evacuation tube transportation (ETT).

“ETT systems might allow HTS Maglev trains to attain speeds in a new order of magnitude, such as super-high 3,000 km (1,800 miles) per hour, which could be applied to some military or space launch systems,” Dr. Deng Zigang, who’s been developing the technology for years, told The Daily Mail.

At the moment, the testing laboratory looks like a toy train track with the vehicle running inside a 6-meter diameter vacuum loop, reaching a speed of about 48 kilometers per hour. But the speed is only limited by the small radius of the ring, Dr. Deng Zigang says.

He says that if the speed exceeds 400 km per hour, more than 83 per cent of traction energy is wastefully dissipated in air resistance. But with a vacuum tube design, that speed could be surpassed in the future.

The researcher doesn’t limit his innovation to land-based transportation only, and hopes that similar vacuum tube technology would be used to launch space vehicles, or enable super-high speeds for military weapons.

Chinese authorities, on the other hand, could utilize the novelty in their grand scheme to link the country with Russia, Canada and the United States with a high-speed railway.


China wants to build high-speed railway to US through Siberia and Bering Strait

Published time: May 09, 2014 16:53

The idea of traveling between the United States and China without flying might seem ridiculous to virtually everyone, but if Beijing gets its way that’s exactly what will be possible in the future.

According to a report in the Beijing Times stated on Thursday that the country is considering building a new high-speed railway that would ultimately connect it with the lower 48 states of the US.

Specifically, the route currently under consideration would begin in northeastern China and run through Siberia to the Bering Strait. At this point, there would be an underground tunnel that cuts through the Pacific Ocean to connect Russia and Alaska, from which the train would continue south through Canada until arriving again in the United States.

The most ambitious part of the project would, of course, involve constructing the undersea tunnel that would make traveling across the Bering Strait possible. At 200km (125 miles) long, the tunnel would represent a daunting engineering challenge – that’s four times the length of the Channel Tunnel connecting the United Kingdom to France – but China Daily stated the technology is “already in place” and will be used in a separate high-speed rail project.

Overall, the Guardian notes the entire trip would clock in at 13,000 km (nearly 8,100 miles) – extending even further than the Trans-Siberian Railway. The plan is currently known as the “China-Russia-Canada-America” line, and experts project the entire journey would take about two days, with the train moving at an average speed of 220 miles per hour.

Additionally, China Daily “the project will be funded and constructed by China,” though the details have yet to be ironed out.

"Right now we're already in discussions. Russia has already been thinking about this for many years," said Wang Mengshu of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

Still, many questions remain unanswered. The Guardian reported that no other railway experts have expressed support for the plan, while it’s uncertain whether or not the US or Canada have been briefed or consulted on the plan.

According to the Beijing Times, the China-US railway is just one of four ambitious projects he country is thinking about undertaking. One line would connect China to London with stops in Paris, Berlin, and Moscow, while another would link the country to countries like Iran and Turkey. A fourth line, meanwhile, would stretch from China to Singapore, stopping in Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, and Malaysia.


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