The Problem With Fast Trains: What Happened to Hovertrains?

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by alfadog, May 12, 2019.

  1. alfadog

    alfadog En-Route

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    Messages:
    4,718
    Location:
    Miami
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    alfadog
    This is one reason I love YT. I was a teenager when this was current affairs and missed it entirely...

     
  2. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Messages:
    16,713
    Location:
    Catawba, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    FlyingRon
  3. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2014
    Messages:
    11,131
    Location:
    NM or the emergency room...
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Billy
    Well, sir, there's nothing on earth like a genuine, bona fide, electrified, six-car Monorail! What'd I say?
    Monorail!
    What's it called?
    Monorail!
    That's right! Monorail!
    [crowd chants 'Monorail, Monorail']
     
    3393RP, ateamer, overdrive148 and 4 others like this.
  4. alaskazimm

    alaskazimm Filing Flight Plan

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2017
    Messages:
    26
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    alaskazimm
    That's more of a Shelbyville idea . . .
     
  5. 1RTK1

    1RTK1 Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2014
    Messages:
    1,210
    Location:
    Central Left Coast
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ralph
    Well we have a bullet train planned here on the left coast.. Billions over budget, not running and if ever completed will go first from Bakersfield to Merced.. lol
    Projections say it will have little ridership and will lose money.
     
  6. alfadog

    alfadog En-Route

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    Messages:
    4,718
    Location:
    Miami
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    alfadog
    It's not clear from the title but these were a series of hovertrains as in "cushion of air" that were prototyped in France, England, and the US. The most progress was made in France where the prototype train had not one but two gas turbines, a turbofan for propulsion and a gas turbine compressor to provide the cushioning air. More recently, when we think of "hovertrain", I imagine most of us think of maglev.
     
  7. cgrab

    cgrab Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    May 2, 2014
    Messages:
    1,740
    Location:
    Huntsville AL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    cgrab
    I worked on a maglev project many years ago. Sorry to say but it never got off the ground ha, ha. The economics don't work in the USA. The train needs to go where the people are and the ground needed for the project is too expensive because hey, the people live there. Our project was a rail from Norfolk to VA Beach but with all the stops and real estate costs, it didn't make sense and now they have a light rail which is, you guessed it, loosing money.
     
  8. Lachlan

    Lachlan En-Route

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2015
    Messages:
    3,025
    Location:
    North Creek, NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Lachlan
    Hover trains failed because too few people believe in ground effect.
     
  9. chartbundle

    chartbundle Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2011
    Messages:
    1,147
    Location:
    State of Confusion
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    chartbundle
    Maybe it's just me, but I look at that 'project' and wonder just how much you could improve commercial air travel and public transit to get to airports in California for the same 100 billion(or whatever the number is now).
     
  10. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    8,458
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    PaulS
    I think airplanes will beat fast trains for transporting people every time. The problem with trains is they must ride on tracks, which are hugely expensive to install and maintain. Once tracks are in they are impossible to move for changing times and demographics. With an airplane if a route becomes unprofitable, you stop flying there and fly somewhere else. With a train, you can stop going somewhere but it is tougher to go somewhere else without spending huge amounts of money on tracks.
     
  11. Lndwarrior

    Lndwarrior Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2009
    Messages:
    345
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Gary
    I rode on a maglev train from Seoul to the southern part of Korea. 200 miles per hour and you couldnt feel a bump. Extremely quiet too.

    The US is a third world country compared to many Asian countries when it comes to advanced technology.

    I would take that over commercial flying medium distances any day.

    Choice of an express bullet train from San Francisco to LA vs flying out of SFO TO LAX? I bet 60% would choose the bullet train.
     
  12. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Messages:
    4,542
    Location:
    Marietta, GA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Drake the Outlaw
    Do the math for what just the land would cost for a 100' right of way from LA to SF. Ain't cheap, and some landowners (and/or environmental groups) will fight you tooth and nail, adding to your expenses and delaying your project.

    The difference in some Asian countries (e.g. China) is the central government owns all of the land and has the right to relocate the tenant. Meaning they can acquire land for infrastructure projects pretty quickly and at a relatively low cost.
     
    MuseChaser likes this.
  13. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2015
    Messages:
    6,625
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Aztec Flyer
    When I lived in London, UK, I took the Eurostar to Paris and back several times. Infinitely more civilized way to travel compared to commercial air. And faster point-to-point as it went city center to city center.

    Don't understand why Boston, NY and DC aren't already linked. Especially given what a TSA PITA it is to board a plane these days.
     
  14. PaulS

    PaulS Final Approach

    Joined:
    May 29, 2007
    Messages:
    8,458
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    PaulS
    Boston, NY and DC are linked, with an expensive Acela train that has issues enough of the time to make it not reliable as a mode of transportation when you need to be there.
     
  15. ElPaso Pilot

    ElPaso Pilot Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    May 26, 2006
    Messages:
    1,461
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    ElPaso Pilot
  16. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2015
    Messages:
    6,625
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Aztec Flyer
  17. Everskyward

    Everskyward Administrator Management Council Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2005
    Messages:
    32,010
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Everskyward
    That, plus the fact that labor is less expensive, and people don't own as many personal cars, percentage wise, as those in the US. My first choice would be driving myself from SF to LA.
     
  18. Pugs

    Pugs Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Oct 24, 2018
    Messages:
    129
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Pugs
    They did extensive research using the movie silver streak. :rolleyes:
     
  19. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2014
    Messages:
    11,131
    Location:
    NM or the emergency room...
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Billy
    :lol::lol::lol:

    But seriously, before 9/11, the tracks between Gallup and Flagstaff had been tampered with, as in a rail was removed and the safety device bypassed, 6 different times. It never made the national news. And a train was never destroyed. It is thought that whoever was doing it simply gave up because they were not able to kill a large amount of people by crashing an Amtrak train.
     
  20. Cap'n Jack

    Cap'n Jack Final Approach

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2006
    Messages:
    6,596
    Location:
    Nebraska
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Cap'n Jack
    It depends on the region. The USA, I tend to agree with you with a few exceptions (Boston to Wash DC, maybe the west coast). Europe is a different situation. Last year I went Madrid to Barcelona, 300 KPH (162 knots) the whole way and smooth, very nice. Last week I took the ICE and a local train from Frankfurt to Biberach, and again from Dusseldorf to Frankfurt airport. not quite as fast as the Spanish train, but faster than driving. I doubt flying would have been faster, certainly less convenient.
     
  21. Hank S

    Hank S En-Route

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2013
    Messages:
    4,696
    Location:
    Eclectic, AL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Hank
    Much travel in Europe is pretty short distance. Over there, 50 miles is a long way; i have coworkers whose one-way commute is longer than that.

    For rail in the U.S, look at routes like Atlanta to Dallas, or Chicago to St. Louis, plus the proverbial NYC to LA . . . . Aint gonna happen, even at 162 knots . . . .
     
  22. kyleb

    kyleb En-Route PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2008
    Messages:
    4,542
    Location:
    Marietta, GA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Drake the Outlaw
    Exactly. The NE Corridor is about the only place it makes sense. Boston to DC with intermediate stops and maybe a few branches.
     
  23. ateamer

    ateamer Line Up and Wait

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2007
    Messages:
    626
    Location:
    Port St. Lucie, FL
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    ateamer
    Is there a chance the track could bend?
     
    Zeldman likes this.
  24. Lachlan

    Lachlan En-Route

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2015
    Messages:
    3,025
    Location:
    North Creek, NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Lachlan
    "Train on the water, boat on the track!"
     
  25. Matthew

    Matthew Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Messages:
    15,292
    Location:
    kojc, kixd, k34
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Matthew
    I worked with a guy that went to France for a trade show. He was jet lagged and fell asleep on one of their bullet trains.

    He eventually made it back home and told me, “You have no idea what it’s like to miss a stop until you oversleep for 30 minutes at 200mph.”
     
  26. GRG55

    GRG55 Final Approach

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2015
    Messages:
    6,625
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Aztec Flyer
    Huh??? :confused: o_O

    upload_2019-5-12_21-49-56.png
     
  27. flyingron

    flyingron Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Messages:
    16,713
    Location:
    Catawba, NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    FlyingRon
    I was on the TGV last month and we maxed out around 190 MPH. That's on conventional rails (albeit setup for such speeds). The Acela the NE corridor only manages less than half that over much of its route because the various bridges and roadbeds aren't quite up to it. I think the maximum peak speed it ever can obtain is about 135. Of course, the feds made the thing engineered to be able to withstand slamming into a freight train because the tracks aren't dedicated which cost it a bit. This is the relic of the Amtrak-Contrail crash back in 1987 in Chase, MD where the Contrail guys were smoking pot and taped over the sonalert that warned them they were blowing through signals. My fire company was one of the first on the scene for that mess.
     
  28. weilke

    weilke Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    12,940
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    weilke
    If the Acela had a dedicated right of way, it wouldnt have half the problems it does. Most of the delays are related to either signaling on the 150year old Pennsylvania RR tracks or the other slow-poke trains they share the ROW with.
     
  29. Zeldman

    Zeldman Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2014
    Messages:
    11,131
    Location:
    NM or the emergency room...
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Billy
    Not on your life, my Hindu friend,
     
  30. EdFred

    EdFred Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2005
    Messages:
    23,175
    Location:
    Michigan
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ed Frederick
    Only way high speed rail would work in the USA is if we got rid of all cars. It's just too spread out, and you would have to hub and spoke it, and that's going to just not be convenient at all. You could probably get by with Class B city to Class B city, but then if you want to go from ATL to LAX, you're going to have stops in Memphis, Dallas, Phoenix...and who's going to do that? Nevermind trying to get from Oxford, MS to Des Moines.
     
    Ghery likes this.
  31. Ghery

    Ghery Final Approach

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2005
    Messages:
    9,699
    Location:
    Olympia, Washington
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Ghery Pettit
    Either of you aware of public transportation on the Alaska Highway? Sure, you can drive your car (or pickup, or RV) on the road, but for getting to Anchorage by public transportation without an airline, water seems to be the only other option.
     
  32. alfadog

    alfadog En-Route

    Joined:
    May 3, 2010
    Messages:
    4,718
    Location:
    Miami
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    alfadog
    The trick is to realize that there is no track.
     
  33. PPC1052

    PPC1052 En-Route

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2012
    Messages:
    4,340
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    PPC
    And I am sure those projections are over-optimistic, too.