Feeds

Rigid sky-train to fly through magnetic rings on sticks

Plus: Plan for 500mph Vegas-LA hovercraft link

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Updated Promoters in Las Vegas this week vied to offer the wildest ideas for a new super-fast mass transit link between the desert gambling mecca and Los Angeles. Plans were presented for a "railless" train which would fly through magnetic rings mounted atop pillars and a "sunlight bullet expressway" employing "large air-cushioned hovercraft".

Artist's concept of the Tubular Rail system in use in London. Credit: Tubular Rail

What, no more movie clips of trains going into tunnels?

The Las Vegas Sun reports on a forum held this week at the University of Nevada, at which various upstart startups presented radical alternative notions to the idea of a boring old railway between Vegas and the Coast.

First up, according to the Sun, was Robert Pulliam of Houston firm Tubular Rail. Tubular Rail's proposal is to build a series of magnetic hoops mounted on tall support pillars. A rigid mag-lev train would fly along the line spearing through the hoops. It would be supported by at least three rings at any given time, with the "rails" (actually part of the train) propelled along at 150mph by magnetic motors in each ring tower.

The Sun quotes Pulliam as stating that the Tubular Rail system is best for "long, straight routes across the desert," but as the company pic above illustrates, it has also been pitched for more congested environments.

Apart from Tubular Rail, other bidders for the Vegas-LA link included America's Sunlight Bullet Expressway. This concept would apparently include solar panels mounted on a roof-like structure all along the route, with an unspecified transport system running underneath. There would also be power transmission lines to carry the solar power and feed the transporter tech.

According to the Sun, Lou Baker of ASBE described the moving-people part of the concept as "a broad-based air-cushioned vehicle similar to a large hovercraft" capable of moving at 500mph with 1400 people aboard.

There was also representation from AVT SolaTrek, a relatively humdrum scheme which would see Americans driving their cars aboard individual "automated shuttles" which would accelerate on spur lines to join a stream of similar podules racing east or west on elevated solar-powered maglev tracks. Each one-car shuttlepod would be "private", featuring "air conditioning, vending machines, restrooms and entertainment centers" for a comfortable journey and no need to mix with the travelling public.

At the other end, one would simply drive one's car off the shuttlepod and on one's way, never even needing to step out of air conditioning.

According to the Sun, AVT SolaTrek and Tubular Rail are the most advanced of the projects: but even so they seem likely to be seen off by an ordinary boring maglev train - or even a prehistoric "steel-wheels-on-rails" job. ®

Update

Mr Pulliam has been in touch to say that in fact the hoops up the poles would not contain magnetic motors but electric motors turning rollers to propel the train's side rails along. In no way does his plan involve magnetism (except that, of course, magnetism is what electric motors run on). See his comment under "TR" in the comments section for details.

Bootnote

Fans of the great Robert Heinlein will recognise some of these ideas. The late sci-fi master wrote long ago of America-spanning "road cities" powered by rooftop solar panels, and also of zooming airborne trains which would soar between tunnels bored through hills (beginning of Starman Jones).

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Antarctic ice THICKER than first feared – penguin-bot boffins
Robo-sub scans freezing waters, rocks warming models
I'll be back (and forward): Hollywood's time travel tribulations
Quick, call the Time Cops to sort out this paradox!
Your PHONE is slowly KILLING YOU
Doctors find new Digitillnesses - 'text neck' and 'telepressure'
Reuse the Force, Luke: SpaceX's Elon Musk reveals X-WING designs
And a floating carrier for recyclable rockets
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
prev story

Whitepapers

Go beyond APM with real-time IT operations analytics
How IT operations teams can harness the wealth of wire data already flowing through their environment for real-time operational intelligence.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Simplify SSL certificate management across the enterprise
Simple steps to take control of SSL across the enterprise, and recommendations for a management platform for full visibility and single-point of control for these Certificates.