Feeds

Rigid sky-train to fly through magnetic rings on sticks

Plus: Plan for 500mph Vegas-LA hovercraft link

Application security programs and practises

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).

Build a business case: developing custom apps

More from The Register

next story
Asteroid's DINO KILLING SPREE just bad luck – boffins
Sauricide WASN'T inevitable, reckon scientists
BEST BATTERY EVER: All lithium, all the time, plus a dash of carbon nano-stuff
We have found the Holy Grail (of batteries) - boffins
The Sun took a day off last week and made NO sunspots
Someone needs to get that lazy star cooking again before things get cold around here
Boffins discuss AI space program at hush-hush IARPA confab
IBM, MIT, plenty of others invited to fill Uncle Sam's spy toolchest, but where's Google?
Famous 'Dish' radio telescope to be emptied in budget crisis: CSIRO
Radio astronomy suffering to protect Square Kilometre Array
Bad back? Show some spine and stop popping paracetamol
Study finds common pain-killer doesn't reduce pain or shorten recovery
Forty-five years ago: FOOTPRINTS FOUND ON MOON
NASA won't be back any time soon, sadly
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.