|Quoting Aesma (Reply 6):|
Well if it's underground there is no way it can be cheap. And wouldn't it be suicidal in unstable California ?
There are lots of underground railways in CA
. BART and MUNI both operate underground for large portions of their respective networks. BART crosses the Bay in a submerged tube. Los Angeles has a subway.
The cost, on the other hand, is going to be the show-stopper here.
HSR lines are already expensive enough to build. Maglev lines are about twice as expensive to build per unit length. So now we're talking about a subterranian maglev in an evacuated tube. That's got to be at least twice as expensive per unit length again... probably 3-4x.
I agree that the CA
HSR proposal has become increasingly ridiculous. It will be slower than any other "HSR" system except for Acela and takes an absurdly circuitous route. But I am not sure that this has any better chances. Yes, an evacuated "vactrain" could theoretically move indefinitely fast, but the costs (and safety issues...what happens if a train breaks down in an evacuated tube?) are going to be really hard to overcome.
The one thing it WON'T need a lot of is power. In a vacuum, the power to accelerate the train is considerable, but once it is at speed, there is minimal friction to fight so it will need minimal input to maintain its speed. And then on braking, most of the energy used in acceleration could be reclaimed. I daresay that the vacuum pumps and onboard systems (air/climate control, lighting, entertainment, etc.) will be the main power draws. In fact, they could even use conventional steel rails in a vacuum and still achieve mind-blowing speeds, since the friction in such a system is pretty small. And if you used the bogies as conductors, you could run the current up one rail, across the bogies, and back down the other rail and then have a rail gun. Kinda neat.
A lot of the cost to CA
's system isn't physical; it's bureaucratic. Environmental impact statements, etc. etc. etc. So even if he thinks he could build his system for less than CA
's, he's not taking into account the fact that he has to deal with all the red tape.