China High Speed Train to Travel at 600+ MPH
“Faster than a Speeding Bullet” may someday apply to the high speed train system in China. The Beijing-Shanghai high speed train route, scheduled for completion by 2012, will set a new record of 380 km per hour (236 mph). But transportation officials in China have plans to use a vacuum system to remove air friction and increase the speed of their high speed train system to 1,000 kph, or 621 mph.
With airplanes averaging a speed of 500 to 600 mph, a high speed train that can travel over 600 mph may make rail a viable alternative for longer distances. But China is facing questions about the cost of the current system, including $120 billion to lay 6,000 km of track, and the $300 million cost of removing air with vacuum tubes.
No one has yet addressed the safety issues of the new proposal. Perhaps we will one day see trains equipped with seat belts and overhead oxygen masks like those seen on planes, in order to prevent injury or suffocation if a train collides with something, gets stuck in a tunnel, or if power is lost. Safety issues will need to be addressed soon since China is moving forward quickly with its high speed train technology and has plans to export these technological advances to other countries.