Perhaps the thrust carriage control systems could be made smart so they automatically maintain safe spacing between vehicles and adapt their speed to the volume of traffic. They'd communicate with the vehicle to tell them when the coupling was about to end so that the vehicle can engage its own drive train to take over smoothly. Or the vehicle's self-driving systems tell the thrust carriage how fast to go depending on the traffic conditions.
This could massively extend the range of electric cars. Burying the pipes in the road network would obviously be very expensive, but the size mentioned in the article (12 inch diameter) is not prohibitive.
It would probably require electrically driven thrust carriages rather than pneumatic - you would need one for every car using the system. Trucks might need 2 or 3 or more to provide enough thrust. If a magnetic coupling really works, it would be possible to attach and detach from the thrust carriage at motorway intersections without slowing down any more than cars do at the moment.
Not necessarily one per car. You'd probably have a chain of thrust carriages, with maybe some spacing in between each individual carriage. One or several cars would clump onto a thrust carriage -- there's nothing to prevent them from being quite long.
When it's time to get off the highway there might be a hole in the clump for a bit until someone getting onto the highway fills it in.
The one issue I see is that, in order to disconnect from the thrust carriage, you have to have a way to do so. The logical method is to use an electromagnet that can be powered on/off to connect/disconnect but then the car has to power that -- and that might sap it's range a bit.
The same company also installed a line in Jakarta, Indonesia which has been in operation for 28 years.
 more pictures including the new one: https://www.flickr.com/search/?text=aeromovel%20porto%20aleg...
And I missing something but aside form the gradient capability I didn't see much advantage presented here. And if you are going to build these atmospheric pipes why not put the carriages inside them? I wonder if you could combine the 2. Have express trains shooting through the pipes and local/scenic trains riding that energy on-top. Workable or not, great to see people developing ideas!
Because when the vacuum breaks then people die if they are inside. This happens to be one of the biggest weaknesses of Hyperloop. It's not a good system when a failure _anywhere_ in the pipes causes a massive loss of life. If this guy's propulsion fails then, well, the train stops gradually, not a biggie. If air enters into a vacuum tube where the Hyperloop carriage is, the shockwave will do something to the carriage people ride in and it won't be pretty.
This is Thunderf00t's "shock wave" argument, and it has survived frequent debunkings. Are we really so easily misled that slapping sciencey branding behind any poorly thought out claim will cause people to repeat it as truth?
The huge thing he forgot is... pipes are not lossless! A tube break would initially cause the air to rush in at the speed of sound, but after a few kilometers the backpressure from friction with the tube walls will slow the air to highway speed and spread out the pressure rise. The way it works out, if you're close enough to the breach to be killed by the pressure wave, you're close enough that you can't stop in time before derailing.
Huh? Who's derailing here? The problem is, again, that if just a seal breaks close enough to a carriage, you are dead. This is not comparable to a derailing which requires quite a bit of things go wrong on a normal train or the propulsion dying in this elderly chap's magnetic train.
2. Speed. 1600 km/s is pretty snappy.
Thunderf00t tends to wibble on a bit and repeat repeat himself, but he does make his point.
Relevant bits start about 6m22s.
Or at 10m28s in this video:
Way too snappy. Surely you meant /h not /s
His critiques of poorly-conceived technological concepts, in particular the "Solar Freakin' Roadways" scam, and Hyperloop, strike me as largely on-mark (if repetitious and self-rightous).
I'm not familiar with any Nazi or other associations, though that would be most unfortunate.
RationalWiki addresses some of this:
It has no bearing on the technical criticisms addressed above, however.
If he's dishonest (not that he's wrong, but that he's dishonest) about basic social studies why should I trust his science? Let alone his experimental results? To be fair he recently disassociated himself from the alt-right ("not") nazis. So there is that at least.
The train is propelled by being magnetically coupled to a shuttle running underneath it. You could have more than one such shuttle; and the shuttles wouldn't have to run the whole length of the trip (potentially hundreds of kilometers in Germany, for example). There could be a new engine every few kilometers, with a backup. These engine units would be easy to replace; even easier than trying push a train off the track (which is not easy).
> ...if you are going to build these atmospheric pipes why not put the carriages inside them?
The pipe has to be much bigger to do that, and the pipe has to have an airlock to let people in and out of the train car. The airlock especially is apt to be a source of maintenance problems and safety incidents.
In addition to all the safety constraints mentioned, it's just simpler to build a 12-inch diameter vacuum pipe than a 12-foot diameter pipe. It might be possible to constrain the rolling stock on a line so it all clears the pipe, with some trains propelled by the vacuum pipe, and others propelled by an attached locomotive (such as maintenance vehicles, or conventional trains when the vacuum system is under maintenance, etc)
How do you mean? You can push failed trains along the track with another locomotive, or you can crane them off (if you can get a crane nearby!), but you can't just push them to the side?
There's no physical connection with the piston in the pipe, just a big magnetic field. Without air pressure differential to make an air-bearing the friction between the magnet and the pipe wall might make it impossible to drag the train along. In a way, having a built in emergency brake might not be that much of a bug...
Another difference between humans and bulk cargo WRT transport systems is humans will self unload and self load into slower and less ecological and less efficient more expensive transport when and if necessary. Surely in the event of a breakdown a fleet of smokey diesel charter buses and taxis would appear to transport the people. On the other hand, the railroad has a real problem if a thousand tons of coal cars breaks down in the middle of a route, that coal isn't going to walk itself into an adjacent pickup truck or something.
I'm not sure I follow. There has to be some way to start moving from a dead stop, so the plug will probably already have some kind of wheels or bearings to allow it to get moving until there's enough velocity to make the air-bearing work.
You'd only need to move the disabled carriage / section to one of those to enable at least some capacity for the line to continue operating.
That was my interpretation of the comment.
I believe "siding" is the word you are looking for.
* You can re-use existing carriages without having to seal them hermetically.
* You don't have to build a sealed tube for humans: No emergency exits every mile or so, no airlocks at stations except for maintenance access.
* Because the system seems to be just as wide as the tracks, existing tracks could step-by-step be retrofitted.
* Give the construction crew a few extra bucks to put some fibres in there ;)
Isn't that what has already been done (at least in North America?) Weren't most fiber lines run in existing railway right-of-ways?
I don't you want your fibre getting smashed by magnets all day :P
Southern Pacific Railroad Internal Network Telecommunications, or SPRINT. The telecommunications name survives. The railroad is now part of Union Pacific.
I suspect that the folks putting fiber in railroad right of way know how to avoid crushing failure.
If you want to run fibre along, and it's a good idea while you're digging away, do it in a parallel but separate tube.
Good point about it breaking down.
An electric cable seems way easier to maintain (and repair) than an atmospheric sealed tube.
And this has absolutely no relation with hyperloop, that solves a completely different problem (air drag at high speed)
Seems like the system is capable running different trains in different sections; the pressure/vacuum system is distributed and segmented down the length of the line.
> a ratio of payload to dead-weight of about 1:1, which is up to three times better than conventional alternatives.
I guess you could have sections every half mile or so but that sounds crazy expensive. Putting a pump out in the middle of nowhere.
And how would train yards work? Assuming you used sections how long would they be? 10 feet?
Cool idea though, first time I've seen it.
What I would like to see:
1. An inter European Rail network. Possible 4 Tracks (freight and personal.
2. This trains should be able to connect and disconnect wagons automatically. Hence a fast train may ride from Lisbon , 3 wagons get disconnected outside the city in a railroad shunting yard and then continue to Madrid, the rest of the train bypasses the city and heads to the next big center.
3. See this technology widely used for the freight trains:
The big advantage of trains is that you can run them nuclear and with Thorium reactors in the future.
Provided that both trains arrive on time.
And doing in in flight is much harder (and not legally possible), but if you would want to join/separate in the outskirts to get one into town and the other on the bypass, just the stopping and reaccelerating will cost some minutes.
In the UK this is known as "portion working" and is a routine part of some routes' timetables.
The slight difficulty doesn't come from the separation, which is easy - open the automatic coupling, drive away the front bit and then drive away the rear bit after the front has got clear - but the joining. With an intensive timetable, waiting for a (possibly slightly late) other portion can leave a train missing its booked slot into London, with knock-on delays.
Unfortunately the inverse operation isn't as easy, and it's an expensive operation, too.
One of the small roads near where the line used to run is still called Atmospheric Road.
Hmm, actually, I just thought of a big plus: you're not moving your massively heavy engines with you.
A bigger concern is the efficiency of transporting energy _to_ the train. That's one of the reasons why long distance routes use overhead electricity, because you can have higher voltage (12kv-25kv) compared to third rail (600v-1.5kv).
This is like third rail on steroids -- lots of construction near the ground, probably lots of energy losses all around.
Plus it's an unproven technology, with a single vendor. It'll be a hard sell.