Dallas Business journal
Global Railway Review
Going Down the Tube:
From the Captain:
High Speed Rail is Already in America:
The fully loaded train pulls out of the stations. It then accelerates from 0 to 128 mph in 3.5 seconds. It shoots across the landscape at just a feet over the ground, but then as it hits its top speed something unreal happen. It goes vertical and blasts up 420 feet in the air.
After cresting, it then plummets back toward the ground, reaching over 100mph again and its glides over hills and curves back into the station. Where in less than a minute the train unloads and reloads another full passenger load.
Believe it or not, America already has high speed rail. It’s just not in the place you would think to look. Ever since 2005, Kingda Ka at Six Flags Great Adventure has been blasting at over 128 mph and Top Thrill Dragster in Ohio has been traveling at 120mph since 2003. Even California has the Superman Escapes, which only maxes out at 62 mph, but does it in only 2 seconds.
In fact, America has always been a leader in high speed roller coasters since the first switchback railway in Coney Island in 1884, which really was just narrow gauge railway on a hilly closed track. So why does American’s love roller coasters, but hate high speed rail? Maybe it's time to re-frame that message.
In fact, when it comes to roller coasters the US is at the forefront of passenger transport tech. The chain hill is out and electromagnetic propulsion is in. Linear Induction roller coasters, such as Vertical Velocity at Six Flags Great American, have high powered electromagnets secured to the tracks and operate the same as an induction motor, but in a straight line. Meanwhile, with the Maverick (Cedar Point), Hagrid's Magical Motorbike Coaster (Universal Studios), and Tron Lightcycle (Shanghai Disneyland...and coming to Orlando) linear synchronous motor is the latest propulsion tech and a cousin to the same tech that powers the Chuo Shinkansen.
So maybe we shouldn’t be advertising a high speed train from Chicago to Minneapolis or DC to New York. Maybe the answer is to say we are building a 300 mph roller coaster between these two cities. Hell, we could even make money at the gift shop at the end of the line.
Back in the 1990s, there was serious discussion in not making airplanes fly using ground effect, but making ships float. Perhaps one of the designs that came closet to reality was the Russian Ekranoplane which would be the same size as Boeing 777 and cruise over the water at 250 mph.
However, other's envisioned even larger wing ships, capable of carrying over 2000 passengers and cruise at over 500 mph. Beat that Carnival Cruise Line.
When a plane is within a wingspan of the ground it floats. The floating is caused by a decrease in induced drag.
In normal flight, at the wing tips vortices form (think horizontal tornadoes). The vortices can not only be dangerous to other aircraft, but reduce lift and increase drag (and is the reason you see wing tip "fences" in modern aircraft). However, once in "ground effect" the ground blocks these vortices from forming, resulting in decreased drag and increased lift. The result is what appears to be the airplane wanting to float down the runway.
Ironically, it wasn't the flying that was the problem. It was the takeoff from the water that ended up being the obstacle too hard to overcome. The water just created too much drag on takeoff to make the design work efficiently.