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China Transportation Technology

China Plans 600 MPH Train To Rival Elon Musk's Hyperloop ( 159

In addition to relaunching the world's fastest bullet train, China is working on developing technology similar to Elon Musk's Hyperloop, which will allow passengers to travel at speeds up to 4,000 km/h (~2,500 mph). The first stage of the company's plan, however, will be to create a network of these "flying trains" operating at 1,000 km/h (~600 mph). Shanghaiist reports: Earlier today, the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC), one of the nation's major space contractors, announced that it had begun research and development into a new, futuristic type of transport which would operate via supersonic "near ground flight." The system would presumably be similar to that of the Hyperloop, proposed earlier this decade by Elon Musk, in which capsules would fly at ultrafast speeds down reduced-pressure tubes, dramatically reducing travel times. Of course, the CASIC isn't looking to reach speeds of 4,000 km/h right away. The first stage of the company's plan will be to create an intercity network of these "flying trains" operating at 1,000 km/h. In the second phase, this network would be extended and the max speed of the pods increased to 2,000 km/h. Finally, in the third stage, the speed would be boosted all the way up to 4,000 km/h -- five times the speed of civil aviation aircraft today.
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China Plans 600 MPH Train To Rival Elon Musk's Hyperloop

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  • Good but... (Score:5, Funny)

    by grub ( 11606 ) <> on Wednesday August 30, 2017 @06:49PM (#55113459) Homepage Journal

    An hour after exiting the train, you'll want to ride it again.
  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Wednesday August 30, 2017 @06:51PM (#55113473) Journal

    Just spend the money on regular trains/trams. No ego contests comparable to having the tallest building. Overly fast trains are too easy to sabotage anyhow. Would you rather be in a train crashing at 600mph or 60mph?

    • Would you rather be in a train crashing at 600mph or 60mph?

      In a train crash at 60mph, you'll die slowly cause by your injuries before rescuers will be able to reach you.

      In a train crash at 600mph . . . you'll die before you even have enough time to realize that a crash had even occurred.

      I'll take the "quick & instance" death, please.

      • by unrtst ( 777550 )

        Your nuts. A train going 60mph (I'm assuming it's not going through some tube) that crashes is going to be survivable for nearly everyone on board. A train going 600mph through a tube (partial vacuum no less) that crashes (and I assume that means some sort of derailment) is going to be a disaster.

      • I'll take the "quick & instance" death, please.

        As long as it's instanced I'm cool. I'll just start over after the timer lockout.

      • If you're suicidal, this is great logic, because the chances are at 60mph not only will you not be killed, you won't even be injured.

        60mph train crashes have happened many times in history, but in the last 100 years or so very few have resulted in the majority of passengers being killed or seriously injured.

        To be clear: there's usually several deaths in a 60mph crash, but it's usually because of the specific circumstances of the crash (for example, a front most coach in a head-on collision), rather tha

        • Statistics seem to favor air travel (fatalities per passenger-mile), with buses and trains trailing a bit.

          Having trouble finding other sources that actually have a decent presentation of stats that I had seen in the past, but here is one:

          https://journalistsresource.or... []

          Don't take this as a slight against rail or other mass transit services; they're more than competitive with air (especially when taking costs into account), with respect to safety, and seem to have the potential to achieve parity. Di
        • by Shotgun ( 30919 )

          In aviation, the saying is that the chances of survival or inversely proportional to the angle of impact.

          A train derailment results in cars sliding across the ground and (relatively) slowly piling up. The train and ground are basically parallel.

          The head on collision is a perpendicular impact for the lead cars, but much more like a derailment for the following.

          All of the hyper loop concepts deal with a car protected by a tube. There isn't much to impact.

    • by JohnFen ( 1641097 ) on Wednesday August 30, 2017 @07:34PM (#55113673)

      Wrong comparison.

      I'd rather be in a train going 500MPH than on an airplane going the same speed.

      At least until/unless the TSA ruins that, too.

      • by unrtst ( 777550 )

        Ignoring the TSA part, I'd definitely rather be on a plane going 500mph than anything else. There's so little to run into up there. That said, the lines, tsa, taxiing, landing, taxiing, etc... I'll take the train, but that's only because people ruined a good thing.

        • I'd definitely rather be on a plane going 500mph than anything else. There's so little to run into up there.

          There's even less to run into in a low-pressure, sealed tube. Not even much air. I suppose there are other trains running through the same tube, but tube traffic control is much simpler than air traffic control .

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        Wheeled trains can already reach those speeds, the problem is noise. Current high speed trains in Japan run under their rated maximum to keep noise down, especially when leaving tunnels where the air pressure creates a boom.

        Japan has been trying various things to deal with the problem, and is going to have its ultra high speed maglev line 90% tunnel with very long braking areas to dissipate the pressure wave.

        Maybe they don't care so much about the noise in China, perhaps the tracks are further from populate

        • I rather suspect that if the train is running in a low-pressure, sealed tunnel, then the noise is a much more manageable problem.

          • by Shotgun ( 30919 )

            And this is probably how we will see the technology really build out. High speed trains will be slowly covered in tunnels. Then the operators will start to evacuate the tunnels so they can increase the speed. They'll pressurize the cars for passenger comfort, which will allow a higher level of vacuum. They'll basically sneak up on the hyper loop.

    • Overly fast trains are too easy to sabotage anyhow. Would you rather be in a train crashing at 600mph or 60mph?

      These trains are designed to compete with planes, not other trains. However, even then they would be a lot more difficult to sabotage than today's high speed trains which run at 1-200mph, not 60 mph, above ground on open tracks which are accessible by just about anyone at any time. Trains in tunnels are far better protected than other trains and even compared to an aircraft which could be targetted by anti-aircraft missiles as happened in Ukraine a few years ago.

      The other advantage is that failures of t

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      There is actually great scope for developing trains but it is not in the trains as much as in the tracks and stations. It is really rather embarrassing for that industry, in they have not done much at all in centuries on improving the tracks beyond a dalliance in monorail. Smarter things, like handling train carriages better. Reducing the time a train spends in stations, running more frequent smaller trains, should all carriages be container based, even passenger, should trains even stop at stations or shou

      • by Shotgun ( 30919 )

        I like how you think. It addresses some of the worst problems I saw when trying to use the train in the US. The whole train has to stop at every podunk station along the rail.

        Instead, passengers getting off at the next station move to the rear car. When near, it disconnects and takes a side track into the station. Another car, loaded and ready, uses it's battery pack to accelerate and catch the main train that never stopped. When it catches up, it connects. People not getting off at the next stop move

    • Would you rather be in a train crashing at 600mph or 60mph?

      Given the odds of crashing in a train, I'll take the 600mph thanks.

      Just spend the money on regular trains/trams. No ego contests comparable to having the tallest building.

      Having the tallest building is an ego contest. Having the fastest trains are not. There's an economic benefit to not having people tied up in transit when they could be working or consuming.

    • That's what I was thinking. My building is taller than yours, my truck is lifted higher than yours, my train goes a few kph faster than yours, and of course, your subject line.
      Besides that, trains present a single point of failure. They follow tracks or rails. For that reason their robustness is absolutely critical. This is why TCP/IP was invented the way it was, to break information into separate routable packets for fault tolerance.
      If we have 8,000 commuters stuck on a broken down train, which seems mor

  • Ger er done (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    The difference is that China will actually build theirs.

  • will reach 8000 km/hour.

    • will reach 8000 km/hour.

      Meh. Tell me when it's over 9000 and then I'll be interested (and astounded). ;)

  • From []

    Musk decided not to pursue the Hyperloop as a business venture, but SpaceX began holding competitions for third-party teams to show off their engineering skills. The competitions have proved hugely popular.

    So while Musk may have come up with the original idea* he really isn't doing anything other than holding competitions for things that look and work totally unlike his original concept.

    * And even that is debatable for various values of "Train running in a (near) vacuum"

  • From what I've read, people are rightfully afraid of riding on the bullet train. Do you think they'll want to ride on an even faster and less safe version?

    • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

      From what I've read, people are rightfully afraid of riding on the bullet train. Do you think they'll want to ride on an even faster and less safe version?

      That's going to depend a whole lot on how many serious accidents the train suffers in its first months/years of use.

      I don't think I'd want to be one of the initial passengers, but in a country of 1.3 billion people, there will be plenty of people willing to ride it; and if it works, more people will deem it "safe enough".

      Keep in mind that China is a really large country, with lots of social displacement -- there are millions of people who feel socially obligated to make 24-hour (or longer) train trips every

    • by mattr ( 78516 ) <mattr@t e l e b> on Wednesday August 30, 2017 @11:02PM (#55114349) Homepage Journal

      Next time, fact check instead of spreading FUD. The bullet train in Japan is extremely safe. Here is the reality. []
      Over the Shinkansen's 50-plus year history, carrying over 10 billion passengers, there have been no passenger fatalities due to derailments or collisions,[19] despite frequent earthquakes and typhoons. Injuries and a single fatality have been caused by doors closing on passengers or their belongings; attendants are employed at platforms to prevent such accidents. There have, however, been suicides by passengers jumping both from and in front of moving trains.[20] On 30 June 2015, a passenger committed suicide on board a Shinkansen train by setting himself on fire, killing another passenger and seriously injuring seven other people.[21]

      There have been two derailments of Shinkansen trains in passenger service. The first one occurred during the Chetsu earthquake on 23 October 2004. Eight of ten cars of the Toki No. 325 train on the Jetsu Shinkansen derailed near Nagaoka Station in Nagaoka, Niigata. There were no casualties among the 154 passengers.[22]

      Another derailment happened on 2 March 2013 on the Akita Shinkansen when the Komachi No. 25 train derailed in blizzard conditions in Daisen, Akita. No passengers were injured.[23]
      In the event of an earthquake, an earthquake detection system can bring the train to a stop very quickly. A new anti-derailment device was installed after detailed analysis of the Jetsu derailment.
      I believe the safety of these trains are in part due to the absolute professionalism of all people involved with its operation.

      They are not going to travel at high speed in a blizzard or hurricaine, and not at all if mafiosos put concrete blocks on the tracks. But there is a lot of safety through high tech, redundancy and humans.

      I am not sure this level of professionalism is possible in the U.S. or especially China, considering the current state of their trains, unless a totally new kind of cadre is created. The military mindset might be close, though what is really needed is intelligence, professionalism, empathy, and big bucks for the long haul.

      The U.S., China and other countries the size of California and up will gain amazing returns from these trains. The only downsides of which I am aware (and they are not downsides to me) are that they drive down the price of air tickets and also get you used to such comfort that you wonder why you stick yourself in a flying can with miniscule leg room.

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        China's system is incredibly safe too. It's the largest in the world by a long way, and carries about 1.4 billion passengers a year. So far only one fatal accident, which puts it way ahead of any other mode of transport, even aircraft.

    • by AC-x ( 735297 )

      From what I've read, people are rightfully afraid of riding on the bullet train.

      Who the hell is afraid of riding conventional high speed rail? Especially given its excellent safety record.

    • From what I've read, people are rightfully afraid of riding on the bullet train.Do you think they'll want to ride on an even faster and less safe version?

      There's so much in that sentence that is wrong, let's start:
      - You read something: Provide citations. Let's see all the people who are "afraid" of train travel on a service that has never in its history never killed a single person.
      - Then let us look at the word "rightfully". If it is so rightful then I'm sure you can provide citations of how the train is an accident waiting to happen, and how riding that train will have a higher risk of death than doing the same trip by e.g. car.
      - You then made an extrapola

  • by AdamStarks ( 2634757 ) on Wednesday August 30, 2017 @07:33PM (#55113663)

    Strictly enforced by physics

  • The real selling point of Musk's plan was not the speed, but the plan to eliminate wait times and the first/last mile. Especially for short-haul mass transit, there's not much benefit to traveling at 1 billion KPH when you have to wait for 15-30 minutes to catch a train. An optimal system allows you to:
    * Ride from your house to a local transit hub in your small electric pod
    * Get bundled into a meta-pod and zipped off to your destination transit hub with low delay
    * Ride (or walk) a short distance from
    • by Mandrel ( 765308 )

      Yes, a pod which could be used with both roads and tubes would save a huge amount of interchange time.

      Although, it's often not absolute latency that's important, but scheduled latency: If a high-speed metro tube system were to be developed, intermediate stops would be very wasteful, so you'd want to have scheduled trips for each pair of destination stations. So you want all the pods making that exact trip to assemble at given times, but to avoid waiting, you'd be told to leave home at particular times. S

    • by AC-x ( 735297 )

      Especially for short-haul mass transit, there's not much benefit to traveling at 1 billion KPH when you have to wait for 15-30 minutes to catch a train.

      Huh? Lots of people use bus and rail services that run quarter to half-hourly services (that's why you have time tables), and depending on your definition of "short-haul" lots of people are happy to wait over an hour to catch a 90 minute flight...

  • This should be as successful as their Road Straddling Bus" [].

    • by dave420 ( 699308 )

      Hint: One failed project doesn't mean every project from the same country won't work. We know this by looking at failures in every country which still produces things of worth. I know it's all fun and cheeky to make a joke like that, but it doesn't really reflect too well on your logical prowess.

      • by lazarus ( 2879 )

        Hint: This isn't a serious story. Your inability to comprehend that a Chinese company's bid for state funding on a project to one-up the Americans that isn't credible doesn't reflect very well on your logical prowess.

  • I am sure that Musk has ZERO intentions of going 4000 km/hr.
    Of course, right now, he is outdoing ALL OF THE WORLD, on Solar, EVs, Space, and heading towards hyper loop combined with underground tunneling.
    So, I am quite sure that China will outdo him.

    • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

      So, I am quite sure that China will outdo him.

      It doesn't matter whether China outdoes him or not --- Musk's goal was never to be the One Guy Who Did Everything All By Himself. If China can move hyperloop-style technology forward, great -- and if they can't, well, their failure didn't cost Musk anything, either, and it might provide others with some insight on how not to do it.

      So given that China is now (to some extent) working on a hyperloop project on their own dime, whereas without Musk's promotion/evangelizing they wouldn't be, Musk has already suc

  • by farble1670 ( 803356 ) on Wednesday August 30, 2017 @08:29PM (#55113889)

    China Plans 600 MPH Train To Rival Elon Musk's Hyperloop

    You mean the Hyperloop that does not exist?

    And will never exist. Sorry, but expecting to maintain near vacuum in 350 miles of 3-meter diameter tubing is not going to happen. Temperature induced contraction and expansion, earthquakes, vandalism, and sabotage. There're your problems.

    And when it does fail, what happens? The entire system goes down as it loses vacuum. Assuming you could get someone to whatever remote location is required in a timely manner to repair the fault, how long will it take to put the whole system under vacuum again? All 350 miles of it? Assuming you weren't pulped when your carriage travelling at 1200kph suddenly went from operating in a vacuum to operating at standard PSI.

    • by Shotgun ( 30919 )

      Because no one would dare drive on a strip of concrete that stretched all the way across the Mississippi River or the San Francisco Bay. What would you do with the temperature changes? Take out one support, and the whole thing comes crashing down. And how would anyone get up there to replace those cables if one broke?

    • by Rolgar ( 556636 )

      If you put a small vacuum machine (powered by covering the tube with solar panels, which also power your propulsion) on every 10' of track, I imagine they could probably get most of the vacuum restored within 10-30 minutes. And you probably don't even need a perfect vacuum. Just cutting the air in the tube by 80-90% would be enough to severely reduce air resistance without putting too much pressure on the tube.

  • Political prisoners get the first ride

  • At those speeds it won't take much to derail those trains and kill lots of people.

    / sad but true
    // our reality sucks
    /// why would anyone want to derail a train, or shoot a schoolyard, or whatever.
    • The entire train is encased in a vacuum tight tube mostly underground. You'd need to wear a space suit, have access to an air lock, and disrupt the magnetic field of the 'track' that the train hovers above.

      Not saying it's impossible but it would be much easier to put a bomb in some luggage and send it on its way.

      There will certainly be non-terror disasters along the way to 2000mph in the form of learning opportunities, much like air disasters are learning opportunities for safer aircraft.

      Transportation has

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Blaine is a pain. ...and that's the truth.

  • This is why... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by XSportSeeker ( 4641865 ) on Wednesday August 30, 2017 @11:24PM (#55114417)

    ... I've been saying that Hyperloop is either a huge scam, or something else I'm still having a hard time to imagine.

    Let's be clear here: The current company that has the most advanced Hyperloop version (Hyperloop One) which is obviously still in very early prototype stages basically stole maglev propulsion system and slapped it into some poorly designed vacuum tunnel to see if it could make whatever Musk scribbled in some napkin. In fact, the first public test Hyperloop One made was just a maglev propulsion system similar to that employed in several other countries that are currently already running actual train test lines (like Japan), or have actual completed train lines (like China and South Korea).

    Almost everything one could point out as Hyperloop prototypes being "successful" can be single handedly attributed to maglev tech. There hasn't been a single significant technological contribution that I know of so far coming from Hyperloop companies, and I still didn't hear a proper explanation on how the heck these companies are planning to build entire tunnels over large stretches of land that would make it any more feasible or more economical over regular train tracks or maglev train tracks.

    The entire idea of Hyperloop puts a whole ton of disadvantages, extra costs, potential problems, among several other things on top of a maglev train to get some theorical speed advantage that's even further into the future and more infeasible than actually making a single working short route from one city to another. It loses flexibility, you need to spend exponentially more (because of the tunnels operating in near vacuum), you are limited to pods of limited sizes, the entire infrastructure becomes far more succeptible to stuff like earthquakes, terrorist attacks, and just plain wear and tear, it'll be mostly point A to B with no stops for efficiency, plus a ton of other stuff to worry about which maglev trains don't have to deal with in their current operational status.

    Yet, for some reason (money laundering, Simpsons monorail style scam, major spec stealing of foreign technology, or who knows what), some European countries plus US and UAE are investing on this. It makes no straight faced sense.

    And I've been saying this in all my comments on the matter: maglev trains are still evolving, getting faster, more robust and better overall - as shown by this article. People joke about it being China and whatnot, but overall, maglev trains are plenty secure.
    Hyperloop might be theoretically faster because it's basically maglev train cars inside a near vacuum tube, but that's only for the theoretical top speeds, which makes investing on it based only on that as much sense as investing on a F1 car prototype for consumers. Just because it theoretically can reach such speeds doesn't mean that it ever will, or even should.

    You wanna see how riding a Hyperloop could potentially be in the future? Go to China, Japan, South Korea or some other country with maglev trains, ride one, but keep seated the entire way and close the blinds. At least if we are to take Musk's designs and Hyperloop One designs seriously. Also imagine being cramped in a far tighter space, and paying a whole lot more for the priviledge - because the costs of building the whole thing up will have to come from somewhere.

    The more I hear about it, the more it sounds like Concorde elevated to exponential and surreal levels of unfeasibility.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Ksevio ( 865461 )
      So...what exactly is the scam part of it? From what I've seen, it's provided a bunch of teams of engineers a project to work on with some interesting challenges. Most of the teams are from universities. If the whole thing ends up not being practical, then they'll figure that out.

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