It’s been a decade in the building, but yesterday the super high speed tube line was officially opened. Four times faster than a jet plane, the SpaceTube links Washington DC with New York and Boston.
“It’s a bit like taking a limo or the subway,” enthused a lobbyist who popped into the city for a quick meeting, “but it gets you from DC to NYC in minutes!”
The concept is straightforward – by creating a partial vacuum in the tunnel, the maglev pods have zero wind resistance and can travel at Mach 3 – just inches above the ground. It’s like travelling through space, but without the weightlessness. You are still firmly anchored to the floor by gravity.
An even more ambitious plan is now on the cards – linking New York with LA, and then a SpaceTube under the Atlantic to London! Each pressurized capsule has its own air supply, just like a miniature spaceship.
“We create a space-like environment inside the tube,” explains chief engineer Zhang Yaoping. “Once you reach cruising speed, you coast along like a satellite orbiting the earth, until it’s time to slow down for arrival.” So it’s also very energy-efficient.
First-time passengers are often slightly nervous, but it’s no more disorienting than catching a train. One thing is certain, ‘taking the Tube’ will never be the same again!