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January 09, 2011

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Jeff Donlan

Vacuum for propulsion doesn't make much sense, since with a vacuum the most pressure differential you can get is one atmosphere, applied to a very small area at the back of the train. However, vacuum or some kind of powerful venting would be required in front of the train, since at those speeds it would build a remarkable pressure ahead of it in it's narrow tube. Maybe it would be named Spitball? Turbulence might be a problem. Does the pamphlet address any of this?

John F. Ptak

Jeff--I think that the guy had some idea for different ends of "pulling" the massive thing through his tubes via a power source on one end; there's also a scheme for electromagnets. But the details for the idea were not committed to print--its a sprite of an idea with more printed planning for ho wmuch stuff would cost and how much the whole thing could "make" than anything else. Lets face it--Columbus didn't have a very good plan, either, and most of that was in his head. When The Captain figured out that the trip to the far Asian lands would be--reckoning by degrees--very far away, he did what other determined people would do. Columbus recalculated how many degrees there were in a mile. And he got that down t about half of what it was reckoned to be. Thus the distance issue was settled. And I think in many ways our author for the vacuum tunnel was like that, too, and that is the thing that makes this paper have an "author" rather than a "reporting engineer". Your points are very good--and this is precisely why things like this should be studied in school, because in order to know if an interesting/arresting idea is goofy or not, you've got to figure out the "why" part.

Jeff Donlan

But now I get it a little more. The vacuum was to reduce friction and aid propulsion, like traveling at tremendous speed in space, so that it becomes conceivable to get NYC<>Philly in 20 minutes through a soda straw. Now, if everyone would just cooperate and board and take their seats within 2 minutes, we could have something here. But it's like those short commuter flights: getting to the station, descending 100 feet in a crowd, pausing to listen to a musician and then fish for some change, boarding in a crowd and offering your seat by the door to an old lady and she says no you don't have to and you say but of course I must and you exchange smiles and help her sit down, then waiting to clear the tunnel of skateboarders who found an unlocked door ... well, we haven't even left yet and it's taken more time than the trip itself. Anyone on the Philly side of NY would probably just drive. And now, we have the Internet, with both electromagnetic propulsion and it's own kind of vacuum.

John F. Ptak

I started to write more about this but I began to bore myself, which means I'm sure I'd've lost everyone else along the way. I wasn't so sure about getting to and breaking from 600 mph in the hundred miles or whatever between NYC and Philly. Seems to me that you could go 600 for only, what 5 minutes, so it would be 5 min to get to 600 and 5 mins to brake. At least the tunnel is supposed to be perfectly straight except for entering/exiting cities.

John F. Ptak

And by the way, how are we going to create a vacuum for the 81 million cubic foot tunnel

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