Nature abhors a vacuum, but transit nerds and people eager to see a science fiction future LOVE IT. That’s because a vacuum is the secret ingredient for this (theoretical, but plausible) superfast train, which could speed under the ocean to get you from New York to London in one hour, or New York to Beijing in two.
This ludicrous-speed train (more than 10 times faster than the fastest current high-speed rail) operates by eliminating friction and air resistance that drag ordinary trains down. The idea is that if you could pump all the air out of a tunnel between two distant cities, there would be nothing to slow any vehicle hurtling through that vacuum. It works for spaceships, so why not?
American engineer Daryl Oster has registered a patent for vac-train tech, and has already sold 60 licenses. That doesn’t mean it’s economically feasible — we’re talking about infrastructure beyond the dreams of Democrats — but Oster says it could be ready within 10 years, and could potentially go an ambitious 4,000 miles per hour. That means it could shoot a train car the length of the Atlantic Ocean faster than your mom sucking a golf ball through a garden hose.