How would you like to travel from New York to Manchester, England, in just a little more over four hours? No need to take off your shoes and belt, empty your pockets and throw away that liter bottle of water you just paid too much for.
That scenario could become a reality if Simon Horton’s vision for a high-speed train running through a trans-Atlantic vacuum tube gets the proper backing. Horton, who is an engineer, proposed the development of the “Concorde of the tunneling world” in a competition held by the think tank, IPRR North, which is dedicated to boosting business between the north of England and the U.S.
Horton’s train, which was inspired by entrepreneur Elon Musk’s Hyperloop—a high-speed train that plans to run between San Francisco and Los Angeles on a cushion of air driven by a combination of linear induction motors and air compressors—would be contained within a tube, extending along the floor of the Atlantic Ocean.
The service would run in a perfect vacuum: “The train is levitated in mid-air using electronic magnets,” Horton said. “This reduces nearly all causes of friction and drag, enabling both huge speeds and a completely smooth (and silent) journey.”
Horton projects the “Concorde” could achieve speeds of up to 800 miles per hour, which would make the 3,334-mile trip between Manchester and New York City take just a little more than four hours.
Under Horton’s plan, the development of a northern “hyper loop,” linking all of England’s airports to a central “super-hub” in Manchester, would enable citizens throughout the country to take advantage of the service.
Several other proposals submitted to IPPR focused on Manchester infrastructure, including equipping the region’s roads with wind-capturing technology that could convert wind energy to electricity. In another futuristic vision, sections of the road could be replaced by solar panels, which would generate power for the national grid, or be equipped with energy-capturing technology to convert noise energy to electricity intended to power electric cars.
So far, however, there is no funding for the project, which is expected to cost billions of dollars and take at least a decade to complete.