“I know talking big doesn’t cost a penny, but this is way too unrealistic for me to believe.”
“Those who are skeptical about the idea don’t have enough confidence in our country’s scientific capability. How can scientists make achievements if they don’t dream big?”
These are two comments representing two opposite opinions (in Chinese) on a plan announced by China Aerospace Science and Industry Corp (CASIC), the main contractor for the Chinese space program, to start research and design of a futuristic type of hyper-speed train with maximum speeds of 4,000 kilometers (2,485 miles) per hour, four times faster than modern commercial jets can fly. The plan was announced (in Chinese) on August 30 at a summit in Wuhan.
The proposed transport system is very much like the futuristic Hyperloop concept suggested by Elon Musk. Combining CASIC’s experience in supersonic flight technology with rail transportation, the CASIC hyperloop is designed to be a maglev line on which pods will travel on partly elevated tubes depressurized to drastically reduce friction.
According to CASIC, in the first phase, regional trains with a maximum speed of 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) per hour will be developed. The second step is to extend the network to connect major cities and build up trains operating at 2,000 kilometers (1242 miles) per hour. In the final stage, the speed will be boosted up to 4,000 kilometers per hour, making the train an essential part of the Belt and Road initiative and “another name card of China after aerospace technology, high-speed train, and nuclear power.”
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