Future High-Speed Trains Could Ride on Cushions of Air


A Japanese research group looking into ways to build the next generation of high-speed trains has set their sights on ground-effect vehicles, or vehicles that move just fast enough to fly at very low altitudes and use the fast-moving air under them as a cushion to keep them airborne. In this case, when we say “ground-effect,” we don’t mean neon lighting on the underside of the chassis.

We already know a lot about high-speed rail, and in European and Asian countries, high-speed trains are the best and even preferred way to travel long distances. Still, the speed of today’s breed of high-speed trains is limited by the fact that they ride on rails that they’re physically connected to. Trains that use a rail or track only as a guide, and hover or fly over it could potentially travel much faster and farther on less fuel…

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