The 1,000 MPH Trans-Continental Jet Train That Never Was


Obama has dreams of a high speed rail network connecting the U.S. 35 years from now. But these dreams date back to before Obama was born. How does a 1,000 mph jet train from New York to Los Angeles sound?

A jet train you say? Why yes, why not. This design, by Doug Roulfe, comes from 1948, which was the very beginning of the jet age when designers were ready to strap turbines to just about everything, from cars to planes to trains. The design was based in part around a rocket sled designed to help rocket engineers crack the sound barrier. The idea was to strap five solid-fuel rockets to a train, and basically launch it from New York City to Los Angeles. The trip could be completed in three hours at those speeds, meaning you’d arrive in Los Angeles at the same time you departed New York City. Craziness, right?

Imaging commuting to work in this!

Alas this trans-continental rocket train never came to be, though we got a brief taste of what we might have been in for. In the 1960’s, both America and the Soviet Union built prototype jet trains that were eventually surpassed by Japanese and European bullet trains. New York Central added two General Electric J-147-19 turbojet engines to the front of a Rail Diesel Car and eventually went to a top speed of 184 mph. The Reds, meanwhile, also added two jet engines to the front of an ER22 rail engine, which topped out at 180 mph. Sure, the maglev and bullet trains went faster, but jet trains sound so much cooler (unless you live within ten miles of the tracks.)

In Soviet Russia, rocket train rides you!

These days it seems like we’ve reeled in our dreams so much that nobody would even dare suggest a 1,000 mph jet train. Maybe we’re just more realistic these days. Or maybe people back then had more vision and saw fewer barriers.Why build a jet train?

Well, why not?

Source: Modern Mechanix | io9

Chris DeMorro is a writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs. You can read about his slow descent into madness at Sublime Burnout or follow his non-nonsensical ramblings on Twitter @harshcougar.

About the Author

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.
  • Dear God, man! I want that!!

  • This Train was never because it had one big flaw.
    It would derail by increasing Speed.
    But the research Data from this and other Marvels like the “Schienenzeppelin” brought us to sit down and try to create the best possible transport system ever.

    And that we did.
    A Train that is faster then an Airplane yet produces absolute no emissions whatsoever.
    But it did not stop there.
    We included into the Train Track an Infrastructure housing facility so that everywhere where this Train goes so does Internet electricity telephone water in fact anything that uses cables can be connected with this system.

    That means that we can travel faster from A to B then dialing up with AOL.

    Our Idea is no more radical as to connect every city every country and every continent with this Train and to replace ALL existing methods of Transportation with this non polluting solution and bring education energy and communication directly to the home of everyone in every village and every town no one excluded.

    All this technology combined is the result of our work.
    Hypersonic Zero Emission High Speed Rail.

    Now the Government knows about this technology for quite some time since we told them a long time ago and offered them our assistance.
    Yet if one reads the consultation papers of the HS2 project there is not a single word mentioned about our work.
    It only considers old and expensive technologies that are already outdated and have no possibility of future growth.

    That leads us to the question: For whom does our Government work?
    For the people or for other Interests?
    Is the corruption in this Government gone so far that the people of Britain are denied the best possible technology because of self serving interests of politicians and Banksters?

    You decide!

    D.W. Major
    Zero Emission Transportation Ltd

    • Okay, I had a look at your website, hoping it’d be something cool and still possible, like a Vac train. However, I’ve found your science to be laughable and your grammar very poor. If this is something you genuinely believe in, I’d like to let you know that there are several holes large enough to drive a train through. For example, your proposal of splitting water and then burning it violates the 1st and 2nd laws of thermodynamics. If you’re a troll, then well done, that looks plausible enough to fool people who don’t know any better.

  • Oh. My. God.
    I can just imagine what hell would be unleashed once that monstrocity hit the Rocky Mountains. NY to LA in 3 hours? Fine. Add another 2 to have your ass propelled to downtown Tokyo.

    And D.W. – Just because your pipedream got thrown onto the compost heap with other such “genius” ideas, don’t go propping up the conspiracy theory rhetoric, you nutjob.
    Your idea, in what little you described, sounds like something a twelve-year-old dreams up in his parents’ basement. Total Crap.

  • The concept of running maglev trains in vacuum-sealed subterranean tunnels is much cooler than jet trains. Ultra-low friction. No need to go over the continental divide. No sonic booms.

  • Pingback: Aerotrains, Monorail Trains, and what the heck? | Life in Russia()