Fifty years ago, many people thought we’d have flying vehicles by 2018. Yet we’re still riding the same trains and buses (for the most part) that we did back then.
It may surprise you to learn that England tested the concept of a hovercraft all the way back in the 1960s. This technology underwent almost 10 years of development.
If things had gone according to plan, we’d have levitating trains all over the world today. We’d be able to fly around the country at a thousand miles an hour without the inconveniences of air travel.
“Normal” trains would seem as outdated as flip phones are today.
Unfortunately, budget cuts resulted in the hovercraft’s premature death in 1973.
Right now, the fastest train in commercial use is the Shanghai Maglev Train, which has a top speed of 270 mph. That began operations back in 2004. So a little over 40 years later, we still aren’t up to the original hovercraft’s intended speed.
But there’s one huge project currently taking place here in the United States that could put the Shanghai train to shame.
The Need for Speed
The goal of the hovercraft was to create a train system that could carry passengers at speeds up to 300 mph. At the time, that was over twice the speed of a conventional train. And to this day, few methods of ground transportation can top that.
As I mentioned before, if this technology got more of a chance back in the 1970s, it would be much faster than anything out there today.
The basic technology behind this project is maglev, or magnetic levitation. This system uses two sets of magnets to lift a train off the track and move it ahead at an incredible speed.
But there’s a new technology in the works that’s even faster: the hyperloop.
The hyperloop is all done in sealed tubes. Without air resistance, it will be able to send pods through those tubes at 1,000 or more miles per hour. To put that in perspective, at that speed you could go from New York to Los Angeles in less than three hours.
The concept of a hyperloop was first brought to the mainstream by Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk back in 2012. And since then, it’s already made huge progress.
Right now, there are two complete hyperloop test tracks in Nevada and California. There, the system worked on several occasions, reaching a record 240 mph last July.
The rest of the world is following suit, as another track is currently under construction in France. India and the United Arab Emirates have expressed interest in building tracks as well.
To date, the hyperloop has received about $300 million in funding. And last Wednesday, Ohio said it was studying a route that would connect Chicago, Columbus and Pittsburgh.
How to Profit
Unfortunately, there aren’t any exchange-traded funds (ETFs) that specialize in these types of services. But for now, there are some publicly traded companies that work.
One is Alstom (OTC: ALSMY). This French company has been building high-speed trains since the late 1970s, and has a direct investment in the hyperloop.
Another idea would be Aecom (NYSE: ACM), an infrastructure construction company. It built the U.S. hyperloop test tracks, and it’s currently planning five hyperloop routes around the world.
Editor, Rapid Profit Trader
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