4,000 mph Vactrain zips from New York to London in under one hour

Forget about those futuristic hypersonic passenger jets. An American engineer named Darryl Oyster has developed a train that he claims can whip passengers from New York to London in under an hour.

The Vactrain works just like an upsized version of those vacuum operated tubes that they use to send money and receipts around in some big stores. The cylindrical train rides in a tube that forms a close airtight seal around the cars. Suck all of the air out of the tube, and the train will be propelled forward by the pressure of air behind it.

Oyster's company ET3 has already sold 60 licenses for a six passenger version of his evacuated tube transport, but he says that the potential for speed and capacity is much higher.

Oyster says that his Vactrain is ideal for connecting widely separated cities in sparsely populated areas, and could run underwater tethered at a predetermined depth. He also claims that the system would be far lower in cost that high speed electric trains, while using far less power per passenger mile.

According to Oyster, the system could be up and running in about ten years.

Air propelled trains aren't an entirely new idea, and similar concepts have been proposed as long as 100 years ago by rocketry pioneer Robert Goddard. The idea has also been used in science fiction novels like Logan's Run and Fahrenheit 451, and it even made an appearance in an episode of Star Trek.

ET3, via Smart Planet

For the latest tech stories, follow us on Twitter at @dvice