The never-was 1000 MPH transcontinental railroad from New York to Los Angeles

Illustration for article titled The never-was 1000 MPH transcontinental railroad from New York to Los Angeles

Here's another speculative transit project right up there with that underground bullet train between New York and Philly. In 1948, Modern Mechanics showcased this supersonic cross-continental rocket train. You could go from NYC to LA in three hours!


At 1,000-mph your train will travel as fast as the sun in its apparent motion across the earth from east to west. You'll pace the sun through every time zone from Eastern Standard to Pacific Time as your wheel-less train glides across the continent in three hours on its graphite-lubricated slippers. It'll take the sun three hours to race the same distance, and you'll flash into L.A. in a dead heat-at the same time you started!


Incidentally, its design was inspired by a real-life supersonic rocket sled that flew off the tracks — rocket on a rampage! Woe to be a boxcar vagabond who hitches a ride on this thing. Hell, woe to be the conductor of this rig:

Such a super train is depicted here by MI Artist, Doug Rolfe. Its pattern is the Army "sled" recently tested at Muroc Air Base by the Northrop Aircraft Co. With five solid-fuel rockets it streaked along its standard-gauge railroad track at 1,019 mph, far faster than the speed of sound [[.] Before the sled shot off the rails and buried itself in the desert, however, it set a world's record for speed on land and opened the way for a revolution in transport and rapid dispersal of our sardine-packed cities.

[Via Modern Mechanix]

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1000 MPH is probably way too fast to do anything about that cow that just wandered onto the tracks.

But would 1000 MPH be too fast to even care about that cow? Someone do the math on this.