Imagine traveling to a local subway or tram station and getting on the train with a handful of other passengers. Now, you have two options. You can either travel to another stop somewhere in the city (local), or, you can visit a different city entirely without stepping out of the train. Well, you would be physically stepping out of it, but not onto the ground at least. A faster, larger train that never stops would pull next to your tram and “dock” to it for a few minutes while remaining perfectly parallel. Then you, along with (probably frantic) other passengers, would quickly board the new train over a secure bridge that has formed between the two. Sounds like something you’ve seen in a science fiction movie, right? That’s because you’ve probably seen something very similar….remember Minority Report with Tom Cruise?
Sorry, a gif that shows the movie’s urban transportation scenes couldn’t be found. So here’s Tom Cruise spinning a shiny circle. Anyways, if you’ve seen the movie, you know what I’m talking about. If not, the cars in the film look very similar to the futuristic machines below. Introducing moving platform trains…
Paul Priestman has said the following to CNN in an interview,
“There are big doors, there are wide doors, they’re all the same level so you can seamlessly go between the two vehicles quite peacefully; there’s no hurry. [The two trains] stay docked for the same amount of time that it would stop at a station.”
Obviously this all sounds very cool and would be amazing if it could be tested out in a big city. But, like most huge urban development projects, this will cost an obscene amount of money to build. The infrastructure required to use this type of train system would have to be 100% new, completely replacing the old tracks and stations. And if one city finally does get the required funds, they will first have to make sure that another urban metropolis will also agree to start building—it would be useless if there was only one high-speed station. It’s hard enough for one city to agree on such a project, let alone two. Just look at how long it’s taking Phoenix and Tucson to decide on what kind of slow passenger train they want to finally bridge the cities together. So, it appears these platform trains, if actually built, will exist far into the future.
If you want to learn more about futuristic transportation, check out Maglev trains. They are run on super high-powered magnets that push the train at upwards of 300 mph. Japan has already been experimenting with them and they look awesome.