China is now capable of building the world's first underwater vacuum tube train, a futuristic form of transportation that can achieve supersonic speed and reduce airborne noise, according to Chinese academics and scholars.
"In order to build an underwater vacuum tunnel, China must bring forth new ideas...about submerged floating tunnels, maglev trains and vacuum techniques. Currently, the country's technologies are sufficient to carry out such a program," Sun Jun, an academician with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, told the Science and Technology Daily.
The vacuum tube train is a magnetic levitation line that utilizes evacuated tubes or tunnels. Due to reduced air resistance, the train could hit a theoretical speed of 2,000 kilometers per hour using relatively little power, and its operation would not be affected by weather.
The China Railway Tunnel Survey & Design Institute has finished a tentative research survey on the possibility of building a 10-kilometer underwater vacuum tunnel in Zhoushan, Zhejiang province. Once built, it would become China's longest underwater tunnel, as well as the world's first underwater vacuum tunnel, cutting the travel time between Fujian and Taipei - located 180 kilometers apart - to just 13 minutes.
The program has been welcomed by many scholars and experts, who note that China has built over 500 underwater tunnels over the past 20 years, gaining rich experience and refined technologies. Sun, along with two other academicians, has called for Chinese authorities to approve and support the program.