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In a vacuum

Letters

I was interested to read the letter from C F Elias (NCE, 3 May) on vacuum railways.

I read recently that Robert Goddard (1882?1945), the American pioneer of rocketry, proposed the construction of a 'vacuum railway' between New York and Boston. The train was to be floated on magnets in a specially constructed tunnel.

The air was to be exhausted to reduce the friction and enabling the journey to be made in 12 minutes.

The system was proposed again in the 1920s to provide a link between New York and San Francisco and then in the 1960s beneath the Atlantic Ocean to provide a service between New York and London.

Obviously none of these proposals materialised.

But there were trials in short lengths of tunnel, including one in Crystal Palace Park with a tunnel 200m long and 3m in diameter, between the Sydenham and Penge gates to the park.

Dan Little, 9 Sayer Way, Knebworth, Herts, SG3 6BN

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