Elon Musk, the real life Tony Stark without a super suit and visionary behind PayPal, Tesla Motors, and SpaceX, has released today a detailed plan co-authored by a team of engineers and physicists for an elevated high speed rail system that could journey between Los Angeles and San Francisco (roughly 380 miles or 611 kilometers) in 30 minutes for a projected $8bn cost to construct using existing technology. This proposal comes at a time when the California state legislature has approved nearly $100bn in funding for a markedly less efficient high speed train that would take over four times as long to traverse the same distance. The ticket cost for this 380 mile journey is projected to be $40 round trip purchased the day-of, compared to over a hundred dollars for airfare purchased months in advance.


The full technical proposal is available as a PDF on the bottom of that page.

The rail system will be solar powered, and Solar City (another Elon Musk company) is one of the largest solar power providers in California. If you read the PDF it states that using solar power it would be possible to generate more electricity than the system needs, requiring a dump of power. A "dump of power" could be achieved by building a line of Tesla Supercharging Stations--rapid charging of electric vehicles--following the rail, which will just so happen to follow I-5, one of the busiest interstates in the US. Should the rail be built, its completion would come not soon after Tesla Motors releases its planned sub-$40k electric car intended to bring Teslas into the affordable market.

Unfortunately Elon Musk says he's too busy with the booming Tesla and SpaceX to oversee the private construction of this rail, however he has opensourced the plans so anyone can add to it or take the idea and build it. Elon has offered to work with and throw his resources behind anyone who wants to take charge of the project.

It is expected that this plan will encounter heavy resistance from the auto, airplane, and oil industries. Part of why the cost to construct the original less efficient rail was so inflated was due to lobbying efforts from those industries. However, due to the much lower cost to build, Musk's plan could be carried out in the private sector and not be subjected to government bloat and hangups.

Elon Musk is a ****ing genius. I think this guy is going to be assassinated one day. He shakes things up a lot and if no one is able to come along and poke holes in this plan then he would have just humiliated the entire California state government and transportation industry.
Last edited by Seref at Aug 12, 2013,
Sounds interesting, but y u no European railways ? I mean, sure, America needs them, but so does the rest of the world.
The proposal is for LA -> SF because he came up with the idea after being disgusted by how mismanaged and mishandled the existing high speed rail project was. If one of these is ever proven to be cost effective then I imagine they will be built all over the world. The plans are open source, so anyone can take them and build them.

They'll probably become commonplace in Europe and Asia way before the US. The US stinks at transit.
Last edited by Seref at Aug 12, 2013,
Sounds like science fiction
I like science fiction
But boys will be boys and girls have those eyes
that'll cut you to ribbons, sometimes
and all you can do is just wait by the moon
and bleed if it's what she says you ought to do
Part of why people are excited about this is because Elon has made science fiction happen before. If we went back 15 years and someone said that one day a private company would be resupplying the ISS (and soon sending up the astronauts) they would have been laughed at. Or that a small American electric car company would outsell Audi, Mercedes, and BMW in the full size luxury sedan class.

And now this is SpaceX's next big thing. Reusable rockets:


Watch an old 1950s sci fi movie. This is how they saw the future.
Last edited by Seref at Aug 12, 2013,
this would be great if it actually happened.

still waiting to see anything from that East Coast transit overhaul.
Quote by jakesmellspoo
this would be great if it actually happened.

still waiting to see anything from that East Coast transit overhaul.

It'd be great to have a line going through D.C, Philadelphia, NYC and Boston.
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Elon Musk is for real one of my favorite people. I would totes ride the hyperloop.