Okay, so the title of this blog is a little cheesy. I really wanted to have a “Polar Express” feel. You know, whimsical and stuff. Anyways, here’s what I want: I want a train line that wraps around the Earth’s equator. Is it possible? I don’t know. What I do know is that it would take a lot of engineering, a ton of money and more importantly a whole crap-load of time. The earth has a circumference of 24,000 miles at the equator!
“Well, how much time and money may this take?” you ask. It’s Friday so I went ahead and did some rough estimates based on the longest Maglev train in the world. If the construction crew were the size of the one that undertook the building of Shanghai’s 19 miles train line we get the following:
- 4,000 years to complete
- 1.6 trillion U.S. dollars
Okay, so obviously, the amount of time is prohibitive but I was assuming only one group was doing the work. Let’s imagine we could get every nation in the world to put up a group of equivalent an size, how long would it take? Well there are approximately 200 countries. If it was possible to orchestrate a group and project of this size the number of years would fall to 20 years!
The only problem is that I don’t know how profitable this project would be. The service would have to be very wide (to service thousands or even millions of people a day). If it’s only a one day or two-way it will get harder to make a profit. The project just doesn’t seem scalable.