The state auditor is taking a look at the rising cost of California’s High-speed rail project. Another $3 billion was added to a portion of the unfinished track in the central valley.
Voters originally passed the $64 billion-dollar project in 2008.
The high-speed bullet train is expected to be completed in 2025. It’s supposed to be the nation’s first high speed rail but, that’s not entirely true.
A high-speed train is already in operation in Ukiah, California.
Inventor Max Schlienger built a 1/6th scale model prototype that rides on tracks above his vineyard.
“It’s been a big part of my life, building this. About 20 years,” Schlienger said.
Schlienger calls his prototype the Vectorr Flight Rail.
The test track is only 2,095 feet but, it varies in height up to 10% grade to show the trains power.
“This prototype is a 1/6th scale model. It moves at about 30 miles per hour which translates to about 180 miles per hour with a full-scale model version,” said Schlienger.
The prototype may not be to scale but train was built to demonstrate the trains power source.
“The train is propelled by air pressure and a vacuum," said Schlienger.
Air is what powers this train and its really strong. It can easily climb a 10% grade and get this, It takes just 5 pounds of pressure or vacuum to operate. That's less pressure than what's in a birthday balloon.
The train rides on a large pipe. There is a piston that traverses inside the pipe then the vehicle magnetically connects to the piston and when you add pressure or vacuum it moves down the track.
“The engine is not in the train. That makes it lighter and has very few moving part," said Schlienger.
This may remind you of Elon Musk’s Hyperloop, but actually, the Vectorr system is molded off an 18-century air train built by British Engineer IK Brunel.
"In fact, we attempted to do the same thing they did in Great Britten," said Schlienger.
He improved on the centuries old idea then put the tracks in the air.
“We built it specifically to follow highway right of ways. Above cars on land that the government already owns."
Schlienger says the air powered Vectorr has proven to work and be cost effective.
The next step is a full-scale model in an urban area. There is just one problem.
“One thing we didn't foresee is that transportation and trains are very, very political."
Even after he built an affordable working model, Max says few people are looking at his idea and he can't seem to catch the attention of California's High-Speed Rail Commission or the Governor.
“He should consider this. Seriously," said Schlienger.
I guess you can Consider this your invitation Governor Brown.