A Highway in the Sky??

“Imagine a national transit system that runs on solar energy and wind power. Now imagine that it consists of recycled airplanes speeding along elevated tracks.”

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This is the vision of Mass Tram America and its founder Ben Missler, an ex-Boeing engineer who wants to use the carcases of old Boeing jets (normally scrapped for metal) fueled with solar, wind and fuel cells as traveler trains that run up above traffic at 150 mph, suspended on a monorail. How it works:

  • The actual Tram car is constructed from de-commissioned Boeing 727’s, 737’s, and 757’s that are stripped of their wings, engines, and tails.

  • The fuselages become compartments equipped with solar cells and battery storage.

  • These compartments are attached to a rail system by permanent magnet regenerative motorized wheels.

  • Power is provided through solar electricity, wind power, regenerative breaking and fuel cells.

  • The system of single rails is hung from suspension cables, made level with support cables.

  • This system can be adapted to current road construction. When crossing a river, for example, the rail can be suspended from an existing bridge, minimizing construction and cost.

  • Structural steel or reinforced concrete towers are erected as high as needed, and multi-strand stainless steel cables are strung between towers.

  • Towers to support the rail system are erected approximately every 1000 feet and fitted with solar panels, wind turbines, or a combination of both.

  • Transfer stations are set up where necessary, allowing passengers to disembark or transfer to another tram. They also contain extra backup power for tram cars, as well as parking, concessions, and other passenger services.

  • All of the Tram’s components utilize off-the-shelf technology. All of the mechanisms needed to make “The Highway in the Sky” a reality are in use today.

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Mass Tram America is hoping to launch a pilot project by 2011. For more info, pick up October’s Plenty Magazine, or check the Mass Tram America Website.

[Plenty Magazine; Mass Tram America]

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