Imagine boarding a tram in Manhattan, which then leaves the city to connect with a high-speed train. You leave the tram for the train, and next thing you know you’re in downtown San Francisco…all without ever stopping at a station.
That’s the basic idea behind Moving Platforms, which wants to take high-speed trains and remove the part where they stop at stations. Instead, the trains would simply slow down as they passed by cities, and a tram would rendezvous alongside it and extend walkways so that passengers could move from one to the other. The tram would then uncouple and return to the city while the train speeds back up again.
Believe it or not, people have been throwing this idea around since at least the 1960s, and this particular concept, known as Moving Platforms, is just the latest incarnation of this strangely persistent idea. While the idea of speeding up train travel is an appealing one — ask anyone who’s ever spent an hour or two in a train stuck on the tracks — this isn’t really an idea meant for our current infrastructure.