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HONOLULU, Hawaii -- In a press conference held here today, WorldLink Rail Services announced its intentions to link California and Hawaii by rail. In an extraordinarily bold and costly undertaking, the company says that it expects to complete construction of a rail line between San Francisco and Honolulu within two years and begin daily passenger and freight service between the mainland and the island shortly thereafter.
"The key to rail travel over the ocean," said Martha VanderSchuller, spokeswoman for WorldLink, "is Rail Airbag Flotation Technology, or RAFT. This technology is a simple yet sophisticated system of rails laid over airbags. Each airbag is nine meters long by two meters wide and supports one section of track. Each airbag is equipped with a sensor that determines its relative elevation to its neighboring airbags then adjusts to compensate for wave action and the weight of the train as it approaches and rides over the airbag."
According to company literature, computer controls sense the location of the train and adjust the track to within .004 degrees of level in seas up to 38 feet. The level track, along with canards that are attached to the sides of the engine and passenger cars, allows the train to travel at an average speed of 382 miles per hour in winds of up to 52 miles per hour.
WorldLink recently completed a year-long demonstration test of train travel across Lake Ontario between Toronto and Niagara-On-The-Lake. VanderSchuller noted that the system operated flawlessly in that test and that track interface problems transitioning to and from the land have been resolved.
The company did not indicate what the price of tickets would be.
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