Today the British government announced that Mole Solutions would be awarded funding for an underground transport system. The idea is to deliver goods on rails, buried below the ground, housed in a tunnel between 3 and 6 feet wide. The train carrying goods would be lifted above the tracks using magnetic levitation (maglev) and powered by electricity.
While the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in Britain have stumped up cash for a trial run in Northampton this is a great example of what makes our country so great.
Elon Musk, a modern day renaissance man, has proposed a very similar system that appears infinitely more thought out. His idea involves a similar system above ground, running parallel to already constructed highways. It would be self powered thanks to solar (impossible underground) and use negative pressure inside the above ground tunnels to reduce drag.
Amazon too is looking to solve the same transportation of goods problem using a fleet of drones which would not require any tunnels or tubes to be built and would instead deliver items to warehouses close to the end delivery point.
While we applaud Mole Solutions and wish them all the best their idea seems impractical given the cost of constructing subterranean railways. They have further problems given Britain’s age. Dig down 20, 30 or even 50 feet in England and you’ll find ancient graveyards, foundations and scores of other historical artefacts that require tedious excavation (in the UK you must by law report all such findings and allow the government to conduct thorough excavations before you proceed).
American innovation is second to none and the announcement today underscores the need to keep our markets competitive and open. By doing this we encourage the very best – in the world – to rise to the top with solutions to problems that make sound economic sense. We must be careful not to play to our competition and instead continue to do what we do best – compete and innovate.