"The planet's immune system is doing everything it can. The planet's immune system is doing everything it can."
- Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
||A means of sending trains through the air.
|"You know how the regular air tunnels operate?”
“Not fully. It has always been quite a mystery to
me, but I do know that radio has something to do
“Yes it is radio, of a sort. You see the so-called
air tunnels are hollow cylinders of etheric vibrations
projected from point to point in the same manner as
the regular beams over which industrial power is trans-
mitted. In the case of the great transcontinental tunnel
there are twin tubes of these vibrations stretching in
a huge arc from coast to coast, one for eastbound and
the other for westbound traffic. The cars travel within
these cylinders. The vibrations themselves are very
complex in nature. One component provides insulation
against the elements as effectively as though the cars
traversed a solid metal tube. Another provides the
dark color by day and the brilliance by night that warns
standard aircraft of the location of the tubes. Still
another energizes the coils in the cars, which coils
provide the powerful repulsive force that neutralizes
gravity and allows the cars to remain suspended either
when stationary or when in motion. But the method
of propulsion is what makes travel at extremely high
"But Jimmy, the trip is made in about six hours.
Surely that is fast enough for anyone.”
“No, dear, it is not fast enough under present traffic
demands. Of course the cars travel much faster than
the standard aircraft but with my scheme they can
be made to operate at five or possibly six times their
present velocity. You see, as it is now, the tubes are
filled with air at atmospheric pressure and the cars
are drawn though this medium by means of motor-
driven propellers as on the standard planes. It is the
friction of this air that makes higher speeds impossible
and it is the removal of the air that was the basis of
my original investigations.”
(Through the Air Tunnel, Harl Vincent, 1929)
“You are being a little too technical for me,” laughed
Doris, “but I think I get a fair idea of what you are
talking about. And it really is interesting. How is
the rest of it done?”
“By superimposing certain other frequencies on the
carrier waves that comprise the tunnel walls. These
are the ones I have discovered and am now ready to
put to practical use. The first of these causes almost
complete evacuation of the interior of the tubes so
that the air pressure is negligible. The other is a wave
that provides the new propulsive energy for the cars.
You see, it will no longer be possible to use the propellers, since there will be no air for these to work
on. But my method will draw the cars forward by an
inductive action that is capable of providing tremendous speeds. I am afraid I can not describe it to you
because it can not be explained without going into great
technical detail and that would bore you to extinction.
The important thing is that I have my chance at last.”
“Oh Jimmy, I am so glad,” breathed Doris eyes
shining with pleasure “and I know you will succeed.
I just know it.”
|From Through the Air Tunnel,
by Harl Vincent.
Published by Air Wonder Stories in 1929
Additional resources -
This story was also the subject of the cover for that issue; here's the cover of the October 1929 Air Wonder Stories:
(Air Wonder Stories, October 1929)
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