If you’ve ever had the pleasure of traveling in Switzerland, then you know how absolutely convenient and predictable it is. Planes, trains and buses are almost always on time with impressive accuracy.
Now Switzerland’s École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne wants to combine at least two forms of transportation into one ultra-convenient, speedy and timely way to get from point A to point B. Their Clip-Air concept consists of a modular train/plane craft that would allow passengers to take a train to London (or any other major hub), where an aircraft would pick up the train car and fly it to Rome or Paris or Geneva. You get the gist. Essentially, the system merges the flexibility of rail travel with the speed of flight.
The airplane part of Clip-Air has a wing, engines, cockpit, fuel and landing gear. It can carry up to three fuselages, which begin as train cars and can be mixed and matched as needed. For example, those train cars could carry cargo or up to 450 passengers — first class or coach. That’s as many passengers as three Airbus A320s, but with half the engines. Not only does that save money on fuel, but it also saves on maintenance and crew and management expenses. And despite Clip-Air’s apparently larger size, it’s still able to operate from existing airports.