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...Few fans of the idea realized that this mode of transport had been proposed before and, in a rudimentary manner, built before. Writers and futurists from Jules Verne to Albert Robida theorized tube transport systems under cities and across oceans. Fiction became reality as tubes of either the vacuum or pneumatic variety were used in attempts to transport people short distances. Britain worked to put a vacuum pump in a tube to help speed up a steam train. A.E. Beach built the beginning of the Beach Pneumatic Transit in New York. These attempts amounted to nothing more than short-lived experiments. The real fuel for a movement that could innovate human mobility was lacking; there was not the will to improve, innovate or expand, just as there was later no will to continue to advance electric automobiles when oil-based fuel became cheaply available. ...Live Mint on Dec. 1, 2016, 1:03 a.m.