Actually not steam, but speed.
USA Today reports that the principle behind pneumatic tubes at bank drive- throughs could be employed to build high speed trains that whisk travelers from Los Angeles to New York in as little as 45 minutes.
The cost would be lower than train, car or air travel.
Such technology could even make trips from New York to London faster than current air travel from East to West Coast cities.
One reason there are no NBA teams in, say, Madrid or Rome is the travel expense and fatigue involved in such long trips. But if something faster than traditional air travel came up, that would eliminate one obstacle.
Still, a pneumatic system seems about as likely as “Star Trek” transporting, if you ask me. I’m not comparing technologies. But the construction costs and red tape could bog the tube travel project down for decades.
At the same time, tube travel does make the idea of a Real Salt Lake-Real Madrid rivalry appear a tiny bit more likely.