'China-Russia-Canada-America line' would run for 13,000km across Siberia and pass under Bering Strait through 200km tunnel
By Jonathan Kaiman, May 8, 2014
A magnetic-levitation train leaves Shanghai. The proposed US rail line
would take two days, with the train travelling at an average of 350km/h.
China is considering plans to build a high-speed railway line to the US, the country's official media reported on Thursday.
The proposed line would begin in north-east China and run up through
Siberia, pass through a tunnel underneath the Pacific Ocean then cut
through Alaska and Canada to reach the continental US, according to a
report in the state-run Beijing Times newspaper.
Crossing the Bering Strait in between Russia and Alaska would require
about 200km (125 miles) of undersea tunnel, the paper said, citing Wang
Mengshu, a railway expert at the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
"Right now we're already in discussions. Russia has already been thinking about this for many years," Wang said.
The project – nicknamed the "China-Russia-Canada-America" line –
would run for 13,000km, about 3,000km further than the Trans-Siberian
Railway. The entire trip would take two days, with the train travelling
at an average of 350km/h (220mph).
The reported plans leave ample room for skepticism. No other Chinese
railway experts have come out in support of the proposed project.
Whether the government has consulted Russia, the US or Canada is also
unclear. The Bering Strait tunnel alone would require an unprecedented
feat of engineering – it would be the world's longest undersea tunnel –
four times the length of the Channel Tunnel.
According to the state-run China Daily,
the tunnel technology is "already in place" and will be used to build a
high-speed railway between the south-east province of Fujian and
Taiwan. "The project will be funded and constructed by China," it said.
"The details of this project are yet to be finalised."
The Beijing Times listed the China-US line as one of four
international high-speed rail projects currently in the works. The first
is a line that would run from London via Paris, Berlin, Warsaw, Kiev
and Moscow, where it would split into two routes, one of which would run
to China through Kazakhstan and the other through eastern Siberia. The
second line would begin in the far-western Chinese city of Urumqi and
then run through Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Turkey
to Germany. The third would begin in the south-western city of Kunming
and end in Singapore. The routes are under various stages of planning
and development, the paper said.
Wang was not immediately available for comment. A man who picked up
the phone at his office said he was traveling and would not respond to
• This article was amended on Friday 9
May 2014. The project is nicknamed the "China-Russia-Canada-America"
line, not the "China-Russia plus America line" as we said first. This
has been corrected.