China is looking to make an aggressive push to expand its high speed rail network, and part of that proposed plan includes some hugely ambitious projects, says Quartz—maybe even including a high speed rail line that would make it all the way to America.
Referencing comments by Chinese engineer Wang Meng-shu to the Beijing Times, Quartz says that officials are “having discussions” about the possibility of building an 8,000 mile rail line to America that would include a 124-mile-long tunnel beneath the Bering Strait, the narrowest pass between Russia and Alaska.
The China–America line is only one option for a new rail mega-project currently being considered by the Chinese, says Smart Planet:
The China-Russia U.S. line is one of four major high-speed rail projects Meng-shu discussed with the Beijing Times. Among them a Eurasian rail line connecting China to London and a Pan-Asian rail line starting in Kunming and connecting Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore.
The cost and engineering challenges of such a feat would be staggering, with Quartz estimating the cost at around $200 billion.
This isn't the first time someone has thought about trying to build a bridge or tunnel across the Bering Strait, says Sarah Laskow for Grist: Czar Nicholas II thought about it in 1905, and just a few years ago Russia was tossing the idea around.
What purpose such a train would serve, however, is difficult to say: container ships are cheaper, and airplanes are certainly faster. In the face of such massive costs, it's difficult to imagine such a huge project going through.