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Workers lay railway tracks near the new railway station in Shanghai, China on 01 March 2010. (Qilai Shen/In Pictures/Corbis)

China Is Thinking About Building a Train to the U.S.

Chinese engineers are discussing a new high speed rail line from China to the US

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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 TimesQuartz 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.

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About Colin Schultz
Colin Schultz

Colin Schultz is a freelance science writer and editor based in Toronto, Canada. He blogs for Smart News and contributes to the American Geophysical Union. He has a B.Sc. in physical science and philosophy, and a M.A. in journalism.

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