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

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

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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