Going by train all the way from Beijing (or even London) to New York could become a reality.
A stop at the Trans-Siberian, the Novosibirsk Glavny train station. Picture: The Siberian Times
Russia has long had dreams, and even plans, of a rail link from Chukotka to Alaska across the Bering Strait. But a new and ambitious high speed plan from China, linking Beijing to North America, could also rekindle the romance of rail while also being a hard-headed business plan for moving cargo.
The train would speed at 350 kilometres an hour and include 200 km of undersea tunnel.
China would be linked to the east coast of the US in two days.
The Beijing Times newspaper revealed that the proposed line would begin in north-east China, run through eastern Siberia, pass in a tunnel under the Bering Strait between Russia and Alaska, before travelling through Canada and back into the the United States.
The proposal comes from the Chinese Academy of Engineering and is called 'China to Russia plus the United States'. If the line is connected to the Trans-Siberian Railway, then it will allow for travellers to plan routes to and from Europe, and even via the tunnel under the English Channel, the UK.
The China-US concept is for a 13,000 kilometre line, longer than the Trans-Siberian.
State-run China Daily said the 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 stated.
Other ambitious Chinese plans include other ultra-long distance lines which would link to this new proposal. All would require agreement with Russia and other countries. One would run through Europe to Moscow, where it would split into two lines. The northern branch would go through eastern Siberia, the other cut south via Kazakhstan to China.
A second starting in far-western China would run through Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Turkey to Germany.
The New Silk Road, mainly for cargo, is seen as an alternative to both sea passages and the Trans-Siberian Railway. The third would begin in the south-western city of Kunming and end in Singapore, with reports suggesting that the projects are at various stages of the planning process.
'Right now we're already in discussions. Russia has already been thinking about this for many years,' said Wang Mengshu, an engineer cited by the Chinese media.
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First cargo train on the final link of Amur-Yakutsk line in historic expansion of Siberia's great railways.