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Plans for new transport route unveiled to link Pacific with Atlantic

By 0 and 0 and 0
23 March 2015


Cargo traffic on the railways is expected to grow by 56 million tonnes in 16 years. Picture: TraveLiving

Plans have been unveiled for an ambitious new transport route through Russia with a mega road and high-speed rail network to link Asia with Europe.

At a meeting of the Russian Academy of Science, the head of the Russian Railways Vladimir Yakunin presented the idea for the Trans-Eurasian belt Development (TEPR).

Seen as a powerful and versatile transportation corridor it would join up to other networks and reach from the Atlantic to the Pacific, via the heart of Siberia and the Far East.

The project would see not only a new train network built alongside the Trans-Siberian Railway but the construction of major roads, pipelines for oil and gas, and the laying of facilities for electricity and water supplies.

Vladimir Yakunin

The head of the Russian Railways Vladimir Yakunin presented the idea for the Trans-Eurasian belt Development (TEPR). Picture: ITAR-TASS

Mr Yakunin has been engaged in the development of the project with academic Gennady Osipov and the rector of Moscow State University, Viktor Sadovnichy.

During his presentation the head of the Russian Railways said that such a scheme was vital more than ever and would make Russia the new world centre for the creation and development of high-tech industries.

He also said that Western-style globalisation is no longer seen as an incentive but as a hindrance on the economic, scientific, moral and spiritual development of society.

He said: 'This is an inter-state, inter-civilization, project. It should be an alternative to the current (neo-liberal) model, which has caused a systemic crisis. The project should be turned into a world 'future zone', and it must be based on leading, not catching, technologies.'

The project aims to construct the mega transportation route to span the entire length of Russia, and link into existing networks in Europe and Asia. That would create the first ever modern route from the Pacific Ocean in the east to the Atlantic Ocean in the west.

Trans-Siberia railway

Trans-Siberia railway

Trans-Siberia railway

Amur-Yakutsk Railway

'Basing on the new technology of high-speed rail transport we can build a new railway near the Trans-Siberian Railway with the opportunity to go to Chukotka and Bering Strait'. Pictures:, Russian Railways, Krugobaikalskaya, Ministry of Transport and Roads of Yakutia

If the idea is successful, it is expected that could create 10 to 15 new industries, new cities and a huge number of new jobs, as well as further development of Siberia and the Far East. 

According to Mr Yakunin, TEPR could become the GOELRO of the 21st century, in reference to the large-scale electrification of Russia proposed and implemented by Lenin and Stalin between 1920 and 1935.

Talking about a rough estimate for the costs of the project he said that it will require trillions of dollars, but insisted the economic returns would outweigh these investments.

Viktor Sadovnichy, rector of the Moscow State University, said the network would help the Far East and Siberia feel more in touch with the rest of the world. He said: 'Recently I returned from Khabarovsk, where I met with rectors of universities of the Far East - about 100 of them in total.

'The main problem that we discussed was isolation. Up to 30 per cent of talented young people graduating from schools leave these regions.'

Road Kolyma

Road Kolyma

Road Kolyma

Road Kolyma

Kolyma motor road, goes through the Russian Far East and connects Magadan with the town of Nizhny Bestyakh in Yakutia. Pictures: Yakutia Info, Pavel Moiseenko, Anton Shelkovich

Vladimir Fortov, the Head of the Russian Academy of Science, said the project is 'very ambitious and expensive'.

But he added: 'It will solve many problems in the development of the vast region. It is connected with social programs, and new fields, new energy resources, and so on.

'The idea is that basing on the new technology of high-speed rail transport we can build a new railway near the Trans-Siberian Railway with the opportunity to go to Chukotka and Bering Strait and then to the American continent.'

Comments (60)

Alaskans probably aren't concerned about this at all. After all, shortly after taking office, Putin did make a statement that Russia should reassert a claim to Alaska -- even though the United States bought Alaska. And then there's the Russian fighter jets that keep crossing into Alaska's airspace. I don't know, it seems a little aggressive to me. Which is not to say that I object to building a road between Alaska and Russia, only that anyone asserting that Putin is a good guy who just wants to get along is probably foolish.
Lela Markham, Fairbanks, Alaska
03/04/2015 02:27
I think there is merit in this type of project. In general, it is better if we are more connected. I'm not worried about the security issues with such a road as the countries involved can set up appropriate checkpoints to resolve the security issues. Do I believe that people will actually drive the complete distance other than for fun: no, however it will increase economic activity for both Siberia and AK USA and Western Canada. I would welcome such a project. I wouldn't want to pay taxes for it but if it could be built it would be beneficial to all countries involved.
MichaelS, Seattle WA
01/04/2015 22:58
We are ready for it to do a first encountering 2016 !!! With our " battleship" " The Moby-Dick" .. a huge double-deck Nightliner.. Together we bring music to the project.. 21.500 km with x stops for music-shows ! from London to New York ! We have to start NOW !
Toonalone, Haps Netherlands
01/04/2015 17:33
Amazing concept, one in which I alas put little stock in becoming a reality. Having said that, I love the idea in concept, having myself done a road trip by myself to Arctic Canada (Inuvik, NT), all over Alaska, and then back to Chicago, for a total of 25,000 km on my VW Jetta (Bora). I would do such a drive in a heartbeat, were such a road to exist, and would find it quite exciting. Economically, a direct link would be a coup, insofar as a way around long ocean journeys via cargo ship for time-sensitive cargo, that doesn't quite need the speed or ultra-high cost of air transport. Geographically, however, Alaska would be a significant challenge to overcome, as its highway system is already limited and taxed by its harsh winters. Most travel there is done by small plane to the remote coastal towns like Nome. Even so, I'd love to see this happen.
Doug S., Chicago, USA
01/04/2015 12:02
In Spain, none of the high-speed routes are profitable, so better first improve the present infraestructure (railways, highways, airports) before building a new one. The profitability in Russia comes more from the fact it can make more cohesive the Russian territory if there is a high-speed railway from Moscow to Vladivostok and another from St. Petersburg to Sochi...but the present railway infraestructure can be improve to afford 150 km/h in conventional trains as it is now also the case in Spain. First, use the present railway and improve trains and motorways, waterways, airports, superhighways. Then, later, if there is time and money, think about high speed train (if also there is transfer of technology from Siemens and Alston)
Enrique, Spain
31/03/2015 11:16
Mr. Jan Johansen, of Norway.The only country that is invading countries at will and conducting wars around the world, and which has ever destroyed cities with atomic bombs, is the United States of America. Listen to what the Republican Party of the USA is demanding of the Government. Some are calling for war against Russia. The Russians aren't calling for world war against anyone.
Terry Gavigan, Sydney Australia
29/03/2015 18:01
( Paul, Spartanburg, South Carolina ) needs to be treated as a traitor and a threat to national security. Are you on drugs? Are you angry at your country? I assume you have ties to Russia
Steve, USA
29/03/2015 13:22
Intercontinental highway iz good idea, comrades. I can see myself drivink on this highway through siberia and stoppink every few miles to enjoy eatink and drinkink at, let's say, a Sheetz (american gas and go store), a mickey-deez, a roy rogers, or a hardees. Or maybe stoppink to enjoy some european or russian or asian fast food place. Iz good, comrades. There iz a rock n' roll song that goes "life iz highway."
mike, ellicott city, MD-usa
28/03/2015 11:44
All of you who talk about "Tsar Putin" and compare him to hitler on here and say he is some unpredictable person who wants to bomb the entire world obvoisly dont know what your talking about . If thats what he was Wouldn't he would have already done so? For 15 years he has access to the largest nuclear stockpile in the world and he still hasn't bombed anyone? In fact, everything the mainstream media in the EU and US (Especially US) says about russia isnt true. All the conflicts in Ukraine/Georgia/Syria, etc are made by the west to topple current legitimate authoritise to put in place pro-western leaders in the name of "democracy" but so that western businesses have a competitive advantage in those countries. That is how we can survive our national debt for so long and not go bankrupt. They want to portray everybody else as the "Bad Guy" so that they can get the peoples support for more war. Under Putin, Russians live better and are more free than they ever were in thier entire history
Paul, Spartanburg, South Carolina
28/03/2015 10:59
In response to (Greg, Aurora, Colorado) Part 2. Also Siberia has the largest reserves of all kinds of natural resources. Siberia is probably the richest region in the world in in natural resources. But this would help the logistics of these resources and this would eventually benefit the entire world. Also, Unlike you who would prefer a luxury cruise , I would take the this road if it was available for use now. If you are not aware, Siberia (basically the whole remote area east of the Ural Mountains. consists of about 75% of Russias territory and only 25 % of the population) is arguably one of the most beautiful and scenic regions in the world. I am Russian and I know that the area is very remote and hard to get to due to the landscape and the coldest winters on the planet in areas of permanent settlement. But with modern technologies this is possible and would be the roadtrip of a lifetime for many people.
Paul, Spartanburg, South Carolina
28/03/2015 10:49
In response to (Greg, Aurora, Colorado, USA). Part 1 You said you would prefer to take a luxurious cruise rather than 8 long days of driving. That might be your position and I respect that but not everyone thinks like that. 1st. a cruise around half the world non stop would take longer than that and you wouldnt see the great scenery you would get in such a road trip, all you would see is water. 2nd. The longest interstate freway in the USA is I-90. How much people who use it traveled on it from Seattle, WA to Boston, MA? I am pretty sure barely anybody excluding truckers but it is still once of the most important interstates in the country, connecting more industialized areas of western WA and the Mid-West/New England to more remote areas SD, WY, MT. which benefits all the areas it runs through. So Even with such a superhighway, not much ppl from new york would travel on it to London but it would be very economically viable resource.
Paul, Spartanburg, South Carolina
28/03/2015 10:37
The idea of a tunnel or bridge across the Bering Strait, to allow continuous rail traffic from New York to Paris, goes back to the late 19th Century. E. H. Harriman, on the American side, and Adolf Rothstein, on the Russian side, envisioned connecting Harriman's Union Pacific Railway with the Trans-Siberian. Born in Berlin in 1857, Rothstein (my great-great-uncle) was the leading railroad magnate and industrialist in Russia at the turn of the century, as well as financial advisor to Sergei Witte at the Ministry of Finance. But Rothstein died in 1904, Harriman died in 1907, and after that, interest in the project died away.
Peter Crane, Seattle, USA
28/03/2015 03:03
To me seeing and talking to my grandchildren (either 6 hours or 6,000 miles away) via Skype is still wonderful science fiction and I am a 150% supporter of the space the age/dynasty of Tzar Putin one must be overly cautious. The super highway of today was born in the 1930s. While it was a wonderful creation for everyone able to use it, that's not why it was built. Hitler wanted the fastest possible roadway for the military moving around the Country. There can be no question that this would be the primary reason for Tzar Putin to commit to such a project. He's already shown his willingness to sacrifice the entire economy of his people's home in his efforts to rebuild the USSR one piece at a time. For the moment he is successful. Imagine what would have happened had Hitler been more realistic than insane. Take, absorb, rest, rebuild, let the world accept the new borders...then take another piece. China has proved that it works. And the second piece of the Ukraine is in process. We already have all the needed technology to create a total world wide electrical grid, as foreseen by Buckminster Fuller decades ago. It doesn't happen only because no one in the world is willing to put their trust in everyone else, even though it would be one of the most economic efficiencies the world has ever had.
Marty Jacobs, Wilmington/USA
27/03/2015 22:50
I'd drive it tomorrow. You can call it Trans Eurasian Belt Hwy if you want. I'm calling it Viking (high)Way. Brilliant. Beautiful country.
Mike Rhodes, Vancouver B.C. Canada
27/03/2015 22:44
F. Orget, Aboutitia, Italy
27/03/2015 14:11

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