It appears China is on track to smashing a new world record. According to Chinese media reports, the People’s Republic is planning to build an underwater train line that would, in theory, connect Beijing to the United States – A distance of about 8000 miles.
According to the China Daily, the project would cross Siberia and the Bering Strait via a 125-mile underwater tunnel into Alaska, then cut across Canada into the United States. The English-language daily claims the technology to construct such a long underwater tunnel already exists, and will be used to build a tunnel connecting China’s Fujian province with Taiwan.
In the past five years, China has embarked on a railway construction-spree laying down thousands of miles of track across the country. The Asian superpower has already signaled its intent to build a ‘New Silk Road’ – a logistics network through Central Asia that would connect Europe via railway.
But skeptics remain wary of China’s ambitious plans, if for no other reason than just the 125-mile long underwater tunnel. The Channel Tunnel is currently the longest underwater tunnel in the world, running underneath the English Channel for about 25 miles. When it opened in 1994, it cost nearly $8 billion and ran 80% over-budget. The tunnel has since had several fires, including one in 2008 that cost over $80 million to repair.
Putting the underwater tunnel aside, even the over-ground network poses its fair share of problems. The railway network would cross through some of the most remote terrain in the world from Alaska all the way through to certain parts of Siberia.
Still, headaches aside who’s to say these technical and logistical obstacles can’t be overcome? After all, this is the country that constructed the World’s largest shopping mall (99% of which is still empty). This is the country that invented paper… and printing… and the compass… and gunpowder…
This, is China!