In the future, it may be possible to get on a train in China and get off in America. The Chinese already have a vast train system, but they are planning a new expansion that will connect them with the U.S. by undersea train.
Chinese rail already covers much of the country, and they maintain the world’s longest rail network and all of it high-speed, as well. The country is aiming to add an extra 11,806 miles to their existing 6,000. By 2025, they plan to have lines totalling 15,534 miles, more than doubling their existing ones. In fact, it has been said that the high-speed trains are so popular that the Chinese domestic airlines are suffering.
However, a line that connects China to America is a very ambitious plan. Ideas have been put forward to suggest that the line would begin in the north-east of China, cross through Siberia and utilize a proposed undersea tunnel running below the Bering Strait between Russia and Alaska. From there, the train would travel through Canada to reach America. The total train time would take approximately two days.
The project, which is named the “China-Russia-Canada-America” line, would have approximately 8,077 miles of track. It would be longer than the Trans-Siberian railway, which currently holds the top spot for world’s longest rail. But with the proposed Chinese trains running at 220 mph, the train journey is significantly shorter than one across Russia.
Yet, the plans are not favored by everyone. A tunnel under the Bering Strait would be as much as four times longer than the Channel tunnel between France with England and thus require a massive amount of engineering skill. However, it has been reported that China has the skills necessary to carry out such a feat. They have another plan in the works to connect the island of Taiwan to Fujian, a nearby province on the mainland.
In addition to connecting via rail to the U.S., there are numerous other train plans in the works. China is hoping to create a “new Silk Road” that will connect them to Europe via heavy freight trains. This route begins in the center of the country and then runs to the south-west through central Asia and northern Iran. From there, the route moves through Iraq, Syria and into Turkey. In Istanbul, the rail heads north-west passing through Bulgaria and Romania to the Czech Republic and then on to Germany. Upon reaching the German city of Duisburg, the rail heads to the northern region of Rotterdam in the Netherlands. Finally, it heads south to Italy, terminating in Venice. Moreover, they are hoping to match their overland trains with a maritime route via Africa and the Suez canal.
It is still unknown how the other countries feel about the passage from China to America. However, the Chinese are maintaining a positive outlook. They see their rail connections as a way to foster friendships, improve trade and boost economic relations. They appear to be confident that a connection via undersea train is a completely rational step. Their notion of resurrecting the old silk roads routes is a reminder that they were once able to pass through nations with just caravans and horses. With that idea in mind, the phrase “digging a hole to China” seems all the more plausible.
By Sara Watson