Planet China

Digging deep

China has just one underwater rail connection – a 10km link between the southern cities of Guangzhou and Dongguan. So it came as a bit of a surprise when the Beijing Times published details of a plan to connect China to America by rail, including a 200km tunnel under the Bering Strait.

But according to Wang Mengshu, a railway expert at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the technology already exists and the project is now “under discussion” – although no one from the other three countries along the proposed route –  Russia, Canada or the US – has confirmed this.

Wang estimates it would require about 13,000km of track to get from Beijing, up to the Bering Strait, under the ocean and then down to America’s west coast. Travel time would be about two days, he announced.

The length of the tunnel – four times that of the Channel Tunnel between Britain and France – isn’t a problem, Wang said. China is already capable of building an undersea link from the coastal province of Fujian to the island of Taiwan, a stretch of water about 150km wide. That project hasn’t happened because of political resistance from Taiwan. One suspects America and Canada might have also have reservations about this latest plan too.

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