Imagine you're on a nice, long trainride in the United States. You close your eyes for a quick nap and wake up in... China? Yup. That could happen if China goes through with a proposed high-speed railway linking it to the U.S.
The project, nicknamed the "China-Russia-Canada-America" line, would be over 8,000 miles long and was first reported in China's state-run Beijing Times newspaper. The paper interviewed a railway expert from the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
The Economic Times reports that, according to the expert, the "bullet trains can run at 350 km per hour, enabling passengers to travel from northeastern China to the US in less than two days."
One of the biggest challenges for the ambitious proposal would be building a tunnel to cross the Bering Strait, a 125-mile stretch of arctic water between Russia and Alaska. (Via Discovery)
But according to China Daily, another state-ran newspaper, the technology to build the tunnel is already in place and will reportedly be used on a tunnel linking China to Taiwan — a distance of nearly 94 miles.
So, is it possible that we'll be taking a train over to China anytime soon? Not quite. There are more than a few skeptics out there, especially on a tunnel that runs four times the length of the Channel Tunnel — which runs from Great Britain to France.
The Economist's "Gulliver" is one skeptic, writing that "Although a 200km tunnel is probably feasible in theory, the cost versus the potential return would surely make it one of the world’s most spectacular follies."
The Guardian, one of the first outlets to pick up the story, writes that "No other Chinese railway experts have come out in support of the proposed project. Whether the government has consulted Russia, the US or Canada is also unclear."
And according to Quartz, the astronomical cost might be what keeps the project from happening.
"The ... line could cost north of $200 billion—$52 billion to construct an undersea tunnel to cross the Bering strait and $172 billion for the rest of the railway across land.That would account for well over half of China’s already massive high-speed rail budget of $300 billion."
While it may be a while before the U.S. and China are connected via railway, the country has already started work on both a Pan-Asian and Eurasian railway.