Join Russia and USA by Rail Tunnels under the Bering Strait?

Posted April 28th, 2012 at 11:18 am (UTC+0)
48 comments

By rail, from New York to Moscow, and on to London! Only a 10,000 kilometer gap to fill in this bird's eye view of a trans Bering rail link. Map: Victor Razbegin

Russia’s Urals oil has been over $100 a barrel for a year now.
The country’s budgets are balanced. Debt is low. Savings are piling up. Russians are getting their pre-recession mojo back.
On the consumer end, sales of foreign cars made in Russia jumped 90 percent during the first quarter of 2012 over last year.
In the Kremlin, leaders are thinking big again.
In rapid succession, the government leaked a plan to create a “super agency” to develop the Russian Far East; President-elect Vladimir Putin vowed to spend $17 billion a year for new and improved railroads, and Vladimir Yakunin, president of Russian Railways, promoted a think big plan — a rail and tunnel link connecting Russia and the United States.
“It is not a dream,” Yakunin, a close ally of Mr. Putin, told reporters last week. “I am convinced that Russia needs the development of areas of the Far East, Kamchatka. I think that the decision to build must be made within the next three-five years.”
Next year, Russia’s railroad czar will open one big leg on the trip toward the Bering Strait – an 800 kilometer rail line to Yakutsk, capital of Sakha Republic, a mineral rich area larger than Argentina.

Moscow-born Fyodor Soloview lives in Anchorage, Alaska, where he lobbies for uniting his two homelands, Russia and the United States, with rail tunnels under the Bering Strait. Photo: Soloview

But the 270,000 residents of Yakutsk do not want to live at the dead end of a spur line. They dream of five kilometer long freight trains rolling past their city, carrying Chinese goods to North America, and North American coal and manufactured products to Russia and China.

From their city, 450 kilometers south of the Arctic Circle, passenger tickets could be sold west to London, and east to New York.

With the West’s swelling population of aging affluent retirees, what better gift for Mom and Dad than a one-month train trip, rolling across the International Dateline, traveling by rail three quarters of the way around the world? A TransBering rail voyage would make the TransSiberian and the TransCanada look like short hops.
To push thinking along, Yakutsk hosted a trans Bering rail conference last August. Engineers showed charts indicating that the tunnels under the Bering Strait would be 103 kilometers long, about twice the length of the tunnel under the English Channel. Unlike Europe’s “Chunnel,” there are two islands along the Bering route – geographical factors that would ease construction and allow for ventilation and emergency access.

For now, the only trains in Alaska run from Seward on the coast 760 kilometers into the interior, carrying tourists to Denali National Park and freight to two military bases. Photo: Fyodor Soloview

A trans Bering rail link was first seriously proposed by Czar Nicholas II in 1905. One century later, with the rise of China and the explosion of Asian manufacturing, some Russian economists believe that the day is near when a rail link to North America up would be economically viable.
The current price tag for the missing 10,000 kilometers, tunnel included: $100 billion. Freight fees are estimated at $11 billion a year.
Russian Railways estimates that a Bering Strait tunnel could eventually handle 3 percent of the world’s freight cargo. Yakunin says that China is interested in the project. At a railway meeting in Moscow Thursday, Mr. Putin said that freight traffic on a main Siberian line, the Baikal-Amur Mainline, is expected to nearly triple by 2020.

To critics who worry about harsh winter weather, Russian Railways notes that since 1915, the company has been running passenger and freight trains year round to Murmansk, located 300 miles north of the Arctic Circle. The proposed route for a tunnel under the Bering Strait would pass 50 kilometers south of the Arctic Circle.

Trans Bering rail promoters envisage building feeder lines to connect 'stranded' mineral deposits and to allow shipment of freight between North American and Russia, China, Japan and the Korean peninsula. Map: InterBering

For a tunnel linking two continents, support has to be generated on the North American side. In Alaska, Fyodor Soloview, a native of Moscow, recently formed InterBering, a private group to lobby for rail construction to the Bering Strait.
“We can ship cargo between two the continents by rail,” Soloview said by telephone Thursday from his office in Anchorage. “Once the Bering tunnel is built, it will convert the entire world to different thinking.”
Yakunin estimates that the Russian side of a trans Bering railroad would take 10 to 15 years to build. That could fit into the political calendar of his friend Mr. Putin. On May 7, Mr. Putin will be inaugurated for a new six year term. He has left open the possibility of running in 2018 for another six year term.
So Russian Railways may have the political cover for another 12 years.
The question is whether oil prices will stay high enough to build a tunnel linking America and Asia.
If so, Washington’s diplomatic reset with Moscow could be welded in steel.

To reconnect Asia and North America -- after a 15,000-year separation -- engineers would dig two 103-kilometer long tunnels, each about twice as long as the rail tunnels opened under the English Channel in 1994. Diagrams: Victor Razbegin

On the North American side, almost 5,000 kilometer to track would have to be laid to connect with the existing North American freight network: east from the Bering Strait to Fairbanks, Alaska, and then southeast to Fort Nelson, British Columbia, Canada. Map: InterBering

James Brooke
James Brooke is the Russia/CIS bureau chief for Voice of America. A lifelong journalist, he covered West Africa, Brazil, the American Rocky Mountain States, Canada, and Japan/Korea for The New York Times. A resident of Moscow since 2006, he was first Bloomberg bureau chief for the region. In 2010, he joined VOA. In addition to writing Russia Watch, his weekly blog, he also does video, radio and web reports from Russia and the former USSR.

48 Responses to “Join Russia and USA by Rail Tunnels under the Bering Strait?”

  1. bill says:

    It sounds like a great idea. But has anyone thought about the enviromental impact by trying to develop russias far east. Its the most preserved ecological area on the planet. I hope the greedy politicians in moscow understand that the balance of nature is much more important than lining your pockets with money wich you cant take with you when ya die. Dont forget greed is a deadly sin. Hopefully they can put nature first before there greedy ideology. Maybe the biggest nature reaerve and park in the world. Then the train would be a great idea for tourism rather than depleting the natural resources of russias pristine nature. Having such a park and nature preserve would be the greatest single achievment in the history of mankind. Think about that mr putin.

    • vik says:

      unfortunately what you are bringing up is a huge issue i can’t understand about Putin. I am a supporter of him in general, however since 2000 he could have developed the exports industry and agriculture enough to stop depleting the natural resources. The Siberia has been in progress of deforestation for decades now, joint effort between China, Russia and North Korea (yup!).

    • Miguel, California says:

      Before you chide other to think of the environment, you might ponder the thought that the entire environmental movement in the United States plays into the hands of the trillion dollar industries of the foreign energy cartels whose unimaginable capital reserves enable it to rape and pillage the earth on an unimaginable scale while allowing the US to have environmental reserves that are relatively minute when compares to the sensitive natural resources being exploited throughout the globe. The nearsightedness and limited impact of the US Environmental movements whose main product has not been a better global environment but rather a continued dependency on foreign energy and the associated sapping of the US economy begs the question of who really controls the Environmentalist of the World.

    • luckyfreeman says:

      much better choice to go to yaktustk to near nomeat least u can drive from magadan to yaktustk

  2. Shaon Boa says:

    As I understand, the railroad to the eastmost point of Chukotka will be built up in any case and at any price. Though it will take the long time and a deal of money. We just need it to connect the russian regions and to give the cheap goods to our Far East. It is like the Liferoad for Chukotka and Kolyma. Then the living standard in northern-east Russia will go up immediately.
    But the tunnel is an expensive infrastructural object which can be fulfilled only together with the USA and Canada.
    Now it sounds fantastically.
    But when the first train will come to Anadyr` how it is shown on the map, the americans will start to think.

    • michael says:

      well it would sure beat waiting a couple months to ship your car to europe if you could just load it on a train in Fairbanks and get it off the train in Chucatta or Lensk or or anywhere along the trans siberian highway,,,,I bet there would be a lot of travellers…

  3. James Brooke jbrooke says:

    Shaon
    I agree.
    At this point, the US does not seem to be in the mood to undertake big infrastructure projects. in the 2010s, we are not ready to take on a 1960s style Moon Project — however if Russia starts to meet the US halfway, this mood could change.
    Jim
    Moscow

  4. Marco Murr says:

    A Bering Strait rail crossing? Not. It’s a 21st Century challenge for engineers, but in actuality, a plethora of headaches and later, regrets. In the unlikely event the idea were ever approved, the first phase of development would consist of constant arguments in both congresses, and among lobbing firms as to which side of the Straits has the most appropriate engineering ideas. Accusations and criticism from each government and each engineering firm would flow left and right. Of course, the “rich” country (and its citizens) would have to pay for most all of the cost overruns, of which there would be many, accompanied by finger-pointing and accusations between the two sides, as for why. Politicians would have a field day. The two main criminal mafias would get involved in it all. Labor unions would go nuts. Congress would have to hold hearings, and often. The whole thing would eventually become an irresistible target for those who want to terrorize. At some point the United Nations would want to get involved and control some aspect of the project. The main crossing in the Straits would, of course, be shut down for “maintenance” every time there was some grand political disagreement between the two major “partners”. And, given the political history of the two sides, when one side inevitably discovers an embarrassing mechanical problem, it would naturally blame the other side for its cause. Along with the denials, nothing would get repaired on time. Looking at the railroad passenger complement is interesting. All one has to do is examine existing European border problems, and then imagine the possibilities for infiltrating a train on its way across a USA-Russia border. Such a crossing would be a magnet for criminals, spies, terrorists, crazies, illegal immigrants, troublemakers, TV camera crews, Hollywood camera crews, politicians and dumb (mostly American) tourists. And you think we have immigration problems now! There would be a constant whining with accusations each and every time one side refused entry of a citizen from the other side. With the mafia infiltrating the whole scheme, new books would have to be written: “Murder on the Great Bering Express – Part XXII.” In a perfect world it’s a nice idea. In the real world, don’t we already have enough problems between the two most powerful nation states?

  5. Steve says:

    10-15 years to build for $100 billion including 10000 km of surface rails and a 100 km tunnel? That is amazing because they are building 2nd ave subway in NYC for the almost 9 years to dig under exactly 33 streets (96th to 63rd) at a cost of $17 billion. Either NYC contracters are the most inept in the world (actually very possible) or the numbers cited in the Bering Sea case are completely off by an order of magnitude.

    • Morgan MacConnell says:

      theres a huge difference between digging under one of the largest cities and digging under undeveloped land.

  6. Mike says:

    Finally, Alaska will truly be Fulton’s Folly.

    • JeffHB says:

      Please don’t remind Mr. Putin that Russia has historic ties to Alaska. We have enough problems with Mr. Putin.

  7. Michael G. Koerner says:

    One major question on this proposal regards the railroad infrastructure that I have not yet seen officially addressed is ‘How will the break(s) in rail standards between the two sides be handled?’. Russian railways are nearly 100% incompatible with those of North America (only allowed loading gauges are similar). Russian track gauge is 1520 mm, North American is 1435 mm (‘standard gauge’), an 85 mm difference – too far apart to allow equipment to operate directly between the two and too close to allow for the easy creation of dual-gauge track by laying a third running rail. Also, the couplers (AAR ‘knuckle’ in North America and SA3 in Russia) are 100% incompatible.

    -Will there be a major conversion/transloading yard near the tunnel?
    -Will such a facility be located far inland on either side, instead?
    -Will the access line on the Russian side be built to North American standards all the way to the Chinese border (China uses the same rail standards as North America and the equipment is fully compatible between the two), with major transload facilities where it interfaces with Russian railways?
    -Etc?

    This is a very important question that must be answered.

    Michael G. Koerner
    Appleton, Wisconsin, USA

    • stuart says:

      Yes

    • Oliver says:

      Hi Michael,

      little late to the party but its not really that difficult. As for the gauge which will be used, Amur-Yakutsk line uses standard Russian 1520mm. Same applies to planned Yakutsk – Khonuu railway which runs through Magadan. We can safely assume same applies to any further plans towars Chukotka (Pavek and Uelen).

      That answers third question – the railroad towards China (Trans-Mongolian railroad) is already build. There is no point in building the railtracks on line Yakutsk – Ulaanbaatar – Beijing again.

      As for second – the track changing requires several hundred workers. I very much doubt that Wales or Uelen are sufficient for it, especially not in case of Uelen given that Chukotka region is still closed military zone where you need a permit from Russian ministry. Nearest possible seems Nome, but most likely we are talking about Fairbanks which can be connected with Wales by Russian gauge system (which is one-way) anyway continuing towards Uelen and Yakutsk.

  8. paul lyberg says:

    a big yes. anything that costs less to transport is welcome in any economy

  9. Observer says:

    It will not happen. But Russians can try

    • Vladaköv says:

      I find this matter very disturbing, in the fact that the costs of such a project to make a railway to connect two country’s and continents that do not really have the best history.
      Its also possible that this railway could be a target for terrorism, that could affect multiple countries simultaneously.

      Vladaköv – Russia

  10. Pia says:

    I noticed that no one yet has said anything about the fact that this area of the world is in the geographic “Pacific Ring of Fire” region. On a daily basis there are so many earthquakes of minor magnitude occurring along the plates. The collisions that occur could seriously ruin the railway tracks either on the mainland or the ones that will connect the proposed tunnels going through the Big Diomede and the Little Diomede. Nature is great the way she is. Lets leave her alone! She always rearranges everything the way she wants it anyhow. This longterm project of Putins will be an even longer term project f nature to restore the Earth the way it wants to be. Save your rubles, save your dollars and save your Yuan. Feed your people and care for them from your own lands. The grass is greener in your own backyard if you tend it.

    • Michael G. Koerner says:

      The Bering Strait is geologically stable and fairly shallow (no more than 80-100m depth at its deepest point). The major plate boundary between Asia and North America is about 2000 km farther west in eastern Siberia.

      Michael G. Koerner
      Appleton, Wisconsin USA

      • Richard Diaz says:

        Wow, you know the plate boundary is in western Siberia too. I think mostly everyone is confused by the myth that it’s in the middle of the Bering Strait and it’s in the slow process of closing up. Despite the obvious facts that St. Lawrence Island is in perfect shape, the chain of Alaskan islands are in a perfect curve, inconsistent with 2 sides drifting toward each other. And the fact that the longitude on the opposite side of the world from Iceland or the northern Mid-Atlantic Ridge is in western Siberia. I researched and found it to be within the Kamchatka Peninsula. Proof that the 2 continents have already connected. And since the Bering Strait is so shallow, seen @ Google Maps Find Altitude, I like to believe the Bering Land Bridge was above what the sea level today is, until it was carved away during the last ice age when ice drifted south across it. If the strait was there before, then before the continents connected, the land east of the plate boundary was an island. I like imagining on the map, North America extending that far. Russia would range in 3 continents. Well it already did, until the Alaska purchase. Since the highest mountain is not at all near the height of Mount Everest, considering the size of the 2 continents, it may be that it’s just still in the process. Or with the slower rate, erosion might be too quick.

        Since the international date line goes around the Alaskan island chain, already making 1 hemisphere longer than the other in some latitudes, they should put the middle following the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, only except Iceland.

        Now about the Bering Tunnel, at least it would not be damaged since the plate boundary is inland. And for trains to run on Russian and American railroad lines, the trains would be designed with a second set of wheels to fit the other railroad lines. The fastest tunnel boring machine I know, the Main Beam from Norway, has an average drilling rate of 20 feet per hour. Too bad about the catches in maintaining it for such a project, because at that rate, it would complete each drilling within a year. A tunnel below the 8 mile wide Lena River would also take only months to drill.

        • michael says:

          So what are they saying that this train would also stop at the city of Lensk that city was created in 1976 I think and its on the Lena River…but the river stays frozen all but about 2 months a year..

      • Richard Diaz says:

        My myth- I keep referring eastern Siberia as western because I’m bad with the Provinces. I thought Siberia was the easternmost province, because it’s so far and cold and the fact that Siberia has Russia’s worst prisons. That’s why I thought it extended to the Bering Strait, putting the Kamchatka Peninsula on the west part of the province.

  11. [...] Join Russia and USA by Rail Tunnels under the Bering Strait? [...]

  12. Jeff Huntington says:

    Time to buy up beachfront property on the Arctic Coast. Thanks to global warming, we’re gonna have a new real estate boom up north. Not to mention the Kanchatka Bikini Company. You can’t change climate change. You can learn to love it.

  13. Patrick says:

    What’s the point of the tunnel when a port is just a effective for a quick crossing.

    They will build the tracks to the borders but they will not build the tunnel. The port authorities from both countries will put too much pressure on their politicians for the rail guys to push this one through.

    • Marianne says:

      Some people are proposing two sea ports instead of a tunnel. Let me remind you all that Bering Strait froze ever on winter and there is a iceberg season. This is no Caribbean Sea. A tunnel would make the connection between the continents a year round one.

      It was proposed to make a bridge instead of a tunnel. There would be all kind of logistic problem as well, icebergs, after snow storm plowing, road stop for truckers and tourists, etc. The rail raod only tunnel option seems to be the one which gives the less headache.

  14. Mike Pellegrini says:

    Very cool idea. It certainly would provide employment for many people on both sides of the Bering Strait for many years, a big plus, and knit Eurasia and North America together in a tangible, visceral way, an even bigger plus.

    Is it needed from an economic standpoint? Probably not.

    Eurasia is rich in natural resources, but so is North America. And both continents are becoming greener by fiat, not governmental but technological. A decade from now, the era of oil and coal and natural gas will be over, supplanted by the age of electrons. What then would we sell to each other?

    I live in Western Pennsylvania, once one of the most heavily industrialized parts of the world, and we are being overrun by trees. No one wants our trees, coal and increasingly, our huge amounts of natural gas.

    Still, the “strunnel” captures my imagination. The poetry of it, the people in it, not the economics of it.

  15. Doris Holm says:

    I think what Mike Pellegrini says is true I think it would give both side the opportunity for every one to get a job, but it is true it my possible for the impact on nature how ever it will less strain when a electric train is running or if a ship with diesel fuel what properly tonne’s of fuel in the air pushed. Think people every will benefit from this not only Russia or the USA, China or Europa ask your self how many Ships a in danger when the going to Asia or African coast in Somalia or when the Hurricanes or Typhoon how much cost this to the Tax payer? I am for this project .

  16. Richard S. says:

    One problem: Russia and North America are two different track gauges. North America is on standard gauge (4’8.5″) . And Russia is on Russian gauge (4’11.875″). Maybe convert the main Russian line to standard gauge.

  17. osaka says:

    Maglev train would be better.
    Since nothern area are snowy, all part should be underground.

    • Chris Miller says:

      Yes. Maglev would be much faster with a top speed of ±500 km/h.

      The inventors/designers of the Japanese Maglev technology (two Americans) have designed a second generation of that technology that would be able to carry any heavy freight currently carried by rail, at full maglev speed and without danger of derailment or problems with weather (either delays due to snowstorms or track problems due to extreme cold). At these speeds, freight could travel almost direct from factory in southern China to New York in under two days via a Bering Strait crossing, quite economically due to the low cost of contactless electrical propulsion. (Most of this would be on prefabricated box beam “monorail” guideways, cheaper to build than traditional railbed. This avoids disruption of the landscape and fauna along the route that you always get with ordinary rail or highways — and with car ferries it would make highway along the route unnecessary.

      Freight travelling at these speeds would make (second-generation superconducting) maglev far more attractive than any other existing mode. The cost savings in time and energy ought to be enough that demand for ultrahigh-speed freight maglev would generate enough traffic to pay back the initial capital investment for a Bering link and infrastructure on either side far more quickly than regular freight rail. And passenger maglev would of course benefit, but would not generate as much revenue as UHS maglev freight. The inventors of superconducting maglev, James Powell and Gordon Danby, talk about the value of maglev for a Bering Strait link at their maglev2000.com and magneticglide.com web sites.

    • Richard Diaz says:

      Yeah, then they could also make the tunnel airless and the maglev trains could go much faster. At least 1000 miles an hour without damaging any of the freight whatsoever. And for passengers.

  18. Peter Glatz says:

    This connection to Russia, Asia and Europe is essential and will happen. The commercial interests are great, but the cultural and political issues are greater. I finally got on line to see if anyone else was thinking about what I have been for many years. Hats off to Mr. Putin, although his motives probably are not a social. Hopefully the US gets behind this. It would be such a gift for us and the world to have land access to almost the whole world. I am looking forward to taking the trip form here in Colorado to Russia, Asia and Europe by land. Hopefully it happens. We must be more connected and less separate and create a world of more understanding that we are all the same not different.

    Peace and God bless,

    Peter Glatz

    • michael says:

      Well I at least hope that somebody finds a high speed freight car that will be used to carry motorcycles without fuel in them or maybe just allow 1 gallon for transport in special containers then ut into slots to be unloaded in either Magadan or Moscow…and loaded on in Montreal Canada …that way …some smart bussiness man could really help some travelers…Just think ride the Amtrack like train from Montreal Canada to Magadan Russia and then ride thee rest on thebike all the way Moscow or basically anywhere in Europe…would sure help people like me …The USA has an Amtrack train that goes from Boston, Mass to Chicago, Ill . USA then you switch to another train and can go onto Portland Oregon its not too expensiver and takes 72 hours…You can take a bicycle…for a little extra cash but no smart Bussiness man has decided to add I specially designed freight car to transport motorcycles..such a shame…It would bea great way to see the west coast and Europe …Because nobody will do it here in the USA maybe the Russian Billionaires will be smart enough to think of it …At least I would like to see that happen…I would probably try to go if I could bring my own motorcycle…

  19. michael says:

    looks like the anti working gang of lazy pocket stuffing intelectuals wiped us out again…They were trying to get the passenger train back from Portland , Maine …up to Berlin, NH then onto Montreal , Canada this one I think had a special freight car that could transport about 50 or so motorcycles for a small additional fee…would have been great all summer long…Canadians coming down to swim in the ocean and enjoy the area..and tourists traveling up to Montreal to visit and boost both economies all the while creating jobs for the railroad workers and ticket salemen…don’t know why it got stopped…I do know it also would have helped Berlin NH..stop over getting a coffee having a donut maybe a dinner …who knows …but it would have helped…

  20. JeffHB says:

    It would be nice to be able to travel from California to Asia without having to deal with an airport.

  21. A.T. Cuth says:

    It would be nice to conceivably take the train from ON, Canada, to see Seoul, Korea, to re-visit Moscow, Russia, to set foot at London_&_Edinburgh,_United Kingdom, over some delicious Tim Horton’s Hot Chocolate and Canadian Maple doughnuts, mostly all independently of the uncertainties of the sea.

    The above is a grand, grand vision and a more wholesome world view as compared to the post-traumatic stress disorder of warfaring reportedly half a million private civillians of the sovereign nation of Irak.

  22. […] there was a rumor that Russia was actually putting aside $65 billion for this project. In 2012, the president of Russia Railways told reporters that “the decision to build must be made within the next three to five […]

  23. Сибирь – это территория Северной Азии — от Урала на западе до горных хребтов побережья Охотского моря на востоке и от Северного Ледовитого океана на севере до границ с Казахстаном, Монголией и Китаем на юге. Сибирью называют обширную территорию Северной Азии — от Урала на западе до горных хребтов побережья Охотского моря на востоке и от Северного Ледовитого океана на севере до границ с Казахстаном, Монголией и Китаем на юге.

    • Chris Miller says:

      Yup, thanks for that info, but I think most of us here already probably had a good idea of what Siberia is! (Though that knowledge could help those who don’t know much Russian to learn a bit by reading your post.) :-)

  24. pia says:

    What a grand plan this truly is….
    But why is no one concerned over the air pollution impact of hundreds of more trains puffing away over what now is relatively pristine air…I would think…
    With our global warming already at break point levels…shouldn’t we be more concerned about reducing our carbon footprint..rather than increasing it?
    Jobs and tourism are great are they really needed?
    Shouldn’t you grow where you are planted? Must you travel the world over before you die?
    Can’t you be happy going to your local beach.mountain..etc..
    The Earth is the earth everywhere on Earth..it is not better at 45°E longitude than at 45°W longitude…maybe its less or more volatile or dynamic. But the Earth is always changing too.
    We really should be more concerned about moving our major populations away from coastal areas. No one talks about how much that will cost. When the panic from rising oceans starts.it will probably be late to save most people. the ocean will be the final resting place again for many…dont build this so close to the sea..can’t we learn to travel in hover crafts propelled by solar energy??through the air…not leaving any trace marks..or polluting the air??
    Will this train really bring more social harmony…world togetherness??? Will it??? Hearts and minds wanting to and people communicating with each other…that brings people closer….when they meet..some people can sit on trains and not talk..or be on their own androids….how will sitting on a train next to a person who never says anything bring you closer in spirit??

    • Marianne says:

      Well, the “hundreds of more trains” won’t be adding extra containers, they will just replace other means on transportation. After they opened the China to Belgium freight service, they noticed it was mostly air cargo which was redirected to train. Airplanes do a lot more puffing away than trains, so we are actually improving the carbon footprint. Trains are also doing better than cars/trucks so even moving tourists around in train instead of cars is an improvement.

      • JeffHB says:

        This idea seems so quaint right now. If you asked Americans about the concept today, they would probably want to know how we would prevent a parade of Russian armored vehicles from pouring into Alaska through the tunnel to protect the 5 or 6 Russian speaking Alaskans. Not that there has been an upsurge in anti-Russian sentiment. Nope.

        • Marianne says:

          The recent events sure put the tunnel project on the back burner, but we don’t know what the future has in store, everything could be back business as usual in a few months, whoever own Crimea then. Or it could be world war III and cold war II and we won’t see the start of the construction before the 22nd century.

  25. tyler m says:

    yup

About

About

James Brooke is VOA Moscow bureau chief, covering Russia and the former USSR. With The New York Times, he worked as a foreign correspondent in Africa, Latin America, Canada and Japan/Koreas. He studied Russian in college during the Brezhnev years, first visited Moscow as a reporter during the final months of Gorbachev, and then came back for reporting forays during the Yeltsin and early Putin years. In 2006, he moved to Moscow to report for Bloomberg. He joined VOA in Moscow in 2010. Follow Jim on Twitter @VOA_Moscow.

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