Report: China Mulls Construction of a High Speed Train to the U.S.

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
May 10 2014 5:32 PM

Report: China Mulls Construction of a High Speed Train to the U.S.

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The high speed train that runs on the 1,425-mile line between Beijing and Guangzhou runs into Xuchang East Station in Xuchang, central China's Henan province on December 26, 2012

Photo by STR/AFP/Getty Images

It sure sounds far-fetched but a story in the Beijing Times claims China is considering building a high-speed train that would connect China’s northeast with the United States. The project would cross Siberia and the Bering Strait to Alaska, and then go across Canada into the United States, according to the English-language report published in the state-run China Daily.  To cross the Bering Strait into Alaska, the railway would need a 125-mile underwater tunnel, which implies it would be around four times the length of the tunnel that crosses the English Channel, notes a very skeptical Washington Post article on the report.

China Daily claims that the technology to construct such a long underwater tunnel already exists and will be used to build a tunnel to connect China’s Fujian province with Taiwan. "Right now we're already in discussions. Russia has already been thinking about this for many years," said a railway expert cited by the Beijing Times, according to the Independent’s report on the story. The train would reportedly travel at around 220mph, meaning the entire trip between the United States and China would take around two days.

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What is being called the China-Russia-Canada-America line is one of four large-scale international high-speed rail projects the country wants to build, the Guardian writes, citing the Beijing Times:

The first is a line that would run from London via Paris, Berlin, Warsaw, Kiev and Moscow, where it would split into two routes, one of which would run to China through Kazakhstan and the other through eastern Siberia. The second line would begin in the far-western Chinese city of Urumqi and then run through Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Iran and Turkey to Germany. The third would begin in the south-western city of Kunming and end in Singapore.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the "Today's Papers" column from 2006 to 2009. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoliti.

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