Digging a hole to China may not sound as crazy in the near future as it does now. That's because some ambitious Chinese engineers are considering plans to build a high-speed railway line beneath the Pacific Ocean that would connect China with the continental United States.
For some perspective on just how huge such a project would be, it would take 200 kilometers (125 miles) of undersea tunnel just to connect Russia and Alaska, said Wang Mengshu, a railway expert at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, the Beijing Times reported on Thursday. But Wang insisted the idea is not as crazy as it sounds.
"Right now, we're already in discussions," Wang said. "Russia has already been thinking about this for many years."
To reach the U.S. from China, it would require 13,000 kilometers of tracks, and it would take a train two days to make the trip if its average speed is 220 miles per hour, according to the Guardian.
China’s tunnel technology is ready for the challenge, China Daily reported. The technology is part of China's current plans to build a high-speed railway between the southeastern province of Fujian and the island of Taiwan, which will be funded by China.
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The trans-Pacific project, named the “China-Russia-Canada-America” line, would require a considerable feat of engineering. If realized, it would be the world’s longest undersea tunnel, four times the length of the Channel Tunnel, which connects England and France.
Wang outlined plans for a few other ambitious high-speed railway projects. One project's rail lines would extend from London to Paris, then to Berlin, Warsaw, Kiev and Moscow, where it would split into two routes, with one ending in Kazakhstan and the other in China's Manchuria region. A second project's rail lines would run from Urumqi in China to Central Asia, then to Iran and Turkey, ending in Germany. Construction has begun for both projects inside China, and the parts of both projects outside the country are still being negotiated with foreign governments.
All of the projects are part of China’s drive to take its high-speed railway construction technology abroad. As proof of China's interest in pursuing this goal, on each of his recent visits to other countries, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang made it a habit to recommend Chinese railway construction technology. Most recently, he recommended the technology to leaders during his four-country visit to Africa this week.