I can drive to Russia from my house

Something I never expected, worth sharing. I wonder if they’ll have an exit for Yamal?

From Slashdot, news that leads me to think that someday I’ll be able to put my car on the train in Alaska and drive it off in Russia like they do with the Eurotunnel.

In what could easily be one of the boldest infrastructure developments ever announced, the Russian Government has given the go-ahead to build a transcontinental railway linking Siberia with North America.

The massive undertaking would traverse the Bering Strait with the world’s longest tunnel – a project twice the length of the Chunnel between England and France. The project aims to feed North America with raw goods from the Siberian interior and beyond, but it could also provide a key link to developing a robust renewable energy transmission corridor that feeds wind and tidal power across vast distances while linking a railway network across 3/4 of the Northern Hemisphere.

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92 thoughts on “I can drive to Russia from my house

  1. Why do I think the renewable energy ideas in this story were dropped in for no other reason to distract from the fact that the trains will haul coal — lots of coal. And, the more coal.

  2. “The project aims to feed North America with raw goods from the Siberian interior and beyond”
    Water is the cheapest form of transport and its main port, Vladivostok, is well served by both road and rail from the interior. How would building a tunnel under the Bering Strait reduce the cost of shipping raw materials from the Russian Far East to North America?

  3. And more coal again. Siberia is closer to North America than it is to Europe by a long shot. A Berunnel, although ambitious, is amazing, but: small matter of the railroad gauge. 60 inches in Russia, 56 1/2 inches in “standard gauge” country. This will mean some interesting inventions to either change the gauge on the fly, or change the undercarriage…and overcome the ancient Russian paranoia about invasion by rail (and the reason for the five-foot gauge in the first place).
    Of course, the permafrost paranoia is the other big hurdle, but that didn’t stip the Chinese from building a rail line to Lhasa, Tibet. The Alaskan region, on the other hand, will be fun to traverse, but not because of engineering issues.
    The Yamal Tree Rest Stop, although farfetched as the dickens, is not outside the realm of possibility. The Briffa memorial Loo, on the other hand, is.

  4. But you still can’t drive to the UK! There is a tunnel, yes, but you have to put your car on a train. We just couldn’t bring ourselves to actually let French drivers drive straight out of Franceland and onto our roads. We would have expected them to swap sides halfway down the tunnel!

  5. Oh that’s just great. Hoover had his dam & now Obama will have his tunnel.
    Just let Obama get word of this and it’ll be part of his jobs plan and a way for him to blow another trillion dollars building the Obama/Putin tunnel (or the Putin/Obama tunnel when seen from the Siberian side).

  6. The Channel Tunnel is half the length, carries huge volumes and still loses money. And, they want to ship raw materials TO Canada? Is today April 1st?

  7. John Tofflemire says:
    August 24, 2011 at 12:17 am

    … Water is the cheapest form of transport and its main port, Vladivostok, is well served by both road and rail from the interior. How would building a tunnel under the Bering Strait reduce the cost of shipping raw materials from the Russian Far East to North America?

    A couple of reasons. One is climate. Vladivostok is in ice-free waters year-round, but the run to Anchorage or to Seattle is ugly.
    The other reason is trans-shipment. Every time you go from rail to ship or back again it costs money. Not as much in this containerized age, but still every container has to be picked up one by one from the train, and moved to some position on the ship, and set down, and locked down … then the process has to be reversed at the other end.
    As such direct rail from Moscow or Siberia to New York seems a big step up.
    Regarding Vladivostok I find that there are container ships going to other smaller Russian ports, and to South Korea, China, Vietnam, and Japan. Nothing to the US, though, you’d need to trans-ship again likely in Japan. Another argument for direct rail.
    w.

  8. History anorak alert! The wider guage was not a major problem for the German invader. Trains could be adapted quickly. The biggest problem was the significantly longer range that Russian trains could manage before water stops necessary. The german trains could not make the range between water stops…. So there!

  9. The Spanish railway network was deliberately constructed with a gauge different from that of France, in order to hinder invasion across the Pyrenees – they didn’t want another Napoleonic type adventure … so the ingenious railway engineers built stock which could change gauge at the frontier. But they did need a different locomotive.


  10. World Landbridge (5) – Bering Strait & Siberia

    A Tour of NAWAPA – A PLAN OF HOPE AND DEVELOPMENT FOR AMERICA

  11. “John Tofflemire says:
    How would building a tunnel under the Bering Strait reduce the cost of shipping raw materials from the Russian Far East to North America?”
    Speed. Time is money.
    Much faster by train than by ship.
    As this :
    “With its internal projects getting closer to completion, China’s new goal is to continue on with a HSR revolution internationally in order to create two-day HSR trip times between Beijing and London”
    Source: Clean Technica (http://s.tt/12tJz)”

  12. Easy entry into the US for all those spies from Moscow.
    Transferring wind power down a tunnel will blow the trains off the track.
    Russia does have some standard gauge tracks, between Europe and western Russia.

  13. Mike Bromley the Kurd says:
    August 24, 2011 at 12:26 am
    And more coal again. Siberia is closer to North America than it is to Europe by a long shot. A Berunnel, although ambitious, is amazing, but: small matter of the railroad gauge. 60 inches in Russia, 56 1/2 inches in “standard gauge” country. This will mean some interesting inventions to either change the gauge on the fly, or change the undercarriage…and overcome the ancient Russian paranoia about invasion by rail (and the reason for the five-foot gauge in the first place).

    No problem – it’s already done when you go from Western Europe to Russia. Mind you, I hope it’s a better operation than the one my daughter saw a couple of years ago. In her train, the bogie was disconnected from inside her coach and the whole thing was lifted off the standard gauge set-up and lowered onto its Russian equivalent whilst she and her fellow travellers were still on board.
    She thought it was great (although sometimes things that are great when you’re twenty become less so with age!).

  14. A logistical nightmare but not beyond the feat of man in practice. Its Carbon Footprint will be enormous!!!!! As pointed out the minor detail of gauge plays a significnat role. Will it be nicknamed the Puma tunnel or the Obatin tunnel? The cost – forget Global Warming, this will cost trillions, be delayed for years, nearly go bust, then go bust, have more taxdollars pumped into it to save face, then finally be built only to be dogged all the way by all sorts of contruction issues, then the reality of running it & making it pay, some! 🙂 Sorry to sound negative, I hate doing that. On the other hand, when the sea level rises 20 feet a’la AG, can’t they just build a giant water flume that can be jacked up each end in turn & let gravity do it’s thing? Oh I forgot gravity will be distorted due to AGW by that time:-(
    OT – BBC Radio 2 breakfast show news this morning, “scientists” reckon that there are some 90%+ species yet to be discovered on the planet?????????? (Someone did a calkalashun I spect on a puter!). All that despite those dying out from us doing “our” thing. How on Earth do they know this, but that’s the level of news reporting here in the PDREU’s pet BBC these days!

  15. a robust renewable energy transmission corridor that feeds wind and tidal power across vast distances

    News flash: after horrific capital investment, wind and tidal will no way be worth transmitting across vast distances. Power losses increase dramatically with any large distance, much less “vast” ones. They will also eat Desertec’s lunch.

  16. Eeer tis folks! Different version of it from their Website.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-14616161
    – hope it works!
    Unfortunately it seems to be indirectly endorsed by Lord (we’re all going to die warmista) May former Head of the Royal Society, the guys who come up with things like “heavier than air flying machines are impossible”, Lord Kelvin, 1895, Head of RS! It’s also by BBC science correspondent Richard (we’re all going to die warmista) Black, the one who never attends anything much expounding contrarian views of AGW!

  17. Hoax, or a fraud.
    This smells like a hoax to me. This makes so little sense that I can’t see anyone being willing to invest in it.
    Let’s start with the smallest of the obvious problems; the railways. The difficulty in transshipping was mentioned in a comment above, but it’s about the same as transferring from one train to the other. That would have to be done at some point, because Russia uses Russian Gauge rail, 4 ft 11 5⁄6 in while America and Canada use standard gauge, 4 ft 8 1⁄2 in. So, the cargo needs to change trains.
    Then, the weather; Northern Alaska and Northern Siberia in winter would not be good places to run trains, to say the least.
    However, that’s the least of the problems. They seem to be forgetting that a tunnel can’t connect the railway networks. Why? BECAUSE THEY DON’T EXIST! The closest point in Alaska with a rail line is around Fairbanks, 600 miles away, and there aren’t even any roads. And that line goes only to Anchorage. Alaska has no rail link to Canada of the US. The closest Canadian rail-head is in Ft. Nelson, well over a thousand miles (by road on the Alaska Highway) away. However, that’s easy, compared to Siberia; the closest point in the Trans-Siberian railway (the only one in the region) would be in the Amur region, just a few miles from northeasternmost China. That rail line would end up being at least 2500 miles just to get to the bearing strait, and would need to cross at least a dozen major mountain ranges.
    The Chunnel linked two major rail networks, separated by 30 miles of water, by going under a strait that already had an enormous amount of trade crossing it. This Bearing Strait tunnel would merely be the largest water crossing of a rail system that would entail at least 4000 miles of new track across the worst terrain on the planet, to bridge a gap that currently has almost zero commerce. To say this is folly would be overly charitable.
    The “green energy” part? As laughable as the rest. Even if they did build wind farms in northeastern Siberia, Where would they send the electricity to? Maybe Fairbanks, but that’s it, and lets not forget transmission losses over distance. If they wanted to do that, a subsea power cable would work just fine, but stringing a thousand miles of high-tension lines would make the already-absurd cost of wind power even more insane.

  18. What are they gonna build tomorrow? A tunnel to Australia?!?
    They’re doing just fine with the boats 🙂
    TO: Mr. Barack Hussein Obama;
    Please quit your shopaholic activity and think about your country for just one moment.
    People w/o jobs, economy at its worst… And all you will promise us is a worthless tunnel?!?!?!?

  19. After including the cost of transshipment, the cost of taking a freight car loaded with grain or a container full of electronics between interior points in North America and Europe will be far cheaper by rail. The trading opportunities that this opens up will be tremendous. Oh, and it validates Sarah Palin’s sentiment that Russia is an important nearby neighbor and trading partner that cannot be ignored.

  20. quote
    Proposed tidal energy plants could provide 10 gigawatts of energy and a string of wind power fields could churn a constant supply of clean energy,
    /end quote
    CONSTANT ?
    CLEAN ?
    Perpetual motion machine coming right on up …
    right after we start making any engineering project ‘clean’
    Most important lesson to try & teach to all your non-science friends (who don’t ‘do’ maths or any applied subject eg politicians and environmental types; especially socialists) is HOW THINGS ARE MADE.
    Next most important lesson is HOW THINGS ARE INTER DEPENDANT.
    Of course you may struggle a bit with teaching them basic logic first

  21. Look at that leg from Yakutsk to the Eastern tip of Chukotka (Uelen)! That’s 3500 km through the most difficult mountainous terrain in Subarctic conditions, with world’s record low temperatures in winter and summer skies darkened by the clouds of mosquitoes, where there is no infrastructure of any kind. The leg from Tynda to Yakutsk is another 1000 km of the most difficult terrain.
    Russia is barely upholding its budget by selling all the oil, gas, aluminum, precious metals and any other natural resource they possibly can, while everybody who knows how to do anything is running from this degenerated country drinking itself into eternal stupor in mortal agony from self-inflicted wounds, seething with triumphant criminals like a dead horse with writhing grubs.
    Most Russian senior citizens and country folk live in what millions of obese, digital TV-watching American food stamp recipients would call “an abject poverty”. Professional murderers and thieves are ruling Russia as their feudal estate, pumping abroad billions of dollars of stolen money every month, competing in vulgar luxury in Nice and London.
    The projected cost of the tunnel alone is 65 billion dollars. Knowing Russian pervasive corruption and brutal weather in Eastern Siberia, I would multiply this number at least by 20. Building the railroad from the existing, poorly maintained single-track Baikal-Amur line to Uelen would cost at least as much.
    Who would finance all of this? Who would build it? In today’s Russia, this project is nothing but grand posturing, a pipe dream that will never realize. Not to mention that the last thing Kremlin wants is any kind of an easy direct route to America. If they could, they would close the borders with Europe again.
    Nothing shall come out of this but empty talk, at least for 20 years from now.

  22. Alan the Brit
    quote
    OT – BBC Radio 2 breakfast show news this morning, “scientists” reckon that there are some 90%+ species yet to be discovered on the planet??????????
    end quote
    actually he made some sense; and he didn’t try and wrap in doom & gloom or CAGW. the innumerate presenter did state 8.74 +/- 1.3 Million (IIRC) for which the scientist picked him up (wow; that impressed me; some one dared point out how stupid they were; but the comment obviously went way way over the Beeb’s head). It was also pointed out this was one of many estimates and on the low side; but the scientist did almost succeed in turning it into a proper science report !! No doubt it will not get many repeats once the Beeb droids work out what plonkers they were made to look.

  23. Reminds me a bit of the old joke:-
    A man caught himself a leprechaun, who informed him that he was a special leprechaun that could only grant one wish.
    After thinking, the man said that he was afraid of flying, but had always wanted to visit Hawaii. Therefore his one wish was for a highway from California to the Big Island.
    “you have to be joking” said the leprechaun. “Do you realise how hard that would be! Great depths, big waves – all sorts of problems. Choose something else!”
    After a bit of contemplation, the man said “OK, in that case I would like to understand women.”
    In a trice, the leprechaun replied “Two lanes or four?”

  24. Just one thought…”Ring of Fire”. How geologically stable is the sea-bed in the Bearing Straits?

  25. Wucash says:
    August 24, 2011 at 1:37 am
    Drive from England to South America should be one hell of a roadtrip
    Or how about Cape Town to Cape Horn? A few ‘interesting’ places to travel through…

  26. P.S. Exit for Yamal? That would be another 5000 km through the most forbidding terrain.
    Please don’t forget that Siberia alone is larger than the USA and Canada combined.

  27. You can build a dual-gauge system using three rather than two rails. Two of the rails are placed adjacent to each other on one side to provide the correct width for either train. This is already used in Australia to link the New South Wales (standard gauge) and Queensland (narrow gauge) freight lines to Brisbane.

  28. The boys on the BBC show Top Gear would certainly be up to the challenge. Traveling by care from say South Africa to the Chile would be one hell of an odyssey.

  29. Willis says:
    “The other reason is trans-shipment. Every time you go from rail to ship or back again it costs money. Not as much in this containerized age, but still every container has to be picked up one by one from the train, and moved to some position on the ship, and set down, and locked down … then the process has to be reversed at the other end.
    As such direct rail from Moscow or Siberia to New York seems a big step up.
    Regarding Vladivostok I find that there are container ships going to other smaller Russian ports, and to South Korea, China, Vietnam, and Japan. Nothing to the US, though, you’d need to trans-ship again likely in Japan. Another argument for direct rail.”
    A check of import flows from Russia to Japan suggests that oil is by far the most important product exported by Russia to Japan and that most of the this product shipped to Japan is crude oil. The volume of shipment from Russia to Japan and the lack of such shipment from the Russian Far East to the US suggests that the purpose of this tunnel may be to reduce shipping costs of oil from Russia to the US.

  30. I’m not saying a tunnel across the Bering Strait will never happen, but I doubt it is happening any time soon. Sometime many decades from now, there might be seasonal ferries carting goods across the strait. If that happens, and it might, and if the seasonality becomes a problem because of the volume of trade, THEN might be the time to talk about a tunnel. Lots of infrastructure needed before any of that can happen — e.g. right now, the only ways to get stuff from Fairbanks/Anchorage to Nome would be by air, by ship, or by dog sled.
    Coal? Going which way? The US is an energy importer, but the only thing that keeps our energy situation from being dire rather than serious is that the US has huge coal deposits — largest reserves in the world. What country is second? Russia.

  31. Maybe we could start by allowing the Keystone pipeline to be built connecting the USA to Canada first……

  32. coldlynx notes that speed may be the issue here and that if direct rail service were available between Russia and North America, then raw materials, especially crude oil, could be transported with greater speed from Russia to North America. My question is, does it matter if crude oil can be shipped more quickly by rail than by ship?
    Arizona CJ makes very strong skeptical points, particularly that thousands of miles of rail would need to be constructed both in Russia and in North America before the construction of such a massive tunnel could be contemplated. Is the potential value of petroleum shipments great enough to justify such an expense?

  33. Instead of worrying about the gauge-switching, which is a very old problem that has been solved in many different ways, maybe you should be worrying more about the simple geographical implications.
    This will make Canada a major player in world trade, and will turn the oil and mineral industries of Alberta and BC toward Russia instead of southward. Why face infinite EPA obstacles and idiot protesters to the south when you can ship west to a rich and rational country instead? (And you can be dead sure the infinite EPA obstacles will continue; no pro-science or pro-American candidate will ever be appointed as President.)

  34. On the other hand, you could just tunnel through the centre of the Earth. Can’t see any problem with that 🙂

  35. The article says, “The project aims to feed North America with raw goods from the Siberian interior and beyond”.
    Hmmmmmm…. Nope.
    Sorry to be a downer here, but the fact is, we (the USA) are kind of fiscally broken at the moment. We have HUGE amounts of Treasury Bonds that we owe principle and interest on. When individuals are broke and have big bills, they sell the furniture and Momma’s necklace. When nations are broke, they sell off lumber, minerals and petroleum from national lands. If this tunnel is ever actually built, the flow of raw materials will NOT be from Siberia to the USA — it will be going the other direction.

  36. Ryan Maue says:
    August 24, 2011 at 12:10 am
    > …distract from the fact that the trains will haul coal — lots of coal. And, the more coal.
    Oh dear. James Hansen will hold protests to stop the Siberian Death Trains.
    Alternate thought 1) Is this a good idea so close to tectonic plate boundary? And volcanoes. It would be a bummer if a volcano filled the tunnel with lava (and innundated coal train) in the first year of operation.
    Alternate thought 2) Okay, there used to be a Bering land bridge which allowed some Native Americans to immigrate here (for PC definitions of “Native”). How tall would the pylons have to be to create a bridge over the same path, and how long would it last before storms force its abandonment?

  37. This is obviously a pipe dream if not a hoax. I’m surprised Anthony Watts bothered with this. American greenies would never allow the railroad link across Alaska and Canada. It’s not possible to build large infrastructure projects in the US any more thanks to the green movement.

  38. Some years ago, science fiction writer Harry Harrison published an alternate history story titled ‘A Transatlantic Tunnel, Hurrah!’ I expect Captain Augustine Washington and his crew of navvies would certainly find a Transbering Tunnel a lesser and more practicable challenge. Of course, there would be an environmental impact study to worry about.
    As this appears to be only twice as long as the ‘Chunnel,’ this probably will be done someday and it will include a link going down the West Coast, as it does not make much sense to go from Moscow to Seattle via New York.

  39. I wonder if anyone has checked the frequency of earthquakes and volcanic activity along the planned route? And good luck getting this past the EPA, Greenpeace, et al on the Alaska side.

  40. The only people on the planet today with the technology and skill to do something like this are the Iranians. So you can pretty much bet your last worthless googleplex denominated greenback that it just ain’t gonna’ happen. Anyway, who needs another Chunnel? It’s back to the old Horse and Buggy, not forward to the Stars. Well, it is if you’re wealthy enough to have a horse and buggy. Most of us in the US are going to be forced to rent a Mexican buro or two to pull our old Hondas down the road pretty soon, that is, if we have any copper pipes left in our house to cut out and pay The Man with. It’s a mad mad world, and the worst of the lot –for some wierd reason– seem to still think they’re the Universe’s Gift to planet Earth and the Lord High Protector of All they survey. I still think it’s something in the water. Or some genetic modification to coffee or tea.
    PS: SarcOff

  41. It has been mentioned above already, but seriously, think about the soundness of importing “resources” to Canada and the US for a minute. It’s akin to Australia spending billions to import Kangaroos! Mind you, I would not be surprised to find out that Gillard is already proposing to do just that. But an Alaska/Chukotka tunnel would be better than kite surfing.

  42. DaveF says:
    August 24, 2011 at 4:33 am
    On the other hand, you could just tunnel through the centre of the Earth. Can’t see any problem with that 🙂
    ——————–
    Were you not listening? It’s way too hot.
    Algore told you it’s millions of degrees in the middle.

  43. What’s all this about coal? How many centuries worth of coal do we have in this country?
    Or perhaps American coal, like American oil, will be put off-limits by regulatory action and we will need to import what we already have plenty of? With the gang now running the show, it’s a real possibility.

  44. Ric Werme says:
    August 24, 2011 at 4:42 am
    Alternate thought 1) Is this a good idea so close to tectonic plate boundary?
    ========
    Surprisingly perhaps, the Bering Strait is many hundreds of kilometers from a plate boundary. The strait, both sides, and a significant chunk of NE Asia are on the North American Plate. The plate boundary between the North American and Pacific Plates runs down the Aleutian chain. The plate boundary between the North American and Eurasian plates looks to be about 1000 kilometers to the West. ( http://t2.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRsN4DvsKn80qWhBUUpVDw8-0LX-0-qeFd0QM404DSbTMJkBflalw ) Don’t know if that link will work. If not Google plate boundaries map and select the leftmost image.

  45. Reminds me of the story I used to tell. My last duty station in the military was in Hawaii. When I made the decision to leave I had my car shipped to the continental U.S. I then drove it across country to Connecticut. I didn’t register it right away so I still had the Hawaii plates. People would ask “How did you get your car here from Hawaii?” I would always tell them I drove it through the tunnel. They would always ask “What tunnel?” I would reply “The one that goes from Hawaii to California”. “Oh, I didn’t know there was one” was always the answer. No one ever questioned if there really was a tunnel.

  46. Nuke says:
    August 24, 2011 at 6:09 am
    What’s all this about coal? How many centuries worth of coal do we have in this country?
    ========
    About 2 and a half … give or take. At current consumption rates. But I imagine that if Hydrogen Fusion doesn’t pan out, we’ll burn through the coal a lot faster than anyone currently thinks to be possible. Planning and discipline have never been America’s forte.

  47. too funny….
    ..did the greenies think we would really stop mining coal
    We need expensive electricity, Russia and China need cheap electricity

  48. Alexander Feht says:
    August 24, 2011 at 3:16 am

    Please don’t forget that Siberia alone is larger than the USA and Canada combined.

    Russia: 17,075,400 km²
    Siberia: 13.1 million km²
    Canada: 9,984,670 km²
    United States: 9,826,675 km²

  49. John,
    This is an infrastructure project that IF it works will ultimately lower the price of shipping goods. Not because the tunnel will be cheap but the faster a good can reach point A from point B you create an increase in volume as well. Speed not only reduces time but speed increases volume. It also simplifies logistics which lets face it reduces manpower needed to manage transit, which again reduces cost. Now it may well be a payback of break even proportions of a couple decades but this would be one of the rare infrastructure projects that would currently be a ‘good’ investment… Unlike things like a high speed rail from L.A. To Las Vegas, which is a self serving project this one would benefit the entire United States and Russia.

  50. Chuck Nolan 6:03 am:
    “Algore told you it’s millions of degrees in the middle.”
    Damn! I forgot that! Is the middle of the Earth made of CO2 then, since that’s the only thing that causes heat?

  51. The difficult part of the project would be getting approval for building the connecting rail line on the US side.
    Look at the difficulties in getting approval for a pipeline between the Canadian tar sands and the Gulf Coast oil refineries.

  52. Arizona CJ (August 24, 2011 at 2:14 am)
    Sorry, the ‘existing rail networks’ you mentioned could not cope with the Eurotunnel train speeds and had to be completely re-built – which took another 10-15 years on the UK side (the French were rather more efficient by virtue of not having an interminable planning process constantly being de-railed (sorry) by NIMBYs).
    In this case, I think the “if you build it, they will come” mantra would apply – in fact you would have to build the connecting rail network first to get the equipment to the Bering Straits anyway. In itself, that would open up huge areas of currently inaccessible (and probably resource-rich) land. Could be just the kind of “moon-shot” technological acheievment to inspire a new generation.
    I am beginning to get on board with this…..

  53. The Alaska electric transmission system isn’t even connected to the Canadian one, why would they connect it to the Russian one?
    Connecting two major population centers via the chunnel makes sense. Connecting two giant empty frozen wastelands is odd at best.

  54. Don K says:
    August 24, 2011 at 6:20 am

    Ric Werme says:
    August 24, 2011 at 4:42 am
    Alternate thought 1) Is this a good idea so close to tectonic plate boundary?
    ========
    Surprisingly perhaps, the Bering Strait is many hundreds of kilometers from a plate boundary. The strait, both sides, and a significant chunk of NE Asia are on the North American Plate.

    Note to self: New Englanders shouldn’t assume they remember Pacific coast geography well enough to skip checking the map. Following the Aleutian Islands doesn’t get you to the Bering strait….
    Additional note to self: Make it to Alaska, and in multiple seasons.

  55. Imbecilic. As others have pointed out, the closest rail line is a toy road that terminates in Fairbanks, which also terminates in Anchorage without ever tying into the rest of the North American rail net. There are no rail lines in the Yukon, no rail lines in that section of Siberia. Rail shipping in perfect conditions is twice as expensive as a container ship. The cost of moving containers from rail to container ship is less than impressive. The shipping industry is depressed. The US *exports* coal to East Asia, it’s one of the current bright spots in the US rail industry right now. Siberian resources are almost entirely tied up in supplying the East Asian industrial colossus, which could probably absorb any surplus the Russians could generate.
    Why the hell aren’t they looking at expanding their rail links to China if they have available resource surpluses? That would at least approximate practicality, and keep them from trying to build and maintain rail lines in the most godforsaken wastelands on the planet outside of Antarctica.

  56. Wouldn’t a bridge with rail and traffic lanes make more sense? If there were any sense to this at all.
    If some deranged person wanted, there could be conduits for electrical cables or even overhead conductors attached.
    I think I saw a Nat Geo episode about a bridge across the Bering proposed at one time.

  57. Nobody in their right mind would build an undersea tunnel in a very seismically active area. The longer the tunnel the higher the risk. Then given the points (sic) from Arizona CJ on the distance to the nearest rail heads on both sides of the straights. Its got to be a hoax.

  58. Just think of the barometric differential between the two ends of the tunnel. We could line the walls with pinwheels and generate electricity. Maybe enough to light the tunnel?
    When it proves itself economically unfeasible, we would have a place to bury all the dead windmill carcasses as they die from lack of interest.

  59. Just jumping on the Train here with the others, but you can’t build and maintain operations of a tunnet that crosses major techtonic plates. There have been numerous plans for tunnels and bridges and combinations of both over the years, but until we develop concrete or another building material that can withstand the grinding and movement of the continental plates, it ain’t gonna happen.
    The second item on the bringing of siberias resourcs to the US and canada? PLEASE!!!!!! We have more than ample resources here and when enough people with common sense begin to push back the “No minig- No production Keep earth pristine” greenies enough to allow for responsible resource development and extraction, we will have access to it.

  60. Isn’t that route awfully close to N. Korea? Let’s maybe wait a few years to start this 🙂

  61. If the Americans do not want to pay for the tunnel perhaps they could sell Alaska back to the Russians for the price that they originally paid for it and then let the Russians build and pay for the tunnel.
    One possible side effect of this plan would be that Sarah Palin might end up as Putin’s successor!

  62. You cannot travel to South America from North America by car. There is a gap in Panama that is impassable.

  63. Yes, let’s build an underground tunnel right across the top of the ring of fire. Still, it would be kind of neat to drive from New England to Old(e) England.

  64. When you finally get to the UK, you’ll finally be able to enjoy the blessings of Red routes, Low emission zones, Box junctions, Traffic Light Cameras, Speed Cameras, Bus Lanes, Parking Machines that don’t give change or additional time, Traffic wardens, Congestion charging, an average traffic speed in London of about 8mph, and some of the highest fuel prices on the planet!
    So make sure you enjoy the journey!

  65. You all underestimate Obama’s high speed rail initiative and need for stimulus spending as Rx for a weak economy cause by Bush.

  66. Army trains. We actually can say no to this. They can’t cross the date line without our approval

  67. Ric Werme says:
    August 24, 2011 at 7:23 am
    Don K says:
    August 24, 2011 at 6:20 am
    Ric Werme says:
    August 24, 2011 at 4:42 am
    Alternate thought 1) Is this a good idea so close to tectonic plate boundary?
    ========
    Surprisingly perhaps, the Bering Strait is many hundreds of kilometers from a plate boundary. The strait, both sides, and a significant chunk of NE Asia are on the North American Plate.
    Note to self: New Englanders shouldn’t assume they remember Pacific coast geography well enough to skip checking the map. Following the Aleutian Islands doesn’t get you to the Bering strait….
    =====
    I generally try to be civil, but I’ll make an exception in your case. If you have reading comprehension problems — as you appear to — you should probably make it a practice not to be snotty.
    I did look at a map. You should try reading my post a few times. It even tells you where to find the right map to look at. Let me repeat THE BERING STRAIT IS NOWHERE NEAR THE PLATE BOUNDARY. Is there some way to make that clearer?

  68. Walter Schneider,
    Your Wikipedia numbers (accessible in 2 seconds, no sweat and no real knowledge required) are areas of political units. Geographically, however, Siberia extends into vast regions of Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Northeastern China.
    In any case, my point remains true: Siberian distances are too large, Siberian terrain is to difficult, and Russian infrastructure in general is too weak, for Russia to undertake such a project in the nearest future.
    What is your point? Was there any?

  69. vboring says: Connecting two giant empty frozen wastelands is odd at best.

    But that’s where you’re wrong! They’re counting on the entire region warming up and becoming like Hawaiian beach front property. Maybe they’ll spend some of that stimulus money on building fancy resort hotels in Port Clarence? The taxpayers will make a killing!

  70. Don K says:
    August 24, 2011 at 12:17 pm
    I wrote (I’m the New Englander referred to as “self”):

    Note to self: New Englanders shouldn’t assume they remember Pacific coast geography well enough to skip checking the map. Following the Aleutian Islands doesn’t get you to the Bering strait….

    Don K wrote (hey, are you in New Englad too? I forget.)

    I generally try to be civil, but I’ll make an exception in your case. If you have reading comprehension problems — as you appear to — you should probably make it a practice not to be snotty.
    I did look at a map. You should try reading my post a few times. It even tells you where to find the right map to look at. Let me repeat THE BERING STRAIT IS NOWHERE NEAR THE PLATE BOUNDARY. Is there some way to make that clearer?

    I was trying to agree with you and be cute about. Doesn’t seem to have worked. I even looked at a map to see why I was wrong.
    Let me try a different tack.
    You’re right – the Bering strait is far north of the plate boundary, the Aleutian Islands, and the volcanoes. I was wrong. Thanks for “straitening” me out! Damn. Still can’t get cute out of my system.

  71. Its more likely to lead to Alaska resources going direct to China However rail in parts of the world with big snow drifts is not a cheap way to do things. I think we will have to wait for vacuum magnetic levitation technologies to mature. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vactrain Finding the capital to do anything like this is a challenge. The freemarket would and could do it with 100 year private bonds but they have been non-viable since gold currency died. Inflation rates need to be at zero for such bonds to work. Both the tunnelling technology and the air supply technology exists but not the money. The people that build these tunnels like living in high density regions. The money may be good in Alaska but what do you spend it on? The cost should be double because the remote rail-lines feeding it are high maintenance. Shipping will be cheaper for decades to come.

  72. Robertvdl posted some good material on NAWPA and Lyndon Larouche’s peculiar brand of technocratic socialism which doesn’t attempt to solve the calculation problem, no form of socialism can as Ludwig Von Mises proved in the second decade of the 20th century. If you want to water the deserts a better and cheaper program would be to add direct pump from the pacific to the Utah basin and two other units on the Mexican coast in two places with nuclear powered desalination in all three places.
    There is also a way to ship fresh water by sea almost any where to a dry coast or city using bladders of water towed by nuclear powered tugs.
    http://img.nauticexpo.com/images_ne/photo-m2/floating-oil-storage-tank-towable-199714.jpg
    or
    http://www.seapro.org/orig/images/unitor1000.gif
    Direct desalination or nuclear tugs would both be cheaper in terms of money, land, energy and environmental impact. Also think of all the people and fauna displaced by such a project in both the flooded mountains and deserts.

  73. in the runup to the alaskan pipeline the alaskans themselves wanted a standard guage railroad line to haul the oil in “tank trains” because the other trains on the line would cut the costs of shipment of other goods drastically and help the alaskan economy.
    unfortunately the greenies (under another name at the time) killed it.
    C

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