AARoads Forum

Non-Road Boards => Off-Topic => Topic started by: Grzrd on April 12, 2012, 12:37:25 PM

Title: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: Grzrd on April 12, 2012, 12:37:25 PM
I have previously started and posted on a Fictional Highways Bering Strait Bridge and/or Tunnel thread (http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=4304.0) because some plans included a highway component.  Recently, discussions have focused on the idea of a Bering Strait railway tunnel, but no highway.  Recent articles have mentioned interest from both Russian governmental officials and U.S. business interests.  I include it as Off-Topic in this Forum because it may one day be a cool rail link for a multi-continental drive in one car.  :cool:

From the Russian side: the Russian Railway president is pushing for a decision as to whether to proceed with the tunnel by 2017 (http://www.kyivpost.com/news/russia/detail/125745/):

Quote
A decision on building a tunnel under the Bering Strait to connect the railway infrastructures of Russia and North America should be made before 2017, Russian Railways President Vladimir Yakunin told journalists on Saturday, Apr. 7.
"I am sure that Russia needs to develop railway services in the Far East and Kamchatka, and I believe a decision on building [a tunnel under the Bering Strait] should be made within the next three to five years. I mean a decision should be made that this should be done in principle," Yakunin said.
"These are not just dreams. I said about this for the first time when I took this office," he said.
Yakunin said that, five years after he became the Russian Railways president, he was approached by some U.S. business people who suggested that research should be done on building such a link.
"So these are not just dreams. As a matter of fact, a design of this project is being worked on now," he said.
"As for when this could be put into practice, I think it should take 10 to 15 years," Yakunin said.
The project can be implemented only based on multilateral cooperation between various countries, Yakunin said. "America should be on the one side and Russia on the other. China is interested as well, and so multilateral cooperation is inevitable," he said.

From the Alaskan side: An Anchorage businessman is trying to attract investors in (http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/bering-strait-tunnel-project-gets-promotional-website) and has started a website about (http://www.interbering.com/) a Bering Strait rail tunnel.

Who knows?  As outlandish as it might seem, construction on a Bering Strait rail tunnel could conceivably start before construction of an I-69 bridge over the Mississippi River.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: mgk920 on April 12, 2012, 01:50:24 PM
I have previously started and posted on a Fictional Highways Bering Strait Bridge and/or Tunnel thread (http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=4304.0) because some plans included a highway component.  Recently, discussions have focused on the idea of a Bering Strait railway tunnel, but no highway.  Recent articles have mentioned interest from both Russian governmental officials and U.S. business interests.  I include it as Off-Topic in this Forum because it may one day be a cool rail link for a multi-continental drive in one car.  :cool:

From the Russian side: the Russian Railway president is pushing for a decision as to whether to proceed with the tunnel by 2017 (http://www.kyivpost.com/news/russia/detail/125745/):

Quote
A decision on building a tunnel under the Bering Strait to connect the railway infrastructures of Russia and North America should be made before 2017, Russian Railways President Vladimir Yakunin told journalists on Saturday, Apr. 7.
"I am sure that Russia needs to develop railway services in the Far East and Kamchatka, and I believe a decision on building [a tunnel under the Bering Strait] should be made within the next three to five years. I mean a decision should be made that this should be done in principle," Yakunin said.
"These are not just dreams. I said about this for the first time when I took this office," he said.
Yakunin said that, five years after he became the Russian Railways president, he was approached by some U.S. business people who suggested that research should be done on building such a link.
"So these are not just dreams. As a matter of fact, a design of this project is being worked on now," he said.
"As for when this could be put into practice, I think it should take 10 to 15 years," Yakunin said.
The project can be implemented only based on multilateral cooperation between various countries, Yakunin said. "America should be on the one side and Russia on the other. China is interested as well, and so multilateral cooperation is inevitable," he said.

From the Alaskan side: An Anchorage businessman is trying to attract investors in (http://www.alaskadispatch.com/article/bering-strait-tunnel-project-gets-promotional-website) and has started a website about (http://www.interbering.com/) a Bering Strait rail tunnel.

Who knows?  As outlandish as it might seem, construction on a Bering Strait rail tunnel could conceivably start before construction of an I-69 bridge over the Mississippi River.

As I have mentioned many times before, aside from the thousands of kilometers of new-ROW railroad trackage that would have to be built on both sides to reach such a crossing, the issue of the fact that Russia's railroads (1520 mm track gauge/SA3 couplers) are 100% incompatible with those of North America (1435 mm track gauge/AAR 'knuckle' couplers) must be addressed.  Assuming that the Chinese are also interested (as stated above), that would make it a 'no-brainer' that the tunnel and approach trackage in far eastern Russia be built to North American railroad standards, as Chinese railroads also operate on the standards used in North America, and that transloading facilities be built at the standard 'break' somewhere north of Vladivostok so that traffic to and from Russia (and the rest of the former Soviet Empire) can use it.

We'll see where this goes, especially since Pacific coast seaports in North America are nearly maxed out in traffic carrying capacity.  The currently under construction upgrades to the Panama Canal will alleviate that situation to at least some extent.

Mike
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: triplemultiplex on April 13, 2012, 06:15:49 PM
I imagine the cost of new trackage to reach the Bering Strait would be almost equal, if not greater than the cost of the actual tunnel itself.
Just on the North American side:
(http://kelsocartography.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/northamerica_10m_railroads_base.png)
That's a long way to go from western Alaska to northern British Columbia or southern NW Territories.  Lots of good-sized mountains in between, too.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: nexus73 on April 13, 2012, 07:27:35 PM
Might as well build the road to Nome while we're at it.

Rick
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: kkt on April 13, 2012, 07:40:06 PM
As I have mentioned many times before, aside from the thousands of kilometers of new-ROW railroad trackage that would have to be built on both sides to reach such a crossing, the issue of the fact that Russia's railroads (1520 mm track gauge/SA3 couplers) are 100% incompatible with those of North America (1435 mm track gauge/AAR 'knuckle' couplers) must be addressed.  Assuming that the Chinese are also interested (as stated above), that would make it a 'no-brainer' that the tunnel and approach trackage in far eastern Russia be built to North American railroad standards, as Chinese railroads also operate on the standards used in North America, and that transloading facilities be built at the standard 'break' somewhere north of Vladivostok so that traffic to and from Russia (and the rest of the former Soviet Empire) can use it.

We'll see where this goes, especially since Pacific coast seaports in North America are nearly maxed out in traffic carrying capacity.  The currently under construction upgrades to the Panama Canal will alleviate that situation to at least some extent.

Mike

You could probably build a dozen large, deep-water ports in both Asia and North America for the cost of the rail tunnel and railroads approaching it on both sides.  And the ports would be usable year-round, while the railroads would be closed from October to May.

And about the gauge, your suggestion that it be North American standard gauge makes sense technically and from a cost point of view.  But do not underestimate Russian Not Invented Here syndrome and general paranoia.  The reason Russia has a different track gauge than Europe is to slow down any possible invasion using European gauge trains as they crossed the Russian frontier, plus general desire to say "ours is bigger".  I bet Russia would insist on the Russian portion being built to Russian gauge, and if it's silly to change gauges twice from Canada to China, that's just too bad.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: Grzrd on April 29, 2012, 11:22:27 AM
You could probably build a dozen large, deep-water ports in both Asia and North America for the cost of the rail tunnel and railroads approaching it on both sides.  And the ports would be usable year-round, while the railroads would be closed from October to May.

This article from Voice of America (http://blogs.voanews.com/russia-watch/2012/04/28/join-russia-and-usa-by-rail-tunnels-under-the-bering-strait/) directly addresses the concern about harsh winter weather on the operation of the railroads by noting continuous rail operations to Murmansk (http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=68.96821364702738~33.086444854736335&lvl=4&dir=0&sty=r&where1=Murmansk%2C%20Russia&form=LMLTCC) since 1915:

Quote
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.

In terms of projected cost versus projected revenues:

Quote
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.

In terms of Russian political agendas:

Quote
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 ....
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.

On the American side, I wonder how fierce environmental opposition to the project would be?
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: texaskdog on April 29, 2012, 11:54:07 AM
Might as well build the road to Nome while we're at it.

Rick

Fictional I-100 :) 
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: Duke87 on April 29, 2012, 08:30:25 PM
Also consider that we're talking about building a tunnel between two countries which within the last century spent decades at each others' throats.
It was only five years or so ago that Mr. Putin was vehemently opposing President Bush's plans to put missiles in Ukraine aimed at Iran, over concern that they could easily be re-targeted at Russia.

I wonder whether the US and Russia could get together the level of cooperation necessary for such a project. Consider as well that Canada would have to be involved for the connecting railroad (although that's really a non-issue, no tensions there).

Russia is perfectly capable of building such a project. But in the US there is of course the environmental lobby, as well as a couple other political issues. Concern that such a link would make it easier for more American jobs to be outsourced to China. Opposition from shipping companies and from the major ports of the west coast.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: Brandon on April 29, 2012, 09:31:32 PM
Yep, there's thousands of miles of rails to be built with sidings and spurs.  A lot of 4ft 8-1/2in rail and a lot of 5ft rail, and some way to interchange between the two at both the US/Russia border and the Russia/China border.

However, one major advantage of building it would be to connect Alaska via rail with the continental US and Canada.  This might help better connect Alaska with the rest of the US and make goods cheaper to transport to/from Alaska.  Even without the tunnel to Russia, this might not be a bad idea.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: vdeane on April 30, 2012, 11:15:14 AM
Also consider that we're talking about building a tunnel between two countries which within the last century spent decades at each others' throats.
It was only five years or so ago that Mr. Putin was vehemently opposing President Bush's plans to put missiles in Ukraine aimed at Iran, over concern that they could easily be re-targeted at Russia.
To be fair to Putin, Russia has seen other countries go from friends to enemies in short order many times (the most infamous being Nazi Germany), so I can see why they'd be unsettled by US missiles being so close.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: kkt on April 30, 2012, 02:14:48 PM
You could probably build a dozen large, deep-water ports in both Asia and North America for the cost of the rail tunnel and railroads approaching it on both sides.  And the ports would be usable year-round, while the railroads would be closed from October to May.

This article from Voice of America (http://blogs.voanews.com/russia-watch/2012/04/28/join-russia-and-usa-by-rail-tunnels-under-the-bering-strait/) directly addresses the concern about harsh winter weather on the operation of the railroads by noting continuous rail operations to Murmansk (http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=68.96821364702738~33.086444854736335&lvl=4&dir=0&sty=r&where1=Murmansk%2C%20Russia&form=LMLTCC) since 1915:

Quote
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.

In terms of projected cost versus projected revenues:

Quote
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.

In terms of Russian political agendas:

Quote
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 ....
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.

On the American side, I wonder how fierce environmental opposition to the project would be?

Interesting about the railroad to Murmansk.  I'm not sure it's comparable, though, there's more than just how far north it is.  How mountainous is the route and how many inches of snow do they get?

The cost estimates for the railroads are just that, estimates.  And I don't see any estimates of operating costs.  How much will all that snow clearing cost, if it's really to be kept operating all winter?

There's numerous places a major port could be built on the U.S. west coast that would probably cost less than $2 billion, including rail access.

How long would it take by rail from Seattle to Shanghai?  I'm thinking not much faster than ship.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: mgk920 on April 30, 2012, 08:24:35 PM
They still have not addressed the very real issue of the incompatibility between Russian and North American/Chinese railroads  (1520 mm track gauge/SA3 couplers vs. 1435 mm track gauge/AAR couplers - note that the latter two systems are 100% compatible with each other).

Mike
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: Grzrd on April 30, 2012, 09:48:01 PM
How long would it take by rail from Seattle to Shanghai?  I'm thinking not much faster than ship.

This Mega Engineering: Building a Transcontinental Tunnel (http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/mega-engineering-building-a-transcontinental-tunnel.html) video puts forth the argument that, because of the earth's curvature, a Shanghai-to-Los Angeles rail trip would be faster than shipping across the Pacific.  Probably hyperbole, but it speaks in terms of "days, not weeks".  I'll leave it to others to discern the BS factor.

Also, in comparing the cost of the tunnel to new port(s), I believe the US, Canadian, Russian and Chinese governments would factor in projected benefits from pipelines, etc. that would possibly be included in the tunnel.  In theory, the pipelines would provide cheaper energy.

As regards new ports, the proposed Mexican Punta Colonet superport (http://www.longshoreshippingnews.com/2011/08/punta-colonet-badly-planned-from-the-start/) has run into problems and delays.  Building a new port nowadays is no simple feat, either.  I can easily imagine NIMBY resistance along the U.S. Pacific Coast to suggestions of new ports.

The tunnel and the related rail inks would be an incredibly difficult undertaking; that said, I don't think the idea can be summarily dismissed.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: mgk920 on May 01, 2012, 01:32:53 AM
As for new port facilities on the Pacific coast of North America, there are no places left in the 'lower 48' USA to build a new seaport.  A seaport is under major expansion at Prince Rupert, BC (I'm seeing an increasing frequency of container trains from it on the CN mainline that passes though my area here in eastern Wisconsin) as well as that project in northwestern Mexico, but that would pretty much max out the west coast's ultimate 'buildout' port capacity.

Mike
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: NE2 on May 01, 2012, 02:41:28 AM
As for new port facilities on the Pacific coast of North America, there are no places left in the 'lower 48' USA to build a new seaport.
It's nothing major, but Coos Bay, OR just reopened their sea-rail connection: http://www.portofcoosbay.com/
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: nexus73 on May 01, 2012, 02:46:21 AM
As for new port facilities on the Pacific coast of North America, there are no places left in the 'lower 48' USA to build a new seaport.

The Port of Coos Bay is available for building a cargo container facility.  Currently the port is trying to get some action going on this front.  The closed rail line has been partially reopened to the North Spit and more reconstruction is going on.  The real hangups are procedural and financial as there are so many hoops to jump through these days just to put in a dock and the cash flow streams are so diverse instead of unified, which makes it a struggle to put the pile of moolah needed together in one lump.  Just the permitting for a dock runs $10 million as per an article in our local paper from a few years back.

When the Port of Coos Bay was at it's peak in the Sixties and early Seventies, it was the world's largest port for the shipment of wood products.  The port's natural attributes are the best for an American Pacific coastal port outside of the Port of San Francisco.

If we had gone about building things the way we currently do back in World War II, we'd all be singing the Horst Wessel song or bowing to the Mikado.  Back then we built the entire Alaska Highway in one construction season.  

Rick  
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: Grzrd on May 01, 2012, 04:59:58 PM
Might as well build the road to Nome while we're at it.
Rick
If we had gone about building things the way we currently do back in World War II, we'd all be singing the Horst Wessel song or bowing to the Mikado.  Back then we built the entire Alaska Highway in one construction season. 
Rick 

In looking at Rick's comment about building a road to Nome, I revisited the notion of a highway component to the tunnel.  The True Knowledge website (http://www.trueknowledge.com/q/distance_between_nenana,_ak_and_wales,_ak) calculates the distance between Nenana, Alaska (which Bing Maps has placed on I-A3  ;-)) (http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=64.55957129564162~-149.09387969970703&lvl=11&dir=0&sty=h&where1=Nenana%2C%20AK&form=LMLTCCl) and Wales, Alaska (proposed Alaskan entry point to the tunnel) as 555 miles.  The roads that would need to be built on the Russian side would greatly exceed that figure.  Nevertheless, I emailed Fyodor Soloview and asked if the "vision" for the tunnel included a road component.  Although everything is still extremely conceptual, I was surprised that he answered in the affirmative (and I learned a new word in the process  :-P).  He also briefly touched on the rail gauge question:

Quote
According to the transcontinental railway project, it is designed as polimagistral, ie combines rail and roads, power lines, oil and gas pipelines, telecommunications cables. All of them are combined in a tunnel under the Bering Strait, forming a single transport-energy-telecom corridor. This will provide significant savings compared to the investment options of separate structures and thoroughfares through the strait on either side.
The difference in track gauge between Russia and North American can be taken care of by various designs of variable gauge bogies (trucks) or dual gauge track. Probably, when approaching the tunnel (on the east or west coast) will be a change of gauge (Russia - 1520 mm, U.S. - 1435 mm.)
In regard of all aspects of construction the railroad in Russia, please read the last publications on this matter: http://blogs.voanews.com/russia-watch/2012/04/28/join-russia-and-usa-by-rail-tunnels-under-the-bering-strait/ , Dr. Victor Razbegin's 2007 presentation http://www.schillerinstitute.org/conf-iclc/2007/landbridge_conf_razbegin.html , and also check the materials from the last year Conference in Yakutsk, Russia: http://www.interbering.com/Russian-North-East-Development.html .
Thank you for your interest in the Interhemispheric railroad construction!
Fyodor Soloview
InterBering
www.InterBering.com
9048 Little Brook Street
Anchorage, AK 99507
Ph. (907) 563-9999

If the Chinese and Russians want to build a road on their side, a 555 mile new terrain roadway in Alaska might be doable (BTW I am NOT suggesting four-lane interstate grade).
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: agentsteel53 on May 01, 2012, 05:08:22 PM
(and I learned a new word in the process  :-P)

"polimagistral" is probably a direct transliteration from the Russian word for "multimodal" or whatever we'd call it.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: Duke87 on May 01, 2012, 06:02:19 PM
Capacity in west coast ports will stop being an issue once the Panama Canal expansion is completed. Then the capacity problem will be on the east coast, with all the large container ships from Asia coming directly here rather than going to the west coast and trucking or training cross country. Not because it will be faster (it probably won't be), but because it will be cheaper and logistically simpler.

Which brings up the point that, for most goods which are manufactured in East Asia, the primary concern in shipping them to the US is cost, not speed. Even if it is faster, a Bering rail connection won't draw as much traffic as you might think because it will also be more expensive. The Russian part being a different rail gauge will only add to the extra cost.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: mgk920 on May 01, 2012, 09:35:13 PM
The problems with gauge changing equipment is that it is very expensive and might not be satisfactory for use on heavy freight equipment.  The only places in the World where automatic gauge-changing equipment is used is on a handful of passenger lines in Europe, especially on trains running between France and Spain (Spain is gradually converting its broad-gauge track to standard gauge).  Elsewise, gauge-changing is accomplished by physically changing out the wheelsets/'bogies' on the equipment or by transloading the freight, a slow and laborious process.  Also, the couplers between North America and China vs. Russia are completely incompatible.

As for dual-gauge track, the difference in the two systems' track gauges is about as insidious as it can get - 85 mm.  They are too far apart for equipment to be able to run directly between each other and too close to allow for the easy creation of dual-gauge track by simply laying a third running rail.  Dual-gauge facilities would require either 'gauntleted' four running rail dual-gauge track or building completely separate grades.

Mike
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: Duke87 on May 02, 2012, 07:45:22 PM
The couplers aren't an issue so long as you don't mix them. If a train headed from China to North America can change gauge and keep its knuckle couplers, there's nothing stopping it from doing so. It's only a problem if you want to attach Russian cars to the train.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: Bickendan on May 02, 2012, 08:15:51 PM
(and I learned a new word in the process  :-P)

"polimagistral" is probably a direct transliteration from the Russian word for "multimodal" or whatever we'd call it.
Personally, I think "polimagistral" is a better word than "multimodal". I say we adopt it into English -- and it's pronounced poleemageestral; try to roll the r.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: Bickendan on May 02, 2012, 08:18:35 PM
Might as well build the road to Nome while we're at it.

Rick

Fictional I-100 :) 
(http://www.wordforge.net/images/smilies/nono.gif)
I-A5. Or US 97 (http://wordforge.net/images/smilies/emot-colbert.gif)
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: Brandon on May 02, 2012, 09:25:28 PM
The problems with gauge changing equipment is that it is very expensive and might not be satisfactory for use on heavy freight equipment.  The only places in the World where automatic gauge-changing equipment is used is on a handful of passenger lines in Europe, especially on trains running between France and Spain (Spain is gradually converting its broad-gauge track to standard gauge).  Elsewise, gauge-changing is accomplished by physically changing out the wheelsets/'bogies' on the equipment or by transloading the freight, a slow and laborious process.  Also, the couplers between North America and China vs. Russia are completely incompatible.

As for dual-gauge track, the difference in the two systems' track gauges is about as insidious as it can get - 85 mm.  They are too far apart for equipment to be able to run directly between each other and too close to allow for the easy creation of dual-gauge track by simply laying a third running rail.  Dual-gauge facilities would require either 'gauntleted' four running rail dual-gauge track or building completely separate grades.

Mike

Mike, they're called "trucks", and you can use trucks that can go between 4'8-1/2" and 5' track.  It's still a difference of 3-3/4".  Split in half, that's still 1-7/8" between the two sets of rails.  More than enough to use a set of trucks that works between the two systems.  IIRC, they use similar truck in Europe already.

In addition, if the main route is to go between the US and China, Russia may (that's may, not will) agree to 4' 8-1/2" track between the two if that's where the line will go and have a yard for changing out the trucks further inland, nearer the Trans-Siberian Railway.  Either that, or we have a yard near Fairbanks that changes out the trucks, and we build a 5' line from there to Russia.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: english si on May 03, 2012, 07:14:46 AM
All this fuss about gauge-changing - they do it already between Russia and China (plus various other places). Does it matter if the process takes a short while?  Both Russia and the US have stringent border controls, so immigration/customs/tunnel safety checks/etc can be on-going.

IIRC with the Polish-Belarusian border on the Berlin-Moscow trains it's the border controls that take longer (and then only a couple of hours - which for intercontinental freight is nothing). Plus a project of this magnitude might look into the tech that they use on the Franco-Spanish border (and on Spanish high-speed to classic line connections) and work out how to apply it to the Soviet-standard gauge changes - though tbh, Poland-Lithuania or Sweden-Finland (or the current Romania-Moldova if it becomes an internal border as they want it to be) borders are much more likely to get it done due to there being no border controls.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: NE2 on May 03, 2012, 10:10:36 AM
Time is really not a major issue for bulk shipping of Made in China goods. Ships are more efficient and use existing infrastructure.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: mgk920 on May 03, 2012, 01:00:32 PM
The problems with gauge changing equipment is that it is very expensive and might not be satisfactory for use on heavy freight equipment.  The only places in the World where automatic gauge-changing equipment is used is on a handful of passenger lines in Europe, especially on trains running between France and Spain (Spain is gradually converting its broad-gauge track to standard gauge).  Elsewise, gauge-changing is accomplished by physically changing out the wheelsets/'bogies' on the equipment or by transloading the freight, a slow and laborious process.  Also, the couplers between North America and China vs. Russia are completely incompatible.

As for dual-gauge track, the difference in the two systems' track gauges is about as insidious as it can get - 85 mm.  They are too far apart for equipment to be able to run directly between each other and too close to allow for the easy creation of dual-gauge track by simply laying a third running rail.  Dual-gauge facilities would require either 'gauntleted' four running rail dual-gauge track or building completely separate grades.

Mike

Mike, they're called "trucks", and you can use trucks that can go between 4'8-1/2" and 5' track.  It's still a difference of 3-3/4".  Split in half, that's still 1-7/8" between the two sets of rails.  More than enough to use a set of trucks that works between the two systems.  IIRC, they use similar truck in Europe already.

In addition, if the main route is to go between the US and China, Russia may (that's may, not will) agree to 4' 8-1/2" track between the two if that's where the line will go and have a yard for changing out the trucks further inland, nearer the Trans-Siberian Railway.  Either that, or we have a yard near Fairbanks that changes out the trucks, and we build a 5' line from there to Russia.

Railroad axles that are gauged about 40-50 mm wide will likely at least derail at switches and crossings ('diamonds') here in North America, their tolerances are probably not that generous.  In fact, I don't think that they'd fit between the existing 1435 mm rails, or if they did, the fit would be very, very snug and such equipment would be unreliable in its operation.

That would be a good question to ask in the professional rail forvms.

-------------------

BTW, I am active in several very busy international forvms and in many instances, I am much more comfortable conversing in the terms that are normally used therein - most of the other forvmers, including the non-native English speakers in them, are then best able to understand what I am saying - with one big exception being that I still call them 'railROADs' (USA usage), not 'railWAYs', as is normally used everywhere else in the English-speaking World, including Canada.

Also also, quite a lot of the equipment that crosses the France-Spain border, especially Talgo-designed stuff, does not use trucks or 'bogies' - they use single-axle wheelsets that are individually attached to the car bodies.

Mike
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: agentsteel53 on May 03, 2012, 01:02:26 PM
Quote
forvm

?
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: mgk920 on May 03, 2012, 01:08:04 PM
Quote
forvm

?

You know, like with the old grand Roman and Roman-style edifices, where the 'U' is often replaced with a 'V'.

 :spin:

Mike
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: agentsteel53 on May 03, 2012, 01:27:32 PM

You know, like with the old grand Roman and Roman-style edifices, where the 'U' is often replaced with a 'V'.

 :spin:

Mike

in that case, the plural you are looking for is "fora".
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: Grzrd on June 22, 2012, 01:34:29 PM
The official position of the U.S. State Department is that it is "not aware" of any Russian plans to build a tunnel under the Bering Strait:
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2011/09/171859.htm
Quote
Question Taken at the SEPTEMBER 7, 2011 Daily Press Briefing
September 7, 2011
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
QUESTION: Has the State Department been contacted by Russian authorities regarding a proposed construction project to build a tunnel under the Bering Strait to the United States?
ANSWER: While we are not aware of any plans to construct a tunnel under the Bering Strait, the United States and Russia enjoy close cooperation across the Strait in areas such as environmental protection, historical preservation, and recognition of the unique heritage of indigenous peoples in the region.
(above quote from Bering Strait Bridge and/or Tunnel (http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=4304.msg115079#msg115079) thread)

In the category of you can't believe everything you read on the internet, this Web Urbanist blog (http://weburbanist.com/2012/05/28/8th-world-wonder-in-the-works-tunnel-from-russia-to-usa/) reports that the Kremlin and the White House have "approved" the Bering Strait Tunnel:

Quote
It sounds like science fiction, but is back on the table after nearly a century of talk: a railway to reconnect the Far East with the Far West ... Representatives from the Kremlin and White House recently met on the matter and have approved this incredible project to link Alaska with Siberia across the Bering Strait, continuing an existing line on both sides that branches deep into both participating countries ....

The Web Urbanist does not provide a source for its claim; I assume the official position of the State Department has not changed and the United States has not "approved" such a project (although it might be a great "October Surprise" jobs project  :happy:).  If anyone can provide a link to a legitimate source confirming such a meeting, I would greatly appreciate your doing so.

Another blog (http://www.wealthdaily.com/articles/infrastructure-investment/3532) justifies the project as a "virtual railway pipeline":

Quote
...Collectively, the U.S., Canada, and Russia represent the world's first, second, and third largest natural gas producers... the world's first, third, and sixth biggest oil producers, a triumvirate which will only tighten in the coming years as the withering Middle Eastern oil empires start to pump their wells dry... and, of course, the world's biggest oil consumer (the United States).
This tunnel plan, among other things, will allow for the creation of a virtual railway pipeline — both for oil and gas — between the two continents.
Not a small deal considering China, whose own massive fossil-fuel consumption needs are growing faster than that of any other nation, will also be closely linked to this project via railway...

If nothing else, the proposed project seems to be generating increased discussion.

EDIT

This opinion piece in the Global Times (http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/716731.shtml) is noteworthy because the Global Times is the newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party.  China's desire to have the tunnel would go a long way toward making the project happen.

Quote
In the interest of world peace and development, not to mention the US national interest, US-Russia relations must improve .... In the present era, there is much room for positive development of commercial and diplomatic relations. Major joint projects involving the development of Siberia and a tunnel under the Bering Strait could be undertaken given today's technology. Serious and substantial cooperation on international issues of mutual concern must be undertaken.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: mgk920 on June 24, 2012, 01:50:42 PM
And if there is one group of people with a real wealth of experience in building railroads in the most unforgiving of places, it is the Chinese - not just with the original Central Pacific mainline through the Sierra Nevadas, but also other routes in their own mainland, including their recently-completed line to Lhasa, Tibet.

Add that to the fact that China's railways are 100% compatible with those of North America and we'll be seeing an interesting diplomatic thing regarding the technical standards of whatever trackage would be built leading up to the Strait on its Asian approach.

I just hope to live long enough to see this all come to fruition.

Mike
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: NE2 on June 24, 2012, 02:06:24 PM
And if there is one group of people with a real wealth of experience in building railroads in the most unforgiving of places, it is the Chinese - not just with the original Central Pacific mainline through the Sierra Nevadas, but also other routes in their own mainland, including their recently-completed line to Lhasa, Tibet.
Didn't most Chinese that built the CP stay here in the U.S.?
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: Grzrd on July 07, 2012, 08:06:33 PM
From the Russian side: the Russian Railway president is pushing for a decision as to whether to proceed with the tunnel by 2017 (http://www.kyivpost.com/news/russia/detail/125745/):
Quote
A decision on building a tunnel under the Bering Strait to connect the railway infrastructures of Russia and North America should be made before 2017, Russian Railways President Vladimir Yakunin told journalists on Saturday, Apr. 7 ...

This July 7 article indicates that (http://rbth.ru/articles/2012/07/07/railroad_passage_to_alaska_would_open_up_transport_between_north_ame_16189.html) Yakunin recently discussed the Bering Strait Tunnel again at a conference in Italy:

Quote
... "When the Canadians and Americans approached me about four years ago and said that they were developing this idea, I was a bit surprised. But later they brought me a proposal to develop such cooperation, which would connect North America and Russian railroads, and later China and countries in the Asia-Pacific region. I understood that this futuristic project is beginning to acquire a practically realizable character," he said at a briefing during the conference 'International Practice in Train Station Development: From Design to Return on Investment' in Merano, Italy on Friday.
Possible timeframes for implementing such a project will depend on "the general state of the economy" and "transport policies in these countries, including Russia," Yakunin said. "We need to build a road to Kamchatka. That means serious expenditures. But with global design, such projects can be realized," he said, adding that he believes in the feasibility of this project.
In April, Yakunin said that he believed in the possibility of building a railroad tunnel under the Bering Strait and noted that such a decision needs to be made by 2017.
"I am convinced that Russia has to develop areas in the Far East and Kamchatka with railway transport, and I think that the decision to build should be made within the next three to five years. I mean that in general this needs to be done," he said. "With regards to real implementation, I think that it should be within ten to 15 years," Yakunin said.

I haven't seen any quotes from U.S. governmental representatives ...

Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: kkt on July 07, 2012, 11:48:51 PM
Hm.  "Such a decision needs to be made by 2017", or else what?  The Bering Strait will go away?  The July 7 article referred to wasn't any clearer.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: Brandon on July 07, 2012, 11:56:02 PM
And if there is one group of people with a real wealth of experience in building railroads in the most unforgiving of places, it is the Chinese - not just with the original Central Pacific mainline through the Sierra Nevadas, but also other routes in their own mainland, including their recently-completed line to Lhasa, Tibet.
Didn't most Chinese that built the CP stay here in the U.S.?

Yeah, that's what I thought as well.  They did not contribute to modern Chinese rail knowledge that I know of.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: cpzilliacus on July 08, 2012, 01:26:46 AM
The problems with gauge changing equipment is that it is very expensive and might not be satisfactory for use on heavy freight equipment.  The only places in the World where automatic gauge-changing equipment is used is on a handful of passenger lines in Europe, especially on trains running between France and Spain (Spain is gradually converting its broad-gauge track to standard gauge).  Elsewise, gauge-changing is accomplished by physically changing out the wheelsets/'bogies' on the equipment or by transloading the freight, a slow and laborious process.  Also, the couplers between North America and China vs. Russia are completely incompatible.

There was discussion some years ago about shipping freight by rail between the ice-free Atlantic port of Narvik, Norway and China.  It would (obviously) have required a way to change gauge at the China/Russia border and again at the Sweden/Finland border (Finland uses Russian gauge).

As I understood it, the proposal was to use railroad cars that could pass through an automatic gauge changer (no change-out of trucks/boggis was envisioned).
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: Road Hog on July 08, 2012, 06:18:14 AM
It's a cool idea in theory to be able to go from New York to London by train.

It's technically feasible, I'm sure, but just not practical because of the cost.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: corco on July 10, 2012, 10:49:44 PM
Only way this happens in our lifetime is if we sell Alaska to the Chinese and then let them fund the whole thing
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: cpzilliacus on July 13, 2012, 09:25:07 AM
It's a cool idea in theory to be able to go from New York to London by train.

Why?  Aircraft make the crossing safely and at high speed.

The idea of trans-oceanic rail reminds me of Donald Fagen's Nightfly (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Nightfly) album (1982), and in particular his "I.G.Y." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I.G.Y._%28What_a_Beautiful_World%29) track (supposedly set in 1957, the International Geophysical Year (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Geophysical_Year)), which includes these lyrics:

At this point in time that it's clear
The future looks bright
On that train all graphite and glitter
Undersea by rail
Ninety minutes from New York to Paris
Well by seventy-six we'll be A.O.K.


What a beautiful world this will be
What a glorious time to be free
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: vdeane on July 13, 2012, 05:31:44 PM
Some of us don't like the idea of flying (especially these days with the security theater that's more intrusive than crossing an international border).  Even before 9/11, I've heard too many horror stories of lost luggage and annoying passengers.

Personally, I'd rather drive.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: Road Hog on July 14, 2012, 12:01:06 AM
It's a cool idea in theory to be able to go from New York to London by train.

Why?  Aircraft make the crossing safely and at high speed.

The idea of trans-oceanic rail reminds me of Donald Fagen's Nightfly (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Nightfly) album (1982), and in particular his "I.G.Y." (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I.G.Y._%28What_a_Beautiful_World%29) track (supposedly set in 1957, the International Geophysical Year (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Geophysical_Year)), which includes these lyrics:

At this point in time that it's clear
The future looks bright
On that train all graphite and glitter
Undersea by rail
Ninety minutes from New York to Paris
Well by seventy-six we'll be A.O.K.


What a beautiful world this will be
What a glorious time to be free


Which is why I had in theory in italics. You will be able to sail across the Atlantic on the QE3 faster than you can go via Alaska and Siberia by rail.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: vdeane on July 14, 2012, 10:51:06 AM
What's the QE3?  All I could find on Google related to the stock market and federal reserve.  Is the recession now providing transportation?
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: NE2 on July 14, 2012, 03:41:31 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QE3
MS Queen Elizabeth, third Cunard passenger liner of the name
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: english si on July 14, 2012, 07:48:27 PM
No - it's the second Cunard passenger liner of the name*. The QE2 was the QE2, with the 2 - like the QM2, it's named after one of the Cunard boats named in the inter-war period after the Queen Consort of the time.

I was at both the farewell from Southampton fireworks of the QE2 and the maiden voyage fireworks of the QE.

The liners have slowed down since the rise of jet engines, but the record is 3d10h. Current cruises on the QM2, QE and QV (all three Cunard ships do the run and none other do, but the Cunards also do other stuff - like going around the world - so only cross the Atlantic infrequently and typically only in the Southampton - New York/Fort Lauderdale direction) are about 5 days, IIRC.

*The first named after the person now known as Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, the other known as the Queen with no need to qualify (other than maybe 'of the United Kingdom').
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: Road Hog on July 14, 2012, 08:39:45 PM
You're right, I meant the QE2. QE3 is something else in the news.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: english si on July 14, 2012, 09:21:35 PM
Sailing on the QE2 across the Atlantic would be hard, given that it's permanently moored in Dubai, and will become a hotel before plans (http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/heritage/qe2/9792827.QE2_to_become_hotel/) for a rail tunnel could be drawn up. But we get the point.

I reckon three weeks to a month to get from Atlantic to Atlantic via a Bering Strait rail tunnel. I'd imagine California to Shanghai would be a tight race between the two modes.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: mgk920 on July 14, 2012, 11:08:43 PM
Sailing on the QE2 across the Atlantic would be hard, given that it's permanently moored in Dubai, and will become a hotel before plans (http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/heritage/qe2/9792827.QE2_to_become_hotel/) for a rail tunnel could be drawn up. But we get the point.

I reckon three weeks to a month to get from Atlantic to Atlantic via a Bering Strait rail tunnel. I'd imagine California to Shanghai would be a tight race between the two modes.

Instead of 'California to Shanghai', howabout 'factory in Shanghai to customer in Chicago' time?  A railcar in the port at Los Angeles/Long Beach is about the same time and rail distance from Chicago as a railcar is in about Edmonton, AB, if it were going by way of a Bering Strait tunnel.  That cuts at least a day, likely two, off of the transit time by way of a tunnel (recall the 'Great Circle' distance).  I'm also interested in comparing the time by way of the port at Prince Rupert, BC. I see containers going to/from that port on the CN mainline here in NE Wisconsin all the time.

Mike
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: NE2 on July 14, 2012, 11:27:09 PM
I repeat:
Time is really not a major issue for bulk shipping of Made in China goods. Ships are more efficient and use existing infrastructure.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: cpzilliacus on July 15, 2012, 11:01:02 AM
Some of us don't like the idea of flying (especially these days with the security theater that's more intrusive than crossing an international border).  Even before 9/11, I've heard too many horror stories of lost luggage and annoying passengers.

An undersea by rail line from North America to any other continent would involve the same TSA screening and border controls that you don't like (and most people don't care fore).

Consider another train under the sea that is currently in operation - the Channel Tunnel between Folkestone, England and Calais, France.  In order to use the train either way, you have to pass border controls and show a passport.   Doesn't matter if you are taking the train by boarding at a regular train station (Waterloo in London) or taking your motor vehicle on the "Le Shuttle" train.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: english si on July 15, 2012, 12:16:21 PM
It's mostly security stuff required for the tunnel, rather than border controls (though they check your passport anyway, given all the faff).

Unlike ferries, you enter the destination country before leaving, making it a one-stop shop.

Funny you use Waterloo as an example of a regular station where you could catch a Eurostar, given:
1)it stopped having Eurostar trains a few years ago
2)technically Waterloo International was a separate station to Waterloo NR, with the entrance at Waterloo International on the concourse of Waterloo (it had it's own concourse).
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: mgk920 on July 15, 2012, 12:43:03 PM
Some of us don't like the idea of flying (especially these days with the security theater that's more intrusive than crossing an international border).  Even before 9/11, I've heard too many horror stories of lost luggage and annoying passengers.

An undersea by rail line from North America to any other continent would involve the same TSA screening and border controls that you don't like (and most people don't care fore).

Consider another train under the sea that is currently in operation - the Channel Tunnel between Folkestone, England and Calais, France.  In order to use the train either way, you have to pass border controls and show a passport.   Doesn't matter if you are taking the train by boarding at a regular train station (Waterloo in London) or taking your motor vehicle on the "Le Shuttle" train.

The UK is *not* within the Schengen 'borderless' zone of continental Europe and, sine that is an 'external' Schengen border, one must clear customs and immigration inspection to cross it.

Mike
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: cpzilliacus on July 15, 2012, 03:48:16 PM
It's mostly security stuff required for the tunnel, rather than border controls (though they check your passport anyway, given all the faff).

It's still  a border control.

Unlike ferries, you enter the destination country before leaving, making it a one-stop shop.

There's a similar situation at some airports in Canada for U.S.-bound flights - you pass through U.S. passport control and customs on the ground before boarding the flight to the U.S.  Among other things, this means that the destinations can include domestic-only airports south of the border that do not have facilities for processing passengers arriving from places outside the U.S.

Funny you use Waterloo as an example of a regular station where you could catch a Eurostar, given:
1)it stopped having Eurostar trains a few years ago
2)technically Waterloo International was a separate station to Waterloo NR, with the entrance at Waterloo International on the concourse of Waterloo (it had it's own concourse).

Thank you for the update.

I have not been in London for quite a few years - the last time I was there, Waterloo (International) was the London terminal station for the Eurostar service.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: english si on July 15, 2012, 04:44:26 PM
The UK is *not* within the Schengen 'borderless' zone of continental Europe and, sine that is an 'external' Schengen border, one must clear customs and immigration inspection to cross it.
Yes, though the French don't typically give a merde about either (unless you have raw meat - though they cannot legally block the import of that).

It's more that Schengen isn't part of the British and Irish borderless area, but unless your passport is not EU/US/Commonwealth/other visa free areas then they don't really look.
It's still a border control.
Only as it's at a border... As a foot passenger, it's identical, if not more lax, than a flight inside the British and Irish travel area, or inside Schengen or the US. The only difference is that they can and will take your bundles of sticks and booze if they reckon you have too much for 'personal use' and not declared it to pay UK tax on it (which can't be right under EU law on free-movement of goods).
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: vdeane on July 15, 2012, 04:52:16 PM
Some of us don't like the idea of flying (especially these days with the security theater that's more intrusive than crossing an international border).  Even before 9/11, I've heard too many horror stories of lost luggage and annoying passengers.

An undersea by rail line from North America to any other continent would involve the same TSA screening and border controls that you don't like (and most people don't care fore).

Consider another train under the sea that is currently in operation - the Channel Tunnel between Folkestone, England and Calais, France.  In order to use the train either way, you have to pass border controls and show a passport.   Doesn't matter if you are taking the train by boarding at a regular train station (Waterloo in London) or taking your motor vehicle on the "Le Shuttle" train.
While I don't like border controls, they're a given for now, but you shouldn't have to feel like you're guilty until proven innocent to fly (and last I checked, the TSA doesn't care if you have a domestic or foreign flight).  I will not fly as long as the TSA has stuff like naked body scanners, pointless liquids restrictions, taking off of shoes, sexually assaulting people (all the while calling it an "enhanced pat-down"), etc.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: kphoger on July 17, 2012, 07:35:40 PM
Some of us don't like the idea of flying (especially these days with the security theater that's more intrusive than crossing an international border).  Even before 9/11, I've heard too many horror stories of lost luggage and annoying passengers.

An undersea by rail line from North America to any other continent would involve the same TSA screening and border controls that you don't like (and most people don't care fore).

Consider another train under the sea that is currently in operation - the Channel Tunnel between Folkestone, England and Calais, France.  In order to use the train either way, you have to pass border controls and show a passport.   Doesn't matter if you are taking the train by boarding at a regular train station (Waterloo in London) or taking your motor vehicle on the "Le Shuttle" train.
While I don't like border controls, they're a given for now, but you shouldn't have to feel like you're guilty until proven innocent to fly (and last I checked, the TSA doesn't care if you have a domestic or foreign flight).  I will not fly as long as the TSA has stuff like naked body scanners, pointless liquids restrictions, taking off of shoes, sexually assaulting people (all the while calling it an "enhanced pat-down"), etc.

Man, I remember buying a Greyhound ticket back in about 2003; they asked me for my name, and I didn't even have to show ID to verify it.  Of course, it would be a different story to cross a border by bus.

Security is only one thing I don't care for at the airport, and I don't find it any more unpleasant than the others.  Crowds, lines, hurrying up to wait, expensive food, cramped quarters onboard...  Other forms of transportation have their downsides too, though, of course.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: vdeane on July 18, 2012, 10:29:03 AM
I remember crossing in a coach bus for a school trip in March 2009.  Going into Canada, all the immigration officer did was was ask the usual alcohol/drugs questions.  They didn't even bother processing us or anything.  In fact, I'm wondering if that's what got me referred to immigration when I crossed in May... the officer asked me when the last time I was in Canada, I said three years ago since the last time was this trip, and there's probably no record of me entering Canada for it in the CBSA database!  They probably had to call US customs for record of the return to the US.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: Truvelo on July 18, 2012, 04:49:03 PM
I've used the Channel Tunnel car shuttle on a number of occasions. When heading to France all you have to do is show a passport in your hand as you drive past. In fact any document that resembles a passport will get you through. There are random spot checks and I've seen old camper vans being pulled over and customs officials looking inside for anything dodgy. All vehicles drive over a scanner before getting on the train which I suspect detects if there are any stowaways clinging on underneath.

When returning to the UK the passport checks are more intense. They actually look at it and put it under the ultraviolet. Other than that the regime is similar to the outward journey.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: Grzrd on September 04, 2012, 04:39:25 PM
The relatively poor Russians can build not one but two major bridges for their biggest city on the Pacific.
I think it might be only some practice and training for some bigger bridge (or tunnel) projects like a Bering Strait crossing. ;)
(above quote from Two new Vladivostok Bridges (http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=7597.msg172147#msg172147) thread)

One reason for building the Russky Island bridge in Vladivostok was to make a good impression on the delegates in attendance for the APEC meeting this week, and, yes, the Bering Strait Tunnel is being discussed (http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_09_04/Russia-s-transportation-projects-for-APEC/):

Quote
The APEC (Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation) week is underway in the city of Vladivostok on Russia’s Far East. One of the issues on the agenda of the business and political summits is the development of transportation and logistics.
Experts say that Russia may become the key player in this field proposing ambitious projects which are attractive for investments.
The Asian-Pacific region is the most rapidly developing region in the world. In the next few years experts predict a significant growth of the regional countries’ cargo turnover. The region sees the development of new promising deposits and the growth of exports. All this requires expanding the logistic infrastructure, its upgrade as well as building new transportation routes.
Currently, the regional countries are jointly implementing several ambitious projects as part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). China is the most active player developing its speed railways service. But there is one very important task here - connecting the Asian-Pacific region with Europe. There are several options for doing this, Evgeny Kanayev, an expert at the Center of the Asian Pacific region says.
"In the near future the development of two our transportation mega projects can meet the interests of our Asian Pacific partners. The first project is the Northern Sea Route, which will make it possible to reduce time for cargo shipment from Europe to Eastern Asia. The second project is the construction of the tunnel under the Bering Strait. Technically it is quite feasible and economically it is very profitable. It will help to switch some countries and territories, which are far away from the Pacific seaports, to transcontinental shipments. Finally, a possibility of connecting TransSiberian and TransKorean railroads remains." ....

Below is a photo of the Russky Island bridge that accompanies the above article:
(http://i.imgur.com/TrjVv.jpg)
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: Grzrd on September 09, 2012, 12:37:29 PM
The official position of the U.S. State Department is that it is "not aware" of any Russian plans to build a tunnel under the Bering Strait:
http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2011/09/171859.htm
Quote
Question Taken at the SEPTEMBER 7, 2011 Daily Press Briefing
September 7, 2011
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
QUESTION: Has the State Department been contacted by Russian authorities regarding a proposed construction project to build a tunnel under the Bering Strait to the United States?
ANSWER: While we are not aware of any plans to construct a tunnel under the Bering Strait, the United States and Russia enjoy close cooperation across the Strait in areas such as environmental protection, historical preservation, and recognition of the unique heritage of indigenous peoples in the region.
(above quote from Bering Strait Bridge and/or Tunnel (http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=4304.msg115079#msg115079) thread)

The State Department has issued a September 8 Press Release "On Cooperation in the Bering Strait Region" (http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2012/09/197522.htm) regarding an agreement between Secretary of State Clinton and her Russian counterpart to pursue a Transboundary Area of Beringian specially protected natural territory.  No mention is made of a possible Bering Strait Tunnel, but the agreement is noteworthy because the southern edge of the territory on the Alaskan side, the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve and Cape Krusenstern National Monument in Alaska (http://www.nps.gov/common/commonspot/customcf/apps/maps/showmap.cfm?alphacode=bela&parkname=Bering%20Land%20Bridge), might possibly affect a potential rail route from Wales, Alaska eastward and possibly strengthen likely environmental objections to a polimagistral rail tunnel project.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: Grzrd on September 17, 2012, 12:36:38 PM
Quote
The APEC (Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation) week is underway in the city of Vladivostok on Russia’s Far East. One of the issues on the agenda of the business and political summits is the development of transportation and logistics .... the construction of the tunnel under the Bering Strait. Technically it is quite feasible and economically it is very profitable. It will help to switch some countries and territories, which are far away from the Pacific seaports, to transcontinental shipments.
The State Department has issued a September 8 Press Release "On Cooperation in the Bering Strait Region" (http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2012/09/197522.htm) regarding an agreement between Secretary of State Clinton and her Russian counterpart to pursue a Transboundary Area of Beringian specially protected natural territory.  No mention is made of a possible Bering Strait Tunnel, but the agreement is noteworthy because the southern edge of the territory on the Alaskan side, the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve and Cape Krusenstern National Monument in Alaska (http://www.nps.gov/common/commonspot/customcf/apps/maps/showmap.cfm?alphacode=bela&parkname=Bering%20Land%20Bridge), might possibly affect a potential rail route from Wales, Alaska eastward and possibly strengthen likely environmental objections to a polimagistral rail tunnel project.
I emailed Fyodor Soloview
Quote
According to the transcontinental railway project, it is designed as polimagistral, ie combines rail and roads, power lines, oil and gas pipelines, telecommunications cables ....
Fyodor Soloview
InterBering
www.InterBering.com

I recently emailed Mr. Soloview again and asked him if any significant discussions regarding the proposed tunnel occurred during the recent APEC meeting in Vladivostok.  First, I asked if the creation of the joint Beringia park might have any conceivable effect on the tunnel project.  His response:

Quote
I think that creation of US Russia joint Beringia Park and perspectives to build the interhemispheric railroad and a tunnel under the Bering Strait are not connected with each other. At least at present time.

In terms of general discussions about the tunnel project, he indicated the following (I did not specifically mention China in my question):

Quote
During the APEC meeting China showed a large interest in building the railroad to America and an undersea Bering Tunnel.

Russia and China both seem to be expressing interest in the project.  I wonder if there are any segments in the U.S./Canada private sector that believe it would make economic sense as an investment?

Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: NE2 on September 25, 2012, 07:46:14 AM
I'm confused - isn't this primarily a freight project? Why was it moved to mass transit?
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: mgk920 on September 25, 2012, 11:37:43 AM
Likely because it involves land transport, but not directly involving the history, progress and/or future plans and musings of road infrastructure.

Perhaps 'Transit and Non-Road Transport Infrastructure' might be a better name for this sub-forvm.

Mike
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: Alps on September 25, 2012, 04:56:23 PM
It was late, I was tired, I saw "rail."
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: Grzrd on October 26, 2012, 11:42:03 AM
This article (http://www.equities.com/news/headline-story?dt=2012-10-25&val=634611&cat=energy) puts forth the argument that a 1,632 mile rail connection from Canada to Delta Junction, Alaska (http://maps.google.com/maps?q=Delta+Junction,+AK&hl=en&ll=64.033744,-145.722656&spn=4.804335,19.665527&sll=32.678125,-83.178297&sspn=4.61356,9.832764&oq=delta+junction&t=h&hnear=Delta+Junction,+Southeast+Fairbanks,+Alaska&z=6) may be both economically feasible and a better environmental alternative than the Keystone pipeline and supertanker transport of oil in the Arctic Ocean ... and, put the United States in an advantageous position to build the tunnel:

Quote
... All the latest plans of developers to bring a railroad through to Alaska are therefore based on the idea of incorporating it into a global intercontinental railway project with Russia—together with the construction of a tunnel under the Bering Strait. This would make project construction more profitable for private investors. But even this faces its own difficulties, like the inability of past Russian and U.S. leaders to sign a joint treaty. Finding investors who will pay up to $100 billion for the laying of 2,400 miles of rail through undeveloped regions of Siberia to the Chukotka Peninsula in Russia, plus 3,000 more miles in the U.S. and Canada, and digging a tunnel under the Bering Strait, is also a challenge.
Support for a Canada-Alaska railroad, however, grows along with each new rise in the price of oil, the growing demand in Asia for new oil sources, and the simple fact that Canadian natural resources—especially in the Western Provinces of British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatchewan as well as the Yukon Territory—have difficult access to Pacific ports ....
A double-track, 1,632 mile purpose-built railway would be built from Canada to Delta Junction, Alaska capable of transporting over 4 million bpd of oil products at a total estimated cost of $10.4 billion.
The conservative revenue estimate is $3.5 billion per year, with $2.5 billion of this based solely on oil transport at one million barrels per day. Near Delta Junction, a Canadian railroad would be connected with the single-track Alaskan railroad which is itself now under construction by Kiewit Infrastructure Group. This firm is presently also erecting a bridge over the Tanana River as a part of an 80-mile Northern Rail Extension Project of Alaska Railroad, from the city of North Pole ....
“The two-track, Canadian-Alaska railroad will be built by the year 2018, if we get the required $4.5 million and start working now,” says Ward Kemerer, G7G Director.
The construction of a Canada-Alaska railroad would have an additional impact on the proposed America-Russia railroad. If this connection happens soon, then the part on the American continent of international track (a 1,300-mile bit between Fairbanks and the Bering Strait) can be completed by 2024—six or more years earlier than the Russian railroad to the coast of the Bering Strait from Yakutsk. That might give the U.S. an opportunity to dig the entire 64-mile Bering Strait tunnel using its own financing and labor force. This could potentially give more control over key aspects such as tunnel maintenance, security, customs and operation schedules—including land on the Russian side to house workers, etc.

I'm not sure how productive it would be to build a tunnel to Russia without Russian cooperation.  :hmmm:

edit

Quote
Fyodor Soloview
InterBering
www.InterBering.com

The above information was initially contained in a press release from Soloview (http://www.prweb.com/releases/prweb2012/10/prweb10056399.htm).  The Canada-Alaska rail connection possibility had been previously presented in a June, 2011 slideshow (http://unfnrailco.com/ESW/Files/Niagara_Falls_Summit_G7G_Presentation_FINAL_June-28-2011.pdf) (page 4/9 of pdf):

(http://i.imgur.com/T4nNh.jpg)

I'm guessing that the purpose behind the press release is to raise enthusiasm for a feasibility study for the rail ink.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: agentsteel53 on October 26, 2012, 12:09:16 PM

I'm not sure how productive it would be to build a tunnel to Russia without Russian cooperation.  :hmmm:

very productive.  ask any 6 year old.  though most are building tunnels to China, the idea is pretty similar.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: cpzilliacus on October 26, 2012, 12:13:29 PM
I'm not sure how productive it would be to build a tunnel to Russia without Russian cooperation.  :hmmm:

And there's still the matter of the Russian railroad system (and some nations formerly part of the Russian or Soviet empires, including Estonia, Mongolia and others, using Russian imperial gauge (1520 mm, or 59.8 inches)), while the U.S. and Canada use standard (Stephenson) gauge (1435 mm, or 56.5 inches).   
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: english si on October 26, 2012, 02:24:13 PM
And there's still the matter of the Russian railroad system (and some nations formerly part of the Russian or Soviet empires, including Estonia, Mongolia and others, using Russian imperial gauge (1520 mm, or 59.8 inches)), while the U.S. and Canada use standard (Stephenson) gauge (1435 mm, or 56.5 inches).   
Which - as has been said upthread - isn't a problem for European/Chinese trains to those countries, especially freight trains...
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: cpzilliacus on October 26, 2012, 03:17:19 PM
And there's still the matter of the Russian railroad system (and some nations formerly part of the Russian or Soviet empires, including Estonia, Mongolia and others, using Russian imperial gauge (1520 mm, or 59.8 inches)), while the U.S. and Canada use standard (Stephenson) gauge (1435 mm, or 56.5 inches).   
Which - as has been said upthread - isn't a problem for European/Chinese trains to those countries, especially freight trains...

I thought that the trucks (bogies outside North  America) on each railroad car transiting Russia were still being swapped-out manually near the border between China and Russia; and again between Russian-gauge territory and European standard-gauge territory in Eastern Europe?

Are you aware of any place where the break-of-gauge is being handled by an automated method?

At the beginning of this (http://youtu.be/C5gk9-52zyc) YouTube video is a short clip showing the trucks being swapped-out near the border between Russia and China. Looks like a pretty labor-intensive process.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: kkt on October 26, 2012, 03:30:03 PM
I'm not sure how productive it would be to build a tunnel to Russia without Russian cooperation.  :hmmm:

And there's still the matter of the Russian railroad system (and some nations formerly part of the Russian or Soviet empires, including Estonia, Mongolia and others, using Russian imperial gauge (1520 mm, or 59.8 inches)), while the U.S. and Canada use standard (Stephenson) gauge (1435 mm, or 56.5 inches).   

The change in gauge is a relatively small problem compared to building the enormous rail line and tunnel and keeping it open in the winter.  Gauge changes take a little time, but not that much as compared to circling half the Pacific.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: mgk920 on October 26, 2012, 09:03:48 PM
CN (Canadian National) has already announced that due to the failure to approve the Keystone pipeline, they will be handling substantially increasing volumes of crude oil, likely in unit trains, between the sand-oil fields in northeastern Alberta and refineries in the USA's Gulf Coast region via a routing that is entirely CN (it passes though my home metro area as well as suburban Chicagoland), so it might not be far-fetched to see someone building such a railroad into Alaska.  CN is also investing about USA$35M of their own money to rebuild and restore their dormant ex SOO line between Ladysmith, WI and the Rice Lake, WI area to serve several 'frac' sand mines and processing plants in the Rice Lake area, as well as several million dollars more to replace their 113 year old ex-CNW mainline swing bridge in Oshkosh, WI, which is on the routing that this traffic will use.

Heady days for freight rail in North America!

Mike
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: mgk920 on October 26, 2012, 09:08:59 PM
I'm not sure how productive it would be to build a tunnel to Russia without Russian cooperation.  :hmmm:

And there's still the matter of the Russian railroad system (and some nations formerly part of the Russian or Soviet empires, including Estonia, Mongolia and others, using Russian imperial gauge (1520 mm, or 59.8 inches)), while the U.S. and Canada use standard (Stephenson) gauge (1435 mm, or 56.5 inches).   

The change in gauge is a relatively small problem compared to building the enormous rail line and tunnel and keeping it open in the winter.  Gauge changes take a little time, but not that much as compared to circling half the Pacific.

As I mentioned upthread, since China uses the exact same railroad technical standards as are used in North America (track gauge, coupling, loading gauges, etc) such that equipment in one can directly run in the other, it could well be possible that the line leading up to such a tunnel on the Asian side would be built to those standards and that the break in standards would be wherever the Russian Railways lines meet it.

Mike
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: kphoger on October 27, 2012, 10:26:45 AM
a routing that is entirely CN (it passes though my home metro area as well as suburban Chicagoland

All along the southbound odyssey, the train pulls out at Kankankee; rolls along past houses, farms, and fields...
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: cpzilliacus on October 27, 2012, 12:04:26 PM
I'm not sure how productive it would be to build a tunnel to Russia without Russian cooperation.  :hmmm:

And there's still the matter of the Russian railroad system (and some nations formerly part of the Russian or Soviet empires, including Estonia, Mongolia and others, using Russian imperial gauge (1520 mm, or 59.8 inches)), while the U.S. and Canada use standard (Stephenson) gauge (1435 mm, or 56.5 inches).   

The change in gauge is a relatively small problem compared to building the enormous rail line and tunnel and keeping it open in the winter.  Gauge changes take a little time, but not that much as compared to circling half the Pacific.

As I mentioned upthread, since China uses the exact same railroad technical standards as are used in North America (track gauge, coupling, loading gauges, etc) such that equipment in one can directly run in the other, it could well be possible that the line leading up to such a tunnel on the Asian side would be built to those standards and that the break in standards would be wherever the Russian Railways lines meet it.

Given what I know about Russia, I very seriously doubt that its leadership would ever permit a standard-gauge line from China across eastern Siberia to a Bering Sea crossing.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: Grzrd on February 28, 2013, 11:07:56 AM
This opinion piece in the Global Times (http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/716731.shtml) is noteworthy because the Global Times is the newspaper of the Chinese Communist Party.  China's desire to have the tunnel would go a long way toward making the project happen.
Quote
Major joint projects involving the development of Siberia and a tunnel under the Bering Strait could be undertaken given today's technology. Serious and substantial cooperation on international issues of mutual concern must be undertaken.

This Global Times opinion piece (http://www.globaltimes.cn/content/764952.shtml) is by Clifford Kiracofe, the same individual who authored the above opinion. He opines that the Bering Strait tunnel has the potential to demonstrate long-term economic cooperation between the United States and Russia:

Quote
Washington's so-called reset policy with Russia was a failure in Barack Obama's first term. Will the US take effective steps in Obama's second term to improve relations with Russia, or will the Cold War mentality prevail?
New Secretary of State John Kerry, who has had almost three decades of experience on the influential US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, can break new ground with Russia should the White House decide to make a sincere effort for a reset. 
The moderate Chuck Hagel, who has just become secretary of defense, could also play an important role in a reset ....
But while the Russian side signals a willingness to improve relations on a new basis, Washington continues a Cold War mentality ....
Should obstacles be overcome, however, there are many well known areas for US-Russian cooperation which include counterterrorism, counternarcotics, scientific research, and medical research.
The development of Siberia and large infrastructure projects such as a Bering Strait tunnel are major areas for long range economic cooperation. The recent meteor event certainly provides a basis for cooperation in space research and defense with respect to bodies such as asteroids.

Meanwhile, this opinion piece (http://rbth.ru/opinion/2013/02/21/no_need_to_direct_siberias_development_from_moscow_23119.html) asserts that the Bering Strait tunnel should be waaaaay down Siberia's priority list:

Quote
Development strategies for Siberia and the Far East focus on initiatives such as rebuilding cities in the Arctic, building a bridge to Sakhalin, or digging a tunnel beneath the Bering Strait.
All of this might be interesting from Moscow’s perspective — except, no more than 160,000 people cross from Sakhalin to the mainland each year, a tunnel to Alaska would cost several times Russia’s annual trade with that American state, and the Trans-Siberian Railway is mainly used to export iron ore and coal .... In my opinion, instead of establishing a new state-owned corporation, the government should take a completely different approach to making Siberia and the Far East prosperous ....

In short, it may be that China and Moscow both have some degree of interest in a tunnel, but that Siberia is wary of the motives of both.



The State Department has issued a September 8 Press Release "On Cooperation in the Bering Strait Region" (http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2012/09/197522.htm) regarding an agreement between Secretary of State Clinton and her Russian counterpart to pursue a Transboundary Area of Beringian specially protected natural territory.  No mention is made of a possible Bering Strait Tunnel

This January 21 article (http://www.timeslive.co.za/travel/2013/01/21/russian-national-park-to-bridge-us-russia-divide) reports that Russia recently created its Beringia National Park:

Quote
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed the decree to create the new national park called Beringia, Russia's World Wildlife Fund said. The park will eventually be part of the first US-Russian nature reserve spanning the Bering Strait area, it said .... Russia's Beringia national park will directly touch the US border, although it does not include some of Russia's marine waters in the strait nor the small Ratmanov island, which is a base for a Russian border control station.

Ratmanov Island is also known as Big Diomede Island (hypothetically on the tunnel's route); therefore, the existence of the park probably would not be an impediment to construction of a tunnel.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: Grzrd on July 08, 2013, 12:07:05 PM
It's a new summer with some new musings on the Bering Strait Rail Tunnel. This Moscow Times article (http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/trans-siberian-railroad-getting-new-lease-on-life/482732.html), primarily about $13.6 billion of upgrades to the Russian rail system, includes thoughts that construction might not begin until after 2030, and that a "if you build the tunnel first, then they will build the railroads to it" strategy should be employed:

Quote
President Vladimir Putin at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum at the end of June .... said the state would unseal the National Welfare Fund to allocate 450 billion rubles ($13.6 billion) on three infrastructure projects, including the construction of a high-speed rail line from Moscow to Kazan, a Central Ring Road beltway that is to appear around the capital by 2020 and the modernization of the Trans Siberian Railroad and its tributary, the Baikal-Amur Mainline ....
While the future of the Trans-Siberian and BAM is unclear, another mega-project that could result in a rail link appearing across continents continues to be discussed ....
During the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum last year, Russian Railways president Vladimir Yakunin said the project to extend a railway line to Kamchatka and then to build a tunnel across the Bering Strait could be completed "in not a very distant future." He also said at another conference last year that the final decision to start the project could be made within 3 to 5 years.
The strategy of railroad development up to the year 2030 approved by the Russian government mentions the Bering tunnel, but the plans state that it could be built after 2030 ....
Fyodor Soloview, the head of Interbering
, a private company created to promote Bering tunnel construction, said it could be built as a separate project.
"The tunnel could start to be built first, using money provided by international development funds. The railroads connecting it to mainlines in Russia, the U.S. and Canada would then follow and could be laid on the gravel dug out from the seabed," he said.
Soloview also said that if investment was not first made in the tunnel, it could take another generation before railroads came both from Alaska and Russia to the Bering Strait.

Other than Soloview and his website, no musings about a Bering Strait Rail Tunnel from the Alaska/Canada side of the Strait.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: Pete from Boston on July 08, 2013, 06:31:40 PM
It's a new summer with some new musings on the Bering Strait Rail Tunnel. This Moscow Times article (http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/trans-siberian-railroad-getting-new-lease-on-life/482732.html), primarily about $13.6 billion of upgrades to the Russian rail system, includes thoughts that construction might not begin until after 2030, and that a "if you build the tunnel first, then they will build the railroads to it" strategy should be employed:

Quote
President Vladimir Putin at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum at the end of June .... said the state would unseal the National Welfare Fund to allocate 450 billion rubles ($13.6 billion) on three infrastructure projects, including the construction of a high-speed rail line from Moscow to Kazan, a Central Ring Road beltway that is to appear around the capital by 2020 and the modernization of the Trans Siberian Railroad and its tributary, the Baikal-Amur Mainline ....
While the future of the Trans-Siberian and BAM is unclear, another mega-project that could result in a rail link appearing across continents continues to be discussed ....
During the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum last year, Russian Railways president Vladimir Yakunin said the project to extend a railway line to Kamchatka and then to build a tunnel across the Bering Strait could be completed "in not a very distant future." He also said at another conference last year that the final decision to start the project could be made within 3 to 5 years.
The strategy of railroad development up to the year 2030 approved by the Russian government mentions the Bering tunnel, but the plans state that it could be built after 2030 ....
Fyodor Soloview, the head of Interbering
, a private company created to promote Bering tunnel construction, said it could be built as a separate project.
"The tunnel could start to be built first, using money provided by international development funds. The railroads connecting it to mainlines in Russia, the U.S. and Canada would then follow and could be laid on the gravel dug out from the seabed," he said.
Soloview also said that if investment was not first made in the tunnel, it could take another generation before railroads came both from Alaska and Russia to the Bering Strait.

Other than Soloview and his website, no musings about a Bering Strait Rail Tunnel from the Alaska/Canada side of
the Strait.

The only "serious" talk I've heard (admittedly on the wrong side of the continent) is from the LaRouche folks who periodically set up tables around here.  They're very convinced of the idea, but so convinced that they tend to employ an insulting tone with people who question it.  Plus there's the pictures they hang up of the president with a Hitler mustache superimposed over the BP logo, which tends not to sell the project.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: Grzrd on November 03, 2013, 10:54:18 AM
The State Department has issued a September 8 Press Release "On Cooperation in the Bering Strait Region" (http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2012/09/197522.htm) regarding an agreement between Secretary of State Clinton and her Russian counterpart to pursue a Transboundary Area of Beringian specially protected natural territory.  No mention is made of a possible Bering Strait Tunnel
This January 21 article (http://www.timeslive.co.za/travel/2013/01/21/russian-national-park-to-bridge-us-russia-divide) reports that Russia recently created its Beringia National Park:
Quote
Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev signed the decree to create the new national park called Beringia, Russia's World Wildlife Fund said. The park will eventually be part of the first US-Russian nature reserve spanning the Bering Strait area, it said .... Russia's Beringia national park will directly touch the US border, although it does not include some of Russia's marine waters in the strait nor the small Ratmanov island, which is a base for a Russian border control station.
Ratmanov Island is also known as Big Diomede Island (hypothetically on the tunnel's route); therefore, the existence of the park probably would not be an impediment to construction of a tunnel.

This Oct. 31 article (http://www.newsminer.com/news/politics/murkowski-young-ask-for-meetings-on-proposed-transnational-bering-strait/article_915cd042-4205-11e3-aadb-001a4bcf6878.html) reports that the Memorandum of Understanding regarding the transnational Beringia natural territory still has not been translated for both sides:

Quote
Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Don Young, both R-Alaska, have asked federal officials to schedule public meetings about a proposed agreement with Russia concerning a transnational park in the Bering Straits region.
Murkowksi and Young wrote to Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell on Monday. “Our understanding is that a memorandum of understanding has been agreed to by the Department of State and Russia, and that a delay in translating it for both sides is the reason it has not been released,” the letter said.
The Alaska officials said they had outlined their concerns about the idea last year but that “nothing has changed.”

“We ask that you engage directly with the Alaskans this arrangement will directly affect, that you schedule public meetings in our state to familiarize yourselves with local concerns, that you engage on this matter with the state of Alaska and that you convene government-to-government consultations with the Alaska Native tribes who are likely to be impacted,” the letter said.

This Nov. 3 article (http://juneauempire.com/state/2013-11-03/state-news-roundup-protecting-children-and-veterans) goes a step further and reports that Murkowski and Young oppose the park:

Quote
Sen. Murkowski and Rep. Don Young are saying ‘no’ to a proposed international park in the Bering Strait region of Alaska and the Russian Far East. The proposed park — referred to as Transboundary Area of Shared Beringian Heritage — would link the proposed Beringia National Park in east Russia, with the Bering Land Bridge National Preserve and Cape Krusenstern National Monument on Alaska’s Seward Peninsula.
Murkowksi and Young say in a statement that they’re concerned that the proposed park will not bring any direct benefit to Alaska Native communities in the region and that the proposed project doesn’t provide adequate protection of subsistence activities and possibly puts restrictions on mineral and economic development activities.

The devil is in the linguistic details .....
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: Grzrd on May 10, 2014, 09:54:24 PM
the Russian Railway president is pushing for a decision as to whether to proceed with the tunnel by 2017 (http://www.kyivpost.com/news/russia/detail/125745/):
Quote
A decision on building a tunnel under the Bering Strait to connect the railway infrastructures of Russia and North America should be made before 2017, Russian Railways President Vladimir Yakunin told journalists on Saturday, Apr. 7 ....
The project can be implemented only based on multilateral cooperation between various countries, Yakunin said. "America should be on the one side and Russia on the other. China is interested as well, and so multilateral cooperation is inevitable," he said.

This May 8 article (http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2014-05/08/content_17493399.htm) reports that China is considering funding and constructing a high-speed rail connection between China and the Lower 48:

Quote
China is considering building a high-speed railway across the Siberia and Bering Strait to Alaska, across Canada to the US. In not so distant future, people can take the train from China to the US, according to Beijing Times Thursday citing Wang Mengshu, a railway expert and academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.
The proposed journey will start from China's northeast region, cross Siberia to Bering Strait, and run across the Pacific Ocean by undersea tunnel to reach Alaska, from Alaska to Canada, then on to its final destination, the US. To cross Bering Strait will require approximately 200km undersea tunnel, the technology, which is already in place will also be used on Fujian to Taiwan high-speed railway tunnel. The project will be funded and constructed by China. The details of this project are yet to be finalized.

It is interesting that this is being reported as primarily, if not solely, a potential Chinese project.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: jakeroot on May 11, 2014, 02:57:51 AM
It is interesting that this is being reported as primarily, if not solely, a potential Chinese project.

If I know the Chinese, tunnel construction will begin in a couple weeks, and will be complete by September. Fuck permits.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: Grzrd on June 28, 2014, 12:26:35 AM
From the Russian side: the Russian Railway president is pushing for a decision as to whether to proceed with the tunnel by 2017 (http://www.kyivpost.com/news/russia/detail/125745/):
Quote
A decision on building a tunnel under the Bering Strait to connect the railway infrastructures of Russia and North America should be made before 2017, Russian Railways President Vladimir Yakunin told journalists on Saturday, Apr. 7 ...
This July 7 article indicates that (http://rbth.ru/articles/2012/07/07/railroad_passage_to_alaska_would_open_up_transport_between_north_ame_16189.html) Yakunin recently discussed the Bering Strait Tunnel again at a conference in Italy:
Quote
In April, Yakunin said that he believed in the possibility of building a railroad tunnel under the Bering Strait and noted that such a decision needs to be made by 2017.
"I am convinced that Russia has to develop areas in the Far East and Kamchatka with railway transport, and I think that the decision to build should be made within the next three to five years. I mean that in general this needs to be done," he said. "With regards to real implementation, I think that it should be within ten to 15 years," Yakunin said.

This June 26 article (http://www.globalrailnews.com/2014/06/26/yakunin-talks-railways-and-politics/) reports that Yakunin still believes that the Bering Strait tunnel is "realistic", but Yakunin does not further elaborate on any deadlines:

Quote
At the second day of the Sochi 1520 strategic forum, Russian Railway’s President, Vladimir Yakunin spoke to Global Rail News and other members of the foreign press.
Yakunin is always forthcoming at his press conferences and this one was no exception. Amongst other topics, he gave his views on high-speed rail, investment in freight corridors and the Ukrainian situation ....
Yakunin is firmly committed to enhancing long-distance rail freight corridors with significant investments in the Trans-Siberian and its northerly neighbour – the BAM. Russian Railways is also working with Kazakhstan, Belarus and China on the “New Silk Road”. He even referred to a future line under the Bering Strait to Alaska which he felt was a long term but realistic aspiration.

At any rate, nothing substantial will occur in the near future.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: Grzrd on December 18, 2014, 04:10:33 PM
This May 8 article (http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2014-05/08/content_17493399.htm) reports that China is considering funding and constructing a high-speed rail connection between China and the Lower 48:
Quote
China is considering building a high-speed railway across the Siberia and Bering Strait to Alaska, across Canada to the US. In not so distant future, people can take the train from China to the US, according to Beijing Times Thursday citing Wang Mengshu, a railway expert and academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

This December 18 New York Times article (http://sinosphere.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/12/18/q-and-a-with-wang-mengshu-on-a-railroad-linking-china-and-the-u-s/?_r=0) includes a Q & A with Mengshu in which he clarifies that the high-speed rail project is merely speculative and that Chinese authorities have not seriously pursued it.  Mengshu's vision for the project includes both passengers and cargo:

Quote
Wang Mengshu, one of China’s top railway construction engineers and a scholar with the Chinese Academy of Engineering specializing in tunnel and underground projects, told The Beijing Times this year about his idea for a “China-Russia-Alaska-Canada-U.S. high-speed rail,” which would start in northeastern China, go through eastern Russia toward the Bering Sea, cross the Bering Strait via a tunnel, arrive in Alaska and eventually traverse Canada to the United States. The tunnel across the Bering Strait alone would be about 125 miles long, Mr. Wang said.
The trains would travel at about 220 miles per hour, transporting passengers and cargo between China and the United States in less than two days. However, Mr. Wang said this project was merely speculative and had not been considered seriously by the Chinese authorities. The countries outside China that Mr. Wang hopes would be involved in the project have not made any public comments on it ....
Q.
So China can build a tunnel across the Bering Sea, the longest undersea tunnel in the world?
A.
It is merely a little over 200 kilometers. We have the technology. It is technically feasible. The Bohai Bay tunnel, 125 kilometers between Dalian and Yantai, has already passed the scientific feasibility debate and entered the 13th Five-Year Plan. Building tunnels is not about the length. It has more to do with how deep it is in the sea than length.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: cpzilliacus on December 19, 2014, 08:29:30 PM
This December 18 New York Times article (http://sinosphere.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/12/18/q-and-a-with-wang-mengshu-on-a-railroad-linking-china-and-the-u-s/?_r=0) includes a Q & A with Mengshu in which he clarifies that the high-speed rail project is merely speculative and that Chinese authorities have not seriously pursued it.

Wonder if the real Red Chinese goal here is to obtain access to natural resources both in Siberia and in Alaska?
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: kkt on December 19, 2014, 11:50:38 PM
This December 18 New York Times article (http://sinosphere.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/12/18/q-and-a-with-wang-mengshu-on-a-railroad-linking-china-and-the-u-s/?_r=0) includes a Q & A with Mengshu in which he clarifies that the high-speed rail project is merely speculative and that Chinese authorities have not seriously pursued it.

Wonder if the real Red Chinese goal here is to obtain access to natural resources both in Siberia and in Alaska?

I don't think they'd get any more than they already do, just some of them would come by rail instead of ship.

Actually this proposal comes from a railroad builder, so it doesn't weigh benefits against costs.

Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: Pete from Boston on December 19, 2014, 11:58:15 PM
I just learned, when concerned about fault risk, that eastern Siberia and Alaska are both on the North American plate.  So no fault risk there.  I wonder if, as plate tectonic theory emerged during the Cold War, there was any North American resentment that they were on our plate. 
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: Grzrd on January 09, 2015, 01:11:10 PM
This January 6, 2015 article (http://enr.construction.com/infrastructure/transportation/2015/0106-russia-to-build-230b-bullet-train-to-beijing.asp) reports that China has reached an agreement with Russia to build a high-speed rail connection between Moscow and Beijing, which in turn is being touted as a prelude to building a high-speed rail connection across the Bering Strait:

Quote
China has bagged a Russian contract to build a high-speed railway that would connect Moscow to Beijing in just 48 hours. This is part of a more grandiose plan to connect China with the United States and Canada by creating a tunnel in the Pacific.
"If the funds are raised smoothly … the line can be completed in five years at the quickest," Wang Meng-shu, a tunnel and railway expert at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, told the Beijing Times recently. Citing official sources, the paper put the estimated cost at $230 billion.
The project grew out of a meeting between Russian president Vladimir Putin and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang in mid-October when four agencies—China’s National Development and Reform Commission, China Railway Corp., Russia's Administration of Transport and its National Railway Cooperation—signed an agreement on construction of a Eurasian high-speed rail from Beijing to Moscow while prioritizing high-speed connectivity between Moscow and the oil-rich city of Kazan, Russia.
The Moscow project would be the first part of a more ambitious program for a China-Russia-Canada-US line. Officials say the line would begin in Beijing and travel north through Siberia and under the Bering Strait to Alaska before heading south through Canada to reach its final—as yet unspecified—destination in the United States ....
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: cpzilliacus on January 09, 2015, 01:34:51 PM
This January 6, 2015 article (http://enr.construction.com/infrastructure/transportation/2015/0106-russia-to-build-230b-bullet-train-to-beijing.asp) reports that China has reached an agreement with Russia to build a high-speed rail connection between Moscow and Beijing, which in turn is being touted as a prelude to building a high-speed rail connection across the Bering Strait:

I wonder if Czar Vladimir will allow such a railroad to be built with standard gauge instead of Russian imperial broad gauge?

Having a break in gauge at the China/Russian border means the trucks have to be swapped-out, not exactly a high-speed operation!

Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: vdeane on January 10, 2015, 01:44:03 AM
Probably not.  Russia's entire foreign policy is based around making it take so long for a foreign army to significantly damage Russia that they would freeze to death.  I can't see them building a rail line that would essentially allow a potential enemy (which, as far as Russians are concerned, is every other country in the world, due to the numerous times Russia has been betrayed by its "allies") direct access to Moscow.  The Bering Strait one might though, as it wouldn't really service Russia at all, just pass through.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: kkt on January 10, 2015, 12:50:42 PM
From the Russian point of view, why should they build a rail line that would allow the Chinese and Americans easier access to their territory in Siberia than the Russian railroads have?
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: US 41 on January 10, 2015, 01:48:21 PM
I don't think the US and Russia will ever allow a connection between Asia and North America. The fact is the US and Russia are not really friends. We are more each others enemies than anything.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: Grzrd on March 23, 2015, 02:22:54 PM
This January 6, 2015 article (http://enr.construction.com/infrastructure/transportation/2015/0106-russia-to-build-230b-bullet-train-to-beijing.asp) reports that China has reached an agreement with Russia to build a high-speed rail connection between Moscow and Beijing, which in turn is being touted as a prelude to building a high-speed rail connection across the Bering Strait:
I wonder if Czar Vladimir will allow such a railroad to be built with standard gauge instead of Russian imperial broad gauge?
Having a break in gauge at the China/Russian border means the trucks have to be swapped-out, not exactly a high-speed operation!

This International Business Times article (http://www.ibtimes.com/putin-considering-russian-high-speed-train-would-end-bering-strait-doorstep-alaska-us-1855716) reports that Putin is currently considering a proposal to build a high-speed railway across Siberia to the Bering Strait:

Quote
A plan to build a high-speed railway across much of Siberia to the Bering Strait, the body of water between Russia and Alaska, has been submitted to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the president of Russia's Academy of Sciences announced Monday. The Bering Strait is just 55 miles wide at its narrowest point, meaning that if such a high-speed train line were to be built in Russia, its last stop could be a short distance from U.S. soil.
In an interview published Monday with the Russian government daily Rossiiskaya Gazeta, Vladimir Fortov, the head of the Academy of Sciences, said the proposal came from ideas sought by the Russian government to help advance economic development in the far east. He called the project "very large-scale and expensive," the Moscow Times reported, but did not offer estimates regarding costs or funding.
The far east of Russia is a region rich in resources such as "metals, minerals and timber," The Economist has reported, while scholars describe the area as having been abandoned and underdeveloped, despite its trove of natural resources, under the Soviet Union and after its collapse. Only recently has Russia begun to focus on the region in an attempt to capitalize on these resources.

I wonder if China presented the proposal to Putin?  If so, it would be interesting to know the gauge size that is included in the proposal.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: kkt on March 23, 2015, 04:09:02 PM
The Russian economy is collapsing.  I don't think they'll be funding that kind of megaproject in the near future.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: english si on March 23, 2015, 04:38:15 PM
I wonder if Czar Vladimir will allow such a railroad to be built with standard gauge instead of Russian imperial broad gauge?

Having a break in gauge at the China/Russian border means the trucks have to be swapped-out, not exactly a high-speed operation!
Would it matter much in a journey that would still take such a long time.

Moscow - Beijing is 5808km as the crow flies. You are talking something like 6500km, especially as, the Chinese would simply extend their Urumqi route onward. At even 400km/h, that's still over 16 hours. Who cares if that goes up to 17 to 17 and a half hours?
The Russian economy is collapsing.  I don't think they'll be funding that kind of megaproject in the near future.
I'd call masses of high speed rail a giga project (this would would be pushing 'tera'). The only mega project I see them doing is the $2bn bridge over the Kerch Straight (I think rail as well as road, and I imagine utilities as well), and that for strategic geopolitical reasons.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: vdeane on March 23, 2015, 10:07:56 PM
I believe the Kerch Strait Bridge is a big priority for them (for obvious reasons).  And while Russia's economy isn't doing well, they've bounced back before.  Putin might be looking to capitalize on the resources in the area.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: english si on March 24, 2015, 04:47:19 AM
The Russian economy is heavily focused on oil and oil products, but the OPEC issues (ie not acting like a cartel) means that the price of oil is low. Russia can bounce back, but only if external factors align or the whole economy is overhauled. After all, they can't build a trading economy as the EU is unwilling to trade freely with them (even before all the Ukraine stuff). Putin wanted that, and it would have stopped their overspecialisation, but alas.

Putin himself is in trouble, hence his sabre-rattling the EU (eg the threatening to nuke Denmark if it joins a NATO project) and long disappearance. I doubt the next Soviet throwback would be decent or strong enough (Putin has killed his rivals, remember) to not move beyond this 'create a cold war with the West to get support' phase.

That said, the EU (and also NATO) has as much to do with that Cold War mentality as Putin struggling to hold onto power - after the Ukrainian coup, the EU-recognised and pro-EU violent mob government saw it as such an either/or thing that they made Russiophobic laws, gave Russia pretty good cause to invade Crimea for the protection of the people living there who had been stripped of their rights. Putin never saw EU and Russia as either/or until his offer of a trade deal was rejected out of hand without a thought.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: Grzrd on March 24, 2015, 08:59:56 AM
The Russian economy is collapsing.  I don't think they'll be funding that kind of megaproject in the near future.
I'd call masses of high speed rail a giga project (this would would be pushing 'tera').

Getting closer to being on-topic with this forum, The Siberian Times (http://siberiantimes.com/business/investment/news/n0160-plans-for-new-transport-route-unveiled-to-link-pacific-with-atlantic/) reports that a mega road network would accompany the high-speed rail line, the cost for the overall project would be trillions of dollars, and that an ultimate goal is to link up with the American continent (directly on-topic with this thread  :)):

Quote
New cities and industries could be created from construction of high-speed railway and motorway routes spanning whole of country.
Plans have been unveiled for an ambitious new transport route through Russia with a mega road and high-speed rail network to link Asia with Europe.
At a meeting of the Russian Academy of Science, the head of the Russian Railways Vladimir Yakunin presented the idea for the Trans-Eurasian belt Development (TEPR).
Seen as a powerful and versatile transportation corridor it would join up to other networks and reach from the Atlantic to the Pacific, via the heart of Siberia and the Far East.
The project would see not only a new train network built alongside the Trans-Siberian Railway but the construction of major roads, pipelines for oil and gas, and the laying of facilities for electricity and water supplies.
Mr Yakunin has been engaged in the development of the project with academic Gennady Osipov and the rector of Moscow State University, Viktor Sadovnichy.
During his presentation the head of the Russian Railways said that such a scheme was vital more than ever and would make Russia the new world centre for the creation and development of high-tech industries.
He also said that Western-style globalisation is no longer seen as an incentive but as a hindrance on the economic, scientific, moral and spiritual development of society.
He said: 'This is an inter-state, inter-civilization, project. It should be an alternative to the current (neo-liberal) model, which has caused a systemic crisis. The project should be turned into a world 'future zone', and it must be based on leading, not catching, technologies.'
The project aims to construct the mega transportation route to span the entire length of Russia, and link into existing networks in Europe and Asia. That would create the first ever modern route from the Pacific Ocean in the east to the Atlantic Ocean in the west.
If the idea is successful, it is expected that could create 10 to 15 new industries, new cities and a huge number of new jobs, as well as further development of Siberia and the Far East.
According to Mr Yakunin, TEPR could become the GOELRO of the 21st century, in reference to the large-scale electrification of Russia proposed and implemented by Lenin and Stalin between 1920 and 1935.
Talking about a rough estimate for the costs of the project he said that it will require trillions of dollars, but insisted the economic returns would outweigh these investments.
Viktor Sadovnichy, rector of the Moscow State University, said the network would help the Far East and Siberia feel more in touch with the rest of the world. He said: 'Recently I returned from Khabarovsk, where I met with rectors of universities of the Far East - about 100 of them in total.
'The main problem that we discussed was isolation. Up to 30 per cent of talented young people graduating from schools leave these regions.'
Vladimir Fortov, the Head of the Russian Academy of Science, said the project is 'very ambitious and expensive'.
But he added: 'It will solve many problems in the development of the vast region. It is connected with social programs, and new fields, new energy resources, and so on.
'The idea is that basing on the new technology of high-speed rail transport we can build a new railway near the Trans-Siberian Railway with the opportunity to go to Chukotka and Bering Strait and then to the American continent.'

Is China viewed as a possible trillions-of-dollars money fairy?

The article is accompanied by several rail photos and several photos of the Kolyma Road (a.k.a. "Road of Bones").

edit

With the combination of the remote possibility of a road to the Bering Strait on the Russian side, a polimagistral Bering Strait tunnel (http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=6481.msg146185;topicseen#msg146185), and a feasible road connection on the Alaskan side (http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=8426.msg202489#msg202489), the dream of the ultimate road trip still lives!
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: vdeane on March 24, 2015, 03:22:56 PM
This would equate to over 1200 miles of road in Siberia and over 500 miles in Alaska.  Those numbers would go up the moment terrain (and, on the Alaska side, the locations of towns like Nome) is factored in.  The terrain is also pretty mountainous on both sides.  It would certainly be a fun drive, but cost a LOT of money to build.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: kkt on March 24, 2015, 04:03:49 PM
It doesn't make sense.  If you want cheap transport of tons of stuff, ship is cheaper than rail.  If you're in a hurry, air is faster than rail.  Keeping the railroad open in the winter in Alaska and Siberia would be a heck of a job.  The ports of China and the west coasts of Canada and the U.S. are open year-round with no special effort required.
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: cpzilliacus on June 19, 2015, 05:12:56 PM
Wall Street Journal: China to Design New Russian High-Speed Railway - Russia forced to look east for development knowhow after fallout with West (http://www.wsj.com/articles/china-to-design-new-russian-high-speed-railway-1434729400)

Quote
Russia--China has signed up to design a high-speed railway between the Russian cities of Moscow and Kazan, one of the first concrete examples of the new business with China that Russian officials have been pursuing with renewed vigor since falling out with the West.

Quote
A unit of Russia's state-owned JSC Russian Railways signed a contract Thursday with the design unit of China's state-controlled China Railway Group to come up with the plans for a 770 kilometer high-speed rail between the two Russian cities. The Chinese firm will work alongside two Russian companies for on the designs for a total cost of 20.8 billion rubles ($383 million) over the next two years, according to Russian Railways.

Quote
He said the primary effect of U.S. sanctions on him has been to increase his notoriety. "I got much more interesting," Mr. Yakunin said, explaining that there was no good reason to sanction him. "The motive that he is close to the president--you know, this is funny. That is not serious."

Quote
A former Soviet diplomat in New York, Mr. Yakunin has long espoused a dim view of U.S.-Russian relations. Still, he hasn't ruled out a Russian rail link to the U.S.

Quote
He described Russian Railways' plans to build rail links in Kamchatka, the peninsula in Russia's far east, just across the sea from Alaska. A few years back, a U.S. businessman presented a proposal to build a tunnel under the Bering Strait connecting the rail networks of the two countries, he said.

Quote
"I suppose that's not a next century idea," Mr. Yakunin said. "It will be fulfilled."
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: Grzrd on August 11, 2015, 09:45:24 PM
This August 6 article (http://www.knom.org/wp/blog/2015/08/06/peace-road-rally-comes-to-nome-advocates-for-bering-strait-tunnel/) reports on a recent Peace Road Rally in Nome to promote a Bering Strait tunnel:

Quote
At a restaurant in downtown Nome, diners discussed world peace and international relations over pizza and sushi. The hodgepodge group gathered together for the Peace Road Rally, an event organized to increase interest in a tunnel connecting Russia and the U.S. across the Bering Strait.
Religious leader Reverend Sun Myung Moon proposed a Bering Strait tunnel as a tool for world peace to the United Nations in 2005. To commemorate the tenth anniversary of his address, the Family Federation for World Peace and Unification, a religious organization Reverend Moon was affiliated with, organized a series of rallies across the U.S., including stops in Kodiak and Anchorage, culminating at the edge of the Bering Sea.
Michael Balcomb, current president of the Family Federation, explained his lofty goal and large price tag over lunch with a few local residents and city officials. For Balcomb, the 60-mile tunnel is as much about ideals as it is about economics.
“Peace is always cheaper than war,” Balcomb stressed, “if we can find hundreds of billions of dollars for war, we surely can find hundreds of billions for peace.”
But Balcomb acknowledges that it takes a vision to accomplish such a large project, just like it took a vision to build railways across America. “If we can find a way,” Balcomb said, “the funds will follow.”

Judging by the banner in this snip of a photo accompanying the article, the Family Federation's polimagistral vision for the tunnel includes a bicycle component:

(http://i.imgur.com/ovy2BXK.jpg)
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: Grzrd on November 09, 2016, 11:45:13 AM
This Oct. 26 article (http://www.benzinga.com/pressreleases/16/10/p8602048/russia-suggests-to-us-and-europe-to-use-transport-corridor-via-her-terr) suggests that Donald Trump may discuss the Bering Strait rail tunnel the next time he meets with Putin:

Quote
The head of InterBering, LLC, a company promoting construction of a rail line connecting North America and Asia under the Bering Strait, says the Russian Government is giving consideration to the project and doing feasibility studies, referring to the August 12th report in Moscow Times at https://themoscowtimes.com/news/russia-to-spend-200-billion-on-continent-wide-transportation-system-54967.
Soloview has made several trips to Russia to meet with Russian officials, including those in charge of railway planning ( http://www.interbering.com/Russian-Railways-support-letter.html .) Over the summer he got news that they are considering not only his plan for a Bering Strait tunnel, submitted to the Office of the Russian President on August 1, 2014, but also air trading links and new sea routes taking advantage of the receding polar ice cap ....
He notes that increased trade likewise could provide incentives for improved diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Russia and lift sanctions in exchange for participation. Both candidates seeking the presidency in this country have talked about the need to improve infrastructure and international trade.
The Republican nominee, Donald Trump, also said in an interview on October 17th, that he might meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin before he even makes it into the White House
, reported by CNN at http://www.cnn.com/2016/10/17/politics/donald-trump-vladimir-putin-michael-savage/ .
"I think I could see myself meeting with Putin and meeting with Russia prior to the start of the administration. I think it would be wonderful," Trump told Michael Savage in an interview for his radio show.
"Guess what Trump will be talking with Putin if not about construction of US-Russia railroad over the Bering Strait?"
- questioned Fyodor Soloview ....
Title: Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
Post by: cpzilliacus on November 12, 2016, 07:27:30 PM
The closest point on Russian railroad network is at a place called  Nizhny Bestyakh, about 1,750 mostly roadless miles (and some of it pretty rough-looking terrain) to the Siberian shoreline opposite Nome, Alaska.