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Author Topic: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel  (Read 45294 times)

NE2

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Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
« Reply #25 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.
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mgk920

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Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
« Reply #26 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
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agentsteel53

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Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
« Reply #27 on: May 03, 2012, 01:02:26 PM »

Quote
forvm

?
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mgk920

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Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
« Reply #28 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
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Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
« Reply #29 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".
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Grzrd

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Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
« Reply #30 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 thread)

In the category of you can't believe everything you read on the internet, this Web Urbanist blog 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 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 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.
« Last Edit: June 24, 2012, 11:43:01 AM by Grzrd »
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mgk920

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Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
« Reply #31 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
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NE2

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Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
« Reply #32 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.?
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Grzrd

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Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
« Reply #33 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:
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 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 ...

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kkt

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Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
« Reply #34 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.
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Brandon

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Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
« Reply #35 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.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
« Reply #36 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).
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Road Hog

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Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
« Reply #37 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.
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Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
« Reply #38 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

cpzilliacus

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Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
« Reply #39 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 album (1982), and in particular his "I.G.Y." track (supposedly set in 1957, the 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
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vdeane

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Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
« Reply #40 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.
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Road Hog

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Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
« Reply #41 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 album (1982), and in particular his "I.G.Y." track (supposedly set in 1957, the 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.
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vdeane

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Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
« Reply #42 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?
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NE2

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Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
« Reply #43 on: July 14, 2012, 03:41:31 PM »

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/QE3
MS Queen Elizabeth, third Cunard passenger liner of the name
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english si

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Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
« Reply #44 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').
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Road Hog

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Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
« Reply #45 on: July 14, 2012, 08:39:45 PM »

You're right, I meant the QE2. QE3 is something else in the news.
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Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
« Reply #46 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 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.
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mgk920

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Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
« Reply #47 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 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
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NE2

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Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
« Reply #48 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.
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Re: Bering Strait Rail Tunnel
« Reply #49 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.
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