This is something that one is rather surprised has not received more notice – other than a mention in The Times (behind paywall), and of course my tweet a little while ago, inspired by a piece in the Polish paper Rzeczpospolita. Sarah Palin, rejoice! Not only can you see Russia from Alaska, in a few years’ time you’ll also be able to ship stuff there directly, as there’s going to be a 100km-long railroad tunnel built across/under the Bering Strait. This is from a recent piece in the Dutch paper De Volkskrant.
That’s the result of a conference that took place last week in Yakutsk, the middle-of-nowhere capital of the biggest chunk of Siberia, one that was attended by representatives of the US and Russian governments, but also the Chinese and the British. The total cost is calculated at €68 billion, of which the US and Russian governments will each cover 25% and investors and international financial institutions the rest. It will take between 10 and 15 years to build.
This is in line with the Russian plans to substantially broaden railroad coverage within Siberia, with a view towards further developing that region’s economic potential (and perhaps thus not leave it so devoid of people, and so such a temptation to Chinese encroachment). This mega-project will also (eventually) enable someone to travel from, say, London to Washington exclusively overland, by train – taking the long way eastward through much of the EurAsian continent!