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Russia Backs Us Tunnel Link Via Bering Strait

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http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-15387714

Russian officials have backed the idea of a rail tunnel linking Russia and the US.

It would run under the Bering Strait for 105km (65 miles) - twice the length of the UK-France Channel Tunnel.

The tunnel itself has been estimated to cost $10-12bn and to take 10-15 years to build.

But an additional 4,000km (2,485 miles) of new track would be needed to link it to Russia's rail network, plus another 2,000km (1,243 miles) to connect to existing services on the US side.

It would be good for China to pump even more of their wares into North & South America...

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Not sure that I see the point of it.

The tunnel itself is trivial, compared to the 6,000km of track required. And it won't help ship goods from China to North America - over that kind of distance, a container ship would surely be a lot cheaper? And you'd avoid the hassle of moving the containers over from Russian wagons (broad gauge) to US wagons (standard gauge).

Or am I missing something?

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Not sure that I see the point of it.

The tunnel itself is trivial, compared to the 6,000km of track required. ...

Or am I missing something?

You are missing a basic knowledge of engineering. The tunnel part of the project will be significantly more costly and complex than a few thousand kms of surface track most of it in a largely empty wilderness

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You are missing a basic knowledge of engineering. The tunnel part of the project will be significantly more costly and complex than a few thousand kms of surface track most of it in a largely empty wilderness

Of course, if the railway were in the UK he would probably be right.

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And you'd avoid the hassle of moving the containers over from Russian wagons (broad gauge) to US wagons (standard gauge).

Or am I missing something?

indeed - interesting

other thing - there aren't any commercial flights AT ALL from East of Russia to Alaska, doing that trip involves going the wrong way round the world

so I am not sure there is any practical demand

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I think it's more likely they'd build a second Channel Tunnel, before embarking on something like this.

The change of gauge isn't actually that big a problem. The Spanish have put in a solution on services that cross between the new high speed lines and the existing slower lines.

But the chances of building the US-Russia link? Close to zero I would think.

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other thing - there aren't any commercial flights AT ALL from East of Russia to Alaska, doing that trip involves going the wrong way round the world

The two bits of land either side of the strait are probably among the most sparsely populated, hostile-climated and least conducive to supporting life in the entire world, and so I'm guessing that there's just no demand. And as others have pointed out, building the tunnel would be the comparatively easy bit (especially as there's an island at about the mid point in the Baring Sea): building the road and/or rail links to and from it on either side would not. There aren't even any roads from the nearest major centre of population in AK (Fairbanks, where my fiancee lives and I visit frequently) and the only coastal town of any significance that would be an obvious terminal point (Kotzebue = population around 200 I'd guess). Everything goes in and out by air. Blasting and tunnelling through the mountains needed to build one would probably cost as much if not more than the tunnel, I'd guess. However, once you've got a road to Fairbanks, the Alaska and Haines Highways will connect you from there to pretty much anywhere. But it's often closed for long stretches in winter (under ice and impassable), and would need a lot of upgrading to be able to handle large numbers of big lorries.

On the Russian side, there are only two settlements within a thousand miles - Egvekinot and Mys Shmidta, both of which are at least 200 miles from the nearest coastal point. My best guess would be that you'd need to build at least 1,000 miles of road or rail to link the coast with the rest of Russia's land transport infrastructure. I can't see there ever being an economic justification for that level of spending, given that any persons or goods that you could possibly want to transport can make the journey by air and/or sea much, much cheaper.

Still, if they did build a tunnel, then not only could Sarah Palin see Russia from her backyard, but she could also walk there!

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The two bits of land either side of the strait are probably among the most sparsely populated, hostile-climated and least conducive to supporting life in the entire world, and so I'm guessing that there's just no demand. And as others have pointed out, building the tunnel would be the comparatively easy bit (especially as there's an island at about the mid point in the Baring Sea): building the road and/or rail links to and from it on either side would not. There aren't even any roads from the nearest major centre of population in AK (Fairbanks, where my fiancee lives and I visit frequently) and the only coastal town of any significance that would be an obvious terminal point (Kotzebue = population around 200 I'd guess). Everything goes in and out by air. Blasting and tunnelling through the mountains needed to build one would probably cost as much if not more than the tunnel, I'd guess. However, once you've got a road to Fairbanks, the Alaska and Haines Highways will connect you from there to pretty much anywhere. But it's often closed for long stretches in winter (under ice and impassable), and would need a lot of upgrading to be able to handle large numbers of big lorries.

On the Russian side, there are only two settlements within a thousand miles - Egvekinot and Mys Shmidta, both of which are at least 200 miles from the nearest coastal point. My best guess would be that you'd need to build at least 1,000 miles of road or rail to link the coast with the rest of Russia's land transport infrastructure. I can't see there ever being an economic justification for that level of spending, given that any persons or goods that you could possibly want to transport can make the journey by air and/or sea much, much cheaper.

Still, if they did build a tunnel, then not only could Sarah Palin see Russia from her backyard, but she could also walk there!

I did a brief search and I could not find any rail links from Alaska to Canada or the rest of the USA.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alaska_Railroad

In fact the main Alaskan railway runs from the interior to the coast so one assumes most of the goods travelling on it end up getting shipped out by sea. Given that fact why not do the whole journey from Asia to the America by boat.

BTW geologically this is a very active part of the world surface with many volcanoes and a history of magnitude 8 plus earthquakes which would all add to the engineering costs.

Edited by stormymonday_2011

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The two bits of land either side of the strait are probably among the most sparsely populated, hostile-climated and least conducive to supporting life in the entire world, and so I'm guessing that there's just no demand. And as others have pointed out, building the tunnel would be the comparatively easy bit (especially as there's an island at about the mid point in the Baring Sea): building the road and/or rail links to and from it on either side would not. There aren't even any roads from the nearest major centre of population in AK (Fairbanks, where my fiancee lives and I visit frequently) and the only coastal town of any significance that would be an obvious terminal point (Kotzebue = population around 200 I'd guess). Everything goes in and out by air. Blasting and tunnelling through the mountains needed to build one would probably cost as much if not more than the tunnel, I'd guess. However, once you've got a road to Fairbanks, the Alaska and Haines Highways will connect you from there to pretty much anywhere. But it's often closed for long stretches in winter (under ice and impassable), and would need a lot of upgrading to be able to handle large numbers of big lorries.

On the Russian side, there are only two settlements within a thousand miles - Egvekinot and Mys Shmidta, both of which are at least 200 miles from the nearest coastal point. My best guess would be that you'd need to build at least 1,000 miles of road or rail to link the coast with the rest of Russia's land transport infrastructure. I can't see there ever being an economic justification for that level of spending, given that any persons or goods that you could possibly want to transport can make the journey by air and/or sea much, much cheaper.

Still, if they did build a tunnel, then not only could Sarah Palin see Russia from her backyard, but she could also walk there!

http://www.worldarchitecturenews.com/index.php?fuseaction=wanappln.projectview&upload_id=17317

Experts forecast that the completed service could carry 3% of the world's freight and earn £7billion GBP per year. Engineers have said the project could reach break-even in seven years.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/article-2028891/East-West-rail-link-step-closer-Russia-approves-60bn-Bering-Strait-tunnel.html

article-2028830-0D878FC300000578-981_634x408.jpg

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Engineers have said the project could reach break-even in seven years.

I'm not sure I'd believe an accountant or economist who claimed this. What is meant by "break even". Operating costs met by earnings? What about the building costs? I just don't see the US being able to afford such a large outlay. anytime soon.

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I'm not sure I'd believe an accountant or economist who claimed this. What is meant by "break even". Operating costs met by earnings? What about the building costs? I just don't see the US being able to afford such a large outlay. anytime soon.

Add in the slight complication that the last time a railway link from Alaska to the main USA was mooted it appears the Canadians were in no rush to approve it.

Edited by stormymonday_2011

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BTW geologically this is a very active part of the world surface with many volcanoes and a history of magnitude 8 plus earthquakes which would all add to the engineering costs.

My first thought on reading this was how stable is the area to build a tunnel.

Although if it could be done it could certainly shift a lot of freight between the US and Europe.

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I did a brief search and I could not find any rail links from Alaska to Canada or the rest of the USA.

http://en.wikipedia....Alaska_Railroad

In fact the main Alaskan railway runs from the interior to the coast so one assumes most of the goods travelling on it end up getting shipped out by sea. Given that fact why not do the whole journey from Asia to the America by boat.

It goes from Fairbanks-Anchorage-Seward and as far as I can tell only really carries tourist trains. I wasn't even thinking that railways would be in the ballpark for any land link from the tunnel, but was assuming that it would all be by road. I suppose rail might make more sense on the Russian side.

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It goes from Fairbanks-Anchorage-Seward and as far as I can tell only really carries tourist trains. I wasn't even thinking that railways would be in the ballpark for any land link from the tunnel, but was assuming that it would all be by road. I suppose rail might make more sense on the Russian side.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/08/24/siberia_alaska_tunnel/

It does seem to be a rail link only. I suspect it would be a lot more than $100bn if it did happen... Anyone know what's happening with the Strait of Gibraltar bridge? Has that died a death?

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You are missing a basic knowledge of engineering. The tunnel part of the project will be significantly more costly and complex than a few thousand kms of surface track most of it in a largely empty wilderness

And you seem to be lacking a basic knowledge of the terrain. Building railways on permafrost is a bit more involved than laying tracks across the American prairie.

2005_permafrost_copper.jpg

Respectfully, etc :P

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The change of gauge isn't actually that big a problem. The Spanish have put in a solution on services that cross between the new high speed lines and the existing slower lines.

Lucky the Nazis didn't think of that or the Russians would probably all be speaking German.

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You are missing a basic knowledge of engineering. The tunnel part of the project will be significantly more costly and complex than a few thousand kms of surface track most of it in a largely empty wilderness

It's a big backyard, but you can bet for sure, it's someone's backyard.

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You are missing a basic knowledge of engineering. The tunnel part of the project will be significantly more costly and complex than a few thousand kms of surface track most of it in a largely empty wilderness

Starting from end of 1940s, Russian tried both the tunnel, albeit a smaller and shorter one, and far more to the south from Bering Strait - from mainland to Sakhalin island; and railway around Siberia' Polar circle (famous 501 Railway).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sakhalin_Tunnel

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salekhard-Igarka_Railway

The 1940s technology is not a match to 2010s, but labor was abundant and dirt cheap. Nevertheless, both projects were abandoned after Stalin' death and never completed.

On the topic of "largely empty wilderness" - on Russia' side, there are some big rivers like Kolyma and Indigirka to bridge and far more mountain ridges to pierce with tunnels.

And in Arctic conditions, that would require lots of time and investment.

The only tunnel which operates in similar conditions, is far more to the south

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Severomuysky_Tunnel

It's construction lasted 25 years. It also has special gates which open only when train passes, to prevent freezing of the tunnel's interior.

To sum it all up, the investment required is immense and economic benefit is not obvious.

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BTW geologically this is a very active part of the world surface with many volcanoes and a history of magnitude 8 plus earthquakes which would all add to the engineering costs.

Exactly. It crosses a plate boundary!

Engineering might be able to deal satisfactorily with the distance and the harsh climate. But crossing between tectonic plates in a tunnel sounds truly scary!

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Exactly. It crosses a plate boundary!

Engineering might be able to deal satisfactorily with the distance and the harsh climate. But crossing between tectonic plates in a tunnel sounds truly scary!

Not sure it does - at least not the Alaska- Siberia tunnel route? All part of the North American plate?

800px-Plates_tect2_en.svg.png

Edited by Trampa501

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  • 285 Brexit, House prices and Summer 2020

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