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China May Build an Undersea Train To America

Soulskill posted about 5 months ago | from the just-drill-through-the-planet's-crust dept.

China 348

New submitter howtokilltime sends this news from the Washington Post: "China is planning to build a train line that would, in theory, connect Beijing to the United States. According to a report in the Beijing Times, citing an expert at the Chinese Academy of Engineering, Chinese officials are considering a route that would start in the country's northeast, thread through eastern Siberia and cross the Bering Strait via a 125-mile long underwater tunnel into Alaska."

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What an idea (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966091)

In the days of terrorists what could go possibly wrong with a 125-mile long underwater tunnel?

Re:What an idea (4, Insightful)

WhiteZook (3647835) | about 5 months ago | (#46966131)

About the same as with a shorter underwater tunnel, such as this one http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... [wikipedia.org]

Re:What an idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966191)

Hello, plate tectonics?

Re:What an idea (5, Funny)

WhiteZook (3647835) | about 5 months ago | (#46966207)

Terrorists use plate tectonics now ?

Re:What an idea (1)

sillybilly (668960) | about 5 months ago | (#46966293)

We should build an underground train near the South Pole, 100 miles away on each side from it, and watch the terrorists show up. They'll be like, where are all the passengers? Why are these trains so empty? Because only morons would build them in the middle of fucking nowhere, like the South Pole, or the Behring Strait.

Re:What an idea (2)

arth1 (260657) | about 5 months ago | (#46966391)

Because only morons would build them in the middle of fucking nowhere, like the South Pole, or the Behring Strait.

I would be careful tossing around words like "moron" if you don't even understand that the location of a route is secondary to the end points.

We send ships across the ocean too, and soon now, the Northwestern Corridor too.

My question is what purpose it would solve. By the time the route is finished, there won't be any way for the US to import anything from China. Food exports from USA to China, perhaps, as an attempt to pay the interest on what is owed?
There's also the minor problem of Mother Russia - they would not want this done for free, or without the US doing things in return. An oil line from Iran through Afghanistan without US intervention and a few other concessions, most likely.

Re:What an idea (1)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 5 months ago | (#46966763)

Russia is interested, at least as much as China. This would massively increase trade between continents. Train freight is far cheaper than shipping. If I remember correctly, they have an offer for several billion USD for any entity that would agree to build such a tunnel.

Re:What an idea (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about 5 months ago | (#46966999)

Russia is interested, at least as much as China.

Yeah i bet they sure are...

This is a really, really dumb idea...sort of like putting your mailbox on a 4000ft tall pole so it can get "air mail" better

Re:What an idea (0)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | about 5 months ago | (#46967097)

Russia is very interested in Alaska. There are even elements within the Russian political scene who would like to 'take back' Alaska from the U.S.

Re:What an idea (1)

mfh (56) | about 5 months ago | (#46966783)

You're joking but a geospecialist could easily hold a government for randsom if they had an earthquake machine [wikipedia.org] .

works just like fracking (1)

globaljustin (574257) | about 5 months ago | (#46967025)

funny how Deep Injections Fracking wells do essentially the same thing as a theoretical earthquake machine

remember the "US Navy Flood Map"?

http://earthshiftx.com/wp-cont... [earthshiftx.com]

Now correlate to where fracking has been alllowed...

Re:What an idea (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966233)

Both sides of the Bering strait are part of the north american plate.

Re:What an idea (1)

stoploss (2842505) | about 5 months ago | (#46966275)

Both sides of the Bering strait are part of the north american plate.

True, but if we're going by plate tectonics then a tunnel from China to northern Japan [livescience.com] could be considered a tunnel to North America as well.

Re:What an idea (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966381)

Are you actually following the thread, or just making random stupid comments?

Re:What an idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966141)

In the minds of..... things that would be possible, but never a reality..

Only a fool would believe in terrorism....

Re:What an idea (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966185)

The days of terrorists? Are you kidding me? Terrorism has always existed. The only way to combat it is to not let it scare or deter us from going about our lives.

The United States already lost a war against terrorism by instituting ridiculous laws, spying and harassment because the government was scared. That is exactly the goal of terrorism.

Planting seeds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966315)

They won because they planted seeds of fear. From the looks of it, those seeds of fear have fully bloomed.

Re:What an idea (0)

ganjadude (952775) | about 5 months ago | (#46966317)

but obama told us terrorism was over!!

Re:What an idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966393)

No. That was Bush. Mission accomplished.
http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/2014/01/bush-mission-accomplished-iraq-thumbsup.jpg

This is Slashdot . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966823)

. . . Where George W. Bush is a hero. You will be modded down.

Re:What an idea (0)

ganjadude (952775) | about 5 months ago | (#46967103)

sigh, the mission accomplished was a gaff in that the mission WAS accomplished, for that ship that he was on. It was a dumb move by any means

on the other hand obama did in fact make a statement saying terrorism is over

Re:What an idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46967009)

Well Bush is out of the Whitehouse!

Re:What an idea (2)

MightyYar (622222) | about 5 months ago | (#46966449)

By what objective standard did the terrorists "win"? Their goal was to eject the US from the Mideast and unite the Muslim world under something like Sharia law. I see no progress on that front.

Re:What an idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966647)

Terrorism is never used as a mean of battling head on, it is used to instil terror into a stronger enemy force, hence the term. The goal wasn't to blow up soldiers, it was to strike at the heart of their enemies, causing fear and uncertainty. Beyond that, terrorists don't have to do anything, the frightened people will take care of the rest.

It's a war of the mind more than anything else and in that respect, the United States lost badly.

The standards (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966689)

If the Americans do not respond, then their fate will be that of the Soviets who fled from Afghanistan to deal with their military defeat, political breakup, ideological downfall, and economic bankruptcy. [theguardian.com]

military defeat: score 0

political breakup: Score 0.5 - our political polarization is damn close to a breakup.

ideological downfall: score 1 - yep conservative, liberal, everyone is disgusted

economic bankruptcy: score 0.5 - came damn close in '08

Well, so far Osama is 2 for 4.

Here's the sad part, we did it to ourselves. All he did was push the right buttons and showed what a stupid people we are.

Everyone who "feels" safer with DHS and our police state is at fault. As well as the actors - like the NSA - they are in Osama's plan.

Everyone who is clinging to political ideology is at fault.

And everyone who is in deep with our consumerist-oil guzzling society is at fault.

Re:What an idea (1)

germansausage (682057) | about 5 months ago | (#46966847)

You just listed the long term goal. The immediate goals of a terrorist act is to cause terror and to provoke a disproportionate reprisal. The reprisals helps further radicalize people and help recruit more members. I think they succeed on all 3 short term goals. As for the long term goals, the war isn't over yet.

title wayyyy misleading (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966107)

The title makes it sound like it would be under water the whole way. Obviously that is wrong

Also, Russia has talked of doing this to move freight for YEARS, so its one of those 'see it to believe it' deals

Yes yes, of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966109)

Right after we build the Hyperloop, send people to Mars and 3D print a house with a car parked in the garage.

Re:Yes yes, of course (5, Informative)

Blaskowicz (634489) | about 5 months ago | (#46966359)

Please, extremely long tunnels already exist such as the one between Hokkaido and Honshu.

Oh, to ALASKA! (5, Insightful)

RevWaldo (1186281) | about 5 months ago | (#46966135)

Not America proper. You had us worried for a minute there, guys.

.

Re:Oh, to ALASKA! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966151)

That's like Russia's backyard anyway, you kids stay off that lawn or you're going to get annexed.

Re:Oh, to ALASKA! (2)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about 5 months ago | (#46966437)

So . . . do the Chinese have the technology to get past Sarah Palin . . . ?

Re:Oh, to ALASKA! (1)

petermgreen (876956) | about 5 months ago | (#46966857)

I would assume their aim would be to keep going through alaska and join up with the main american rail network in canada. Just going to alaska would seem rather pointless.

massive project been discussed for decades (4, Insightful)

confused one (671304) | about 5 months ago | (#46966149)

This project, a bridge tunnel between Alaska and either Russia or China, has been discussed for decades. It would be an awesome idea and a massive undertaking. To date, no one has actually done it because of the easy access to air travel, cheap ocean freight, and the expense of building a 100+ mile bridge in some of the harshest environment known to man.

Rail+ ferry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966173)

It seems like building the railroad to the Berring Straight, and then using a ferry to cross would be the more practical approach. Can you imagine having a train fire half-way between Russia and the Alaska? The evacuation plans would be insane. On the other hand, high-speed rail up to the Straight and then a robust ferry system would be almost certainly cheaper, and would only add a bit of time to the overall route.

Bering Strait (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966187)

Blast my spelling, it's Bering Strait!

Re:Rail+ ferry (4, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 5 months ago | (#46966349)

It seems like building the railroad to the Bering Strait, and then using a ferry to cross would be the more practical approach.

Shipping by sea is cheaper than rail. I you are going to put it on a ferry, then you might as well just put it on a container ship in Shanghai or Tianjin, and ship it by sea to Seattle or Long Beach. Which is exactly what we do now. There is no way that an eight thousand mile railroad, through some of the world's most rugged terrain and harshest weather, can compete with container ships, even without the cost of building the tunnel.

Passengers (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966409)

For freight, you're absolutely right. When "the slow boat from China" is fast enough, cntainer ships are absolutely the most economical approach. For passengers though, a high-speed rail link between continents might make sense. For international business in 2050 it might be economical... although I am not sure how it might compete with the future versions of the Airbus A380 or Boeing 787...

Re:Passengers (2)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 5 months ago | (#46966693)

For passengers though, a high-speed rail link between continents might make sense.

Planes are cheaper than trains for distances over 400 miles. This would be twenty times that far.

Re:Passengers (1)

crimson tsunami (3395179) | about 5 months ago | (#46966969)

But the hard part is untangling the 400 mile extension cord for the electricity when you get to the other end.

Re:Rail+ ferry (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 5 months ago | (#46966537)

All depends on the cost of oil... with cheap oil, the ships win. Trains move cargo for less energy expended per ton-mile, but cost in the infrastructure construction.

Re:Rail+ ferry (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 5 months ago | (#46966771)

Trains move cargo for less energy expended per ton-mile

Citation? All the information I can find says the opposite. For US freight transport, ships use less energy [wikipedia.org] . Large ocean-going container ships should be even more efficient per ton-mile.

Re:Rail+ ferry (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966925)

Hahaha, they won't be using American trains silly.

Re:Rail+ ferry (2)

mozumder (178398) | about 5 months ago | (#46966577)

It takes 6-8 weeks for products to come by ship from China to the US. Airplanes are fast, but cost far too much for commodity products.

This kills many time and price sensitive freight uses, such as food, documents (brochures, magazines, etc..), fast fashion, and so on.

Supply chain management becomes more complicated with ship as well. Ideally you want warehouses right next to factories. Rail can allow for warehouses to be near factories, and transported to customer as needed. But with ship, you need them closer to destinations, since the transportation time from factories in China would be too long.

High-speed rail allows something to be transported from China to the US in a couple of days.

Also, sea isn't more energy efficient than rail. There's a lot less rolling resistance with rail, compared to water resistance with sea freight. The only way sea would be cheaper is via sail instead of diesel engines. Combine sail with drone freight ships and it could compete against rail. The real expense in rail is the initial infrastructure capitalization, but ultimately in the long run (25-100+ years), rail should be cheaper than sea.

Re:Rail+ ferry (2)

Luckyo (1726890) | about 5 months ago | (#46966785)

Not at all. Channel tunnel is over 50km, while Seikan tunnel is at 240m depth.

Engineering problems you're talking about have already been solved.

Re:massive project been discussed for decades (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966237)

This. I can't count how many times I have seen it discussed, TV shows on it and so on.

Of course, a tunnel would get around that problem of harsh weather.
Now the only problem will be the massive job of drilling for months on end.

But then there is, as you mentioned, the issues of cost and paying for it.
What would people rather do, use boats which are already not to pricey, or planes, again, not too pricey, or pay for a probably expensive tunnel that won't be paid off for decades even with a high price? (acceptably high price)
Even though it is China that are doing it, who are seemingly gods at construction.

It would be great to have a direct link, sure, it would open up some great tourism opportunities as well. That may lead to a lower price, but how low can they go.
Hermes would say not as low as his Jamaican butt.

Re:massive project been discussed for decades (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 months ago | (#46966567)

What would people rather do, use boats which are already not to pricey, or planes, again, not too pricey, or pay for a probably expensive tunnel that won't be paid off for decades even with a high price? (acceptably high price)

The tunnel makes a whole lot more sense, especially if they run trains through it. Preferably high-speed trains, but at something less than their maximum speeds. The energy cost of its use is next to nothing, as is the environmental cost of its use. Shipping is heinous.

Older than dirt. (4, Informative)

westlake (615356) | about 5 months ago | (#46966467)

The concept of an overland connection crossing the Bering Strait goes back before the 20th century. William Gilpin, first governor of the Colorado Territory, envisioned a vast ''Cosmopolitan Railway'' in 1890 linking the entire world via a series of railways. Two years later, Joseph Strauss, who went on to design over 400 bridges, including the Golden Gate Bridge, put forward the first proposal for a Bering Strait railroad bridge in his senior thesis. The project was presented to the government of the Russian Empire, but it was rejected.

A syndicate of American railroad magnates proposed in 1904 (via a French spokesman) a Siberian-Alaskan railroad from Cape Prince Wales in Alaska through a tunnel under the Bering Strait and across northeastern Siberia to Irkutsk via Cape Deshnev, Verkhnekolymsk and Yakutsk. The proposal was for a 90-year lease, and exclusive mineral rights for 8 miles (13 km) each side of the right-of-way. It was debated by officials and finally turned down on March 20, 1907.

-----

Aside from the obvious technical challenges of building two 40-kilometre (25 mi) bridges or a more than 80-kilometre (50 mi) tunnel across the strait, another major challenge is that, as of 2011, there is nothing on either side of the Bering Strait to connect the bridge to.

The Russian side, in particular, is severely lacking in infrastructure, without any highways for almost 2,000 kilometres (1,200 mi) (the nearest is M56) and no railroads or paved highways for over 3,200 kilometres (2,000 mi) in any direction from the strait.

On the American side, at least 800 kilometres (500 mi) of highways or railways would have to be constructed in order to connect to the American transport network

Bering Strait crossing [wikipedia.org]

Re:massive project been discussed for decades (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | about 5 months ago | (#46966525)

I've seen the project discussed for decades too, this is the first time the headline overtly states that China would consider paying for it...

Package delivery service (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966169)

World wide, 20 minutes or less?

Good on them. (4, Insightful)

Truth_Quark (219407) | about 5 months ago | (#46966203)

They've got the money and the manpower. Nationalism is the only resource that lack of may stop them. Projects such as these and their moon base plans are money well spent.

Re:Good on them. (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 5 months ago | (#46966255)

Eh the Chinese are hugely nationalistic, what are you talking about. I get the feeling that some people seriously think the country is some kind of communist utopia.

Re:Good on them. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966319)

It's better they build this then those giant empty cities. If it brings revenue to their 'socialist/communist' state... republic, oligarchial welfare state, whatever it is it will benefit people. Also modern marvels of engineering are cool. Regardless of who or what builds them.

I'm not really attacking China's economic model. But I am not sure really what to call it. But this could be a much better thing for a Nation like China to do then what it's been doing.

Re:Good on them. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966875)

Its called State Capitalism [wikipedia.org] .

A nice idea... (1, Offtopic)

Cantankerous Cur (3435207) | about 5 months ago | (#46966229)

but it's just an accident waiting to happen

Over in Boston, they spent a decade on The Big Dig, a 'measly' 3.5 mile underground tunnel to try to deal with their traffic issue. The price tag was roughly 22 billion (when interest is factored in). It had several major lawsuits, mostly notably the epoxy used to hold up the ceiling tiles collapsing literally crushing a driver. In addition, it has some 400 leaks that will steadily destroy the tunnel.

And they want to make a tunnel 36 times longer? Take a country that isn't particularly concerned with safety and a trillion dollar project and tell me cutting corners isn't going to happen.

Re:A nice idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966273)

But China doesn't have politically vested malice directed against it. Quite the contrary.

Re:A nice idea... (1)

Lije Baley (88936) | about 5 months ago | (#46966331)

Check out the new Seattle waterfront tunnel project. It's only 2 miles and currently has no political problems. But it's stuck and racking up the bucks!

Re:A nice idea... (2)

blackest_k (761565) | about 5 months ago | (#46966351)

well perhaps the channel tunnel between England and France is a better comparison.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... [wikipedia.org]

(about 31 miles long) the seikan tunnel in japan is about 33 miles long and deeper. 4 to 5 times longer doesn't seem impossible to engineer.

Re:A nice idea... (2)

don depresor (1152631) | about 5 months ago | (#46966357)

Three words:

Channel Tunnel

Just because some people can't build a decent tunnel doesn't mean no one can do it Right

Re:A nice idea... (2)

don depresor (1152631) | about 5 months ago | (#46966363)

Just noticed that's two words, not three... I was going to call it english channel tunnel then checked the right name...

Re:A nice idea... (1)

SpzToid (869795) | about 5 months ago | (#46966371)

Why is the Boston Big Dig so 'bad'? I ask this honestly, because I don't know much about the big dig at all, and since I know very well in Holland there are many, many tunnels for both rail and cars that are more or less equal to the engineering required in Boston IMHO. Amsterdam for example has 2 or 3 such tunnels for cars, and at least 2 more for trains & subways. And Amsterdam is only a fraction of The soggy below sea-level Netherlands. In my mind, if the Dutch can pull it off handily enough, why can't the Bostonian's do it? Is the underwater engineering soooo different, or is this yet again politics and lowest-cost bidder? Maybe in Boston they have more, difficult rocks to clear. I simply don't know.

FWIW, and I sincerely don't mean to troll, the Amsterdam Ajax football stadium was built for a pittance compared to American stadiums, and how that came about and was financed was sheer genius, and (as I understand) is worthy study for other similar civic projects. disclaimer: linked document comes from The Amsterdam Arena. http://www.amsterdamarena.nl/w... [amsterdamarena.nl]

Re:A nice idea... (3, Interesting)

aitikin (909209) | about 5 months ago | (#46966389)

Why is the Boston Big Dig so 'bad'? I ask this honestly, because I don't know much about the big dig at all, and since I know very well in Holland there are many, many tunnels for both rail and cars that are more or less equal to the engineering required in Boston IMHO.

More or less because it was done in America where the government always goes with the lowest bidder, meaning corners get cut (the epoxy issue) and runs into the fact that, Americans as a whole (albeit less so in the huge metropolitan areas like NYC), actively avoid public transit.

Re:A nice idea... (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about 5 months ago | (#46966493)

In america our public transit is abysmal as in turns a 30 minute car ride into a 15 minute car ride, 2.5 hours on a train and a 10 minute taxi ride. We do idiotic things like turn 2 lanes of highway into 1 lane of high occupancy only and let buses in, so you can not pass and are stuck behind a bus and we lost 25% of the highways caring capacity to do it. Oh and all mass transit goes through Rhode island because the needed two more votes and a couple hours added on wont detract at all.

Re:A nice idea... (2)

rapierian (608068) | about 5 months ago | (#46967075)

Nothing about the big-dig is associated with any "lowest bidders". Speaking as a Bostonian, the project was a massive demonstration of the sort of crony capitalism that runs on Beacon Hill, and especially within the various transportation departments. Massachusetts, for example, spends roughly 7 times per highway dollar as New Hampshire, and yet has far worse roads. It's all about kickbacks to cronies. http://reason.org/studies/show... [reason.org]

Re:A nice idea... (4, Informative)

chrisgeleven (514645) | about 5 months ago | (#46966481)

Personally traveling to and through Boston is a 100x better than it used to be because of the Big Dig. Not to mention it reconnected two parts of the city that the original above ground highway effectively severed from each other, allowing for an insane amount of development in the seaport area since (http://www.bostonmagazine.com/2012/07/rise-seaport-district-boston/). The entire area has been transformed.

Re:A nice idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966697)

The Big Dig cost twice as much as estimated, took twice as long as estimated, made the traffic worse instead of better during its 16 years of construction, and the construction noise kept people up all night.

Re:A nice idea... (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about 5 months ago | (#46966399)

Re 36 times longer is just a question of cash.
A ring build system with computer controlled placement and setting of grout is now better understood.
Grouting can be very well timed via computer controlled additives as needed reducing water ingress issues.
The Qinghai–Tibet Railway had permafrost issues that had to be solved.
It really depends on what rock types they find, if grouting gets too difficult.

Re:A nice idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966457)

The Big Dig, a 'measly' 3.5 mile underground tunnel

Engineering constraints are vastly different building tunnels inside of a major metropolitan area and building tunnels in the middle of freaking nowhere.

Why? (5, Insightful)

man-element (3527915) | about 5 months ago | (#46966281)

Are they building this tunnel to move cargo less efficiently than a cargo ship or to move people less efficiently than an airliner?

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966837)

To ship high value, time sensitive cargo faster than ship but much cheaper than air freight

Deja Vu (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966285)

This was an actual thing on Seaquest DSV.

Though in practicality, the bering straight crossing gets proposed every year by Russia or some other billionaire in Asia-Pacific, but never from the US side.

There are plenty of technical problems but I think the founding problem is that we, as humans, have not mastered the sea, there's no undersea colonies, therefor there is no practical reason to have an undersea transportation network. You think oil spills are a bad idea, and derailments are a fact of life, imagine what would happen if there was a transpacific or transatlantic crossing that was treated exactly the same way. One fuckup and the entire line is destroyed. Ask the cities that have transport tunnels why they haven't built any more. A) Cost, B) in case of fire, die quietly.

lol (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 5 months ago | (#46966321)

This is a ridiculous project and will never get build. There are far cheaper and far more practical ways to get people to and from China/America.

All that being said, if they do waste lots of money building this, I'll be one of the first on it. It sounds like it would be the best train ride on earth!

Re:lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966803)

the best train ride on earth!

Ya, just imagine the view. Simply breathtaking.

Propoganda (1, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | about 5 months ago | (#46966325)

Is there any Chinese propaganda that Slashdot won't breathlessly repeat?

Re:Propoganda (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966491)

Is there any Chinese propaganda that Slashdot won't breathlessly repeat?

Really... Remember that hoax about the "world's biggest dam?" They must take us for complete fools.

Re:Propoganda (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966621)

America is a dying empire whose finest engineering achievements took place over 50 years ago.

Nope (3, Informative)

koan (80826) | about 5 months ago | (#46966339)

Newly compiled Russian and U.S. seismological data support an independent Bering block in motion relative to the North American plate. This motion is likely to be driven by the westward extrusion of southwestern Alaska, resulting from compression in southern Alaska due to subduction of the Pacific plate and terrane accretion. Seismicity extends from central Alaska, through the Bering Strait, and into Chukotka. In eastern Chukotka several southwest trends are evident, some of which continue through the Koryak Highlands to Kamchatka. The seismicity outlines the Bering block, which includes most of the Bering Sea, Chukchi Peninsula, Seward Peninsula, and parts of western Alaska. Focal mechanisms, young basaltic volcanism, and normal faults in western Alaska and Chukotka indicate that the Bering Strait is under northeast-southwest extension. This, in conjunction with thrust faulting in the Koryak Highlands, indicates that the Bering block is rotating clockwise relative to the North American plate.

http://geology.gsapubs.org/con... [gsapubs.org]

Also the Aleutian islands are quite active, that entire area is active.

Ring of Fire. (1)

ewhenn (647989) | about 5 months ago | (#46966343)

Facepalm! Good idea, let's build a tunnel on the sea floor that crosses tectonic plates, what could go wrong? http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media... [bbc.co.uk]

Re:Ring of Fire. (1)

mab (17941) | about 5 months ago | (#46966545)

Both ends of the tunnel would be on the same plate.

A Pipe Dream (1)

Jim Sadler (3430529) | about 5 months ago | (#46966415)

That is one heck of a pipe they are talking about. I won't be using such a tunnel and I'll bet that it would be a financial blunder and practical nightmare. Does any American actually want such a tunnel?

Re:A Pipe Dream (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 5 months ago | (#46966579)

That is one heck of a pipe they are talking about. I won't be using such a tunnel and I'll bet that it would be a financial blunder and practical nightmare. Does any American actually want such a tunnel?

I wouldn't get into it, but I would prefer that my goods come through a tunnel on a train that will have to be running some kind of relatively clean fuel (if not on electricity) by definition given the environment, than on a container ship powered by a diesel engine running on bunker fuel.

I mean, I'd prefer they didn't have to come from China at all, but that's a whole other discussion.

Re:A Pipe Dream (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966587)

Americans just want to watch reality TV and eat themselves to death - obviously an infrastructure project would be of no interest to them.

I have to ask why? (1)

Karmashock (2415832) | about 5 months ago | (#46966439)

Planes are faster, cheaper, and safer for passenger traffic at that distance.

Possibly they want the underwater tunnel for cargo trains? Then you're competing with container ships which are themselves very cheap though possibly not as fast.

The only way a train beats a plane is if the tunnel is a vacuum. And that radically complicates the engineering especially if you're putting it under the ocean.

And that doesn't even address the political problems.

Tensions with china are increasing and then you have this train going through Russian territory which has its own problems.

So... why would we build the train? Yes the chinese are saying they're paying for it. Great. But its going to go through our territory and give the Chinese physical access to the whole route. Why would we give them that for something which appears pointless and doomed?

Re:I have to ask why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966463)

Got any empirical evidence that airplanes are? Especially with the safety of US airplanes which are about as terrible as the worst parts of Africa, you're safer to take rubber motor boat across the ocean...

Right, no proof....

Re:I have to ask why? (1)

CohibaVancouver (864662) | about 5 months ago | (#46966513)

Planes are faster, cheaper, and safer for passenger traffic at that distance.

As fossil fuels become more and more expensive, the price of air travel is going to go up. Way up.

Makes sense to being looking at other options today, assuming they'd roll out in 50 - 75 years.

Re:I have to ask why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966573)

So are you suggesting that nuclear will generate electricity for this train? Solar? Or will it be coal at a chinese fired plant?

Re:I have to ask why? (1)

crimson tsunami (3395179) | about 5 months ago | (#46967061)

When the oil is gone, a coal fired train is just a little more practical than a coal fired plane...

Re:I have to ask why? (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 5 months ago | (#46966873)

Planes are cheaper?
This place really has gone downhill. People used to be careful not to expose their lack of a high school education but now it just does not seem to matter.

Stops at Alaska (1)

ZombieBraintrust (1685608) | about 5 months ago | (#46966455)

What is the point of a passenger train to Alaska? There is not even a pasenger train from LA to Anchorage. From what I have seen there is only bus/plane/ferry travel from USA to Alaska.

Shortsighted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966465)

Earthquake = non-project

No Thanks (1)

Ritz_Just_Ritz (883997) | about 5 months ago | (#46966477)

I rather like the status quo where they need a usable navy to get to resources that they will eventually want to take by force. They're about out of fresh water and other key resources aren't far behind.

And then what? (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | about 5 months ago | (#46966501)

This faces the same problem that a cross-Bering rail connection would have: "And then what?" Alaska doesn't have a particularly robust rail network (the tunnel would have to go all the way to Anchorage), and what it does have doesn't leave the state; there are no connections to Canada, let alone to the 48.

Anyone or anything that arrives by tunnel would immediately have to get onto a truck, bus, ship or plane. Unless China sees that much of an untapped market in Anchorage and Fairbanks.

expansionism (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966615)

This would provide Asia more access to Alaska than most US citizens in the lower 48. Alaska is not for sale!

Under the sea floor or on it? (1)

swb (14022) | about 5 months ago | (#46966645)

Could they build a tunnel as a long conduit on the sea floor, perhaps giving it some flexibility to deal with the seismic activity in that area?

Chinese quality! (1)

tcheleao (171167) | about 5 months ago | (#46966717)

With well known, Chinese workmanship quality!
I wonder who, in a good mental health,
would ride in this train, bellow the ocean....
I don't.!!!!!!

Re:Chinese quality! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46967093)

What's America's high speed rail network like?

Makes little sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966795)

This makes little or no sense. Ship transport is many times cheaper than trains and, given how awful the weather can be up Alaska way, any time savings would not be reliable. It makes even less sense with the enlarged locks for the Panama Canal.

Learn from history for once! (1)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about 5 months ago | (#46966953)

The last time we had a bridge up there, the USA was invaded by Siberians! Come on, Americans, get your heads out of your butts and fight back!

TaQco (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#46966995)

In a head 5pinning
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