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Transportation United States Technology

Russia Approves Siberia-Alaska Railway 449

Posted by Soulskill
from the just-keep-the-bears-off-it dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In what could easily be one of the boldest infrastructure developments ever announced, the Russian Government has given the go-ahead to build a transcontinental railway linking Siberia with North America. The massive undertaking would traverse the Bering Strait with the world's longest tunnel – a project twice the length of the Chunnel between England and France. The project aims to feed North America with raw goods from the Siberian interior and beyond, but it could also provide a key link to developing a robust renewable energy transmission corridor that feeds wind and tidal power across vast distances while linking a railway network across 3/4 of the Northern Hemisphere."
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Russia Approves Siberia-Alaska Railway

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  • But what... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MischaNix (2163648) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @06:41PM (#37185050)
    do I watch instead of Ice Road Truckers?
  • by Penguinisto (415985) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @06:45PM (#37185096) Journal

    Didn't the Discovery Channel have an Extreme Engineering episode covering such a thing, like, 10 years ago?

    If that's the case, I cannot frickin' wait to see the mile-high tower/city complex in Tokyo.

    One question, though... who the hell is footing the bill for this thing, and what is the expected ROI timeline?

    • by hedwards (940851)

      This is an easier project, assuming that they choose a sensible design. The main issue is going to be cost, but if they're able to do it for $65bn then they shouldn't have too much trouble paying it back over time. Between freight and passengers I'd be shocked if in the long run it didn't end up paying for itself.

      • by baegucb (18706)

        A sensible design should also consider earthquake safety. I'm not sure if that's possible.

      • by billstewart (78916) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @07:31PM (#37185528) Journal

        California's high-speed rail project didn't involve any radical engineering like building a tunnel under the Bering Straits or building railroads across frozen parts of Alaska, just a simple system upgrade from San Francisco to Los Angeles and San Diego along existing rights of way, and the price has already gone from the $30B low-ball price sold to the voters ($10B in bonds and $20B in magic money falling from the sky) to somewhere around $40-50B.

        There are other differences - it's possible that this is being proposed for the purposes of actually building a railroad and shipping goods on it rather than for spending money and paying off every rich community along the way, by I'm skeptical about claims that you can build a tunnel under the Bering Straits for less than you can build a surface railroad from LA to Bakersfield, or that Russian corruption is any less than the polite Californian version.

        • by CajunArson (465943) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @07:40PM (#37185606) Journal

          California --> There's your problem right there.

        • by icebike (68054)

          I seriously doubt 65 Billion, or any single digit multiple of that number.

          Building anything in the that part of the world is very costly. Supply in the Straights is limited to summer months only.

          So lets assume the costs are closer to $650 Billion, a mere factor of 10. The US isn't in a position to afford event half that at the current time, so that means financing over decades, adding dramatically to that cost.

          Then you have to consider that neither the US or Russia have any rail connections to that area.

          • Suddenly container ships look dirt cheap.

            Container ships are dirt cheap compared to rail, about 3x more efficient. Compounded by the fact , like you say, where rail exists.
            Cool idea and all, but i'm not seeing it.

            • The real reason why the Russians want to build this is to funnel troops and supplies through it, so they can RED DAWN our asses. And this time Charlie Sheen and Patrick Swayze are in no shape to save us...
            • by tftp (111690) on Wednesday August 24, 2011 @03:18AM (#37188434) Homepage

              Container ships are dirt cheap compared to rail, about 3x more efficient.

              Seems like Wikipedia doesn't agree [wikimedia.org] with you. In the USA railroad burns 341 BTU/(ton*mile) whereas a ship burns 510 BTU/(ton*mile).

              But there are other advantages of railroads. First, railroads are largely weather-independent, but ships aren't. Northern seas also tend to freeze, but the cold air doesn't affect the railroad much.

              Second, a railroad can be powered by electric energy - from a hydro plant or from a nuclear plant or from any number of renewable sources. This means it's future-proof. Most ships burn dinosaurs, and the supply of those is limited (not even counting the CO(2) release into the atmosphere.)

              Third, a railroad is a low-tech project. Very few things can break, and when they sometimes do it's easy to repair. On the other hand, if a container ship loses power in the ocean, it's bad news.

              Fourth, a railroad is a cheap thing to use. Sure, you need to spend some coin on laying the tracks. But once it's done your trains are cheap and the crew of each train is just a couple of guys, compared to tens of sailors that are required to maintain the ship. And don't even compare a train - which is a simple welding job, mostly - to the capital expense of a container ship.

              Fifth, a train can move much faster than a ship. Water is viscous, as any swimmer will tell. Wheels have very little rolling resistance, so a relatively small engine can pull a very long and heavy train.

              Sixth, trains are packet-switched networks. You can load a railcar at your factory and it will be routed to the destination. Your content on the car will not be disturbed. Ships require packing in sea containers, which is not convenient or even possible for many types of loads, thus requiring special ships to carry liquids, gases, ores, fruits etc. In a train all you need is a special car; the train doesn't care what your car is doing, as long as it can be hitched. A ship requires loading and unloading which ain't free.

              I'm sure there are many other advantages and disadvantages, but your "3x cheaper" argument doesn't fly, unless you can cite something at least as reliable as Wikipedia.

              • a ship burns 510 BTU/(ton*mile).

                That's for domestic shipping.
                For the Emma Maersk, I get 4.5 BTU/ton mile (130 kBTU per gallon, 1660 gal/h to propel 156 ktons of freight at 30 mph)

                Sixth, trains are packet-switched networks. You can load a railcar at your factory and it will be routed to the destination. Your content on the car will not be disturbed. Ships require packing in sea containers, which is not convenient or even possible for many types of loads, thus requiring special ships to carry liquids, gases, ores, fruits etc. In a train all you need is a special car; the train doesn't care what your car is doing, as long as it can be hitched. A ship requires loading and unloading which ain't free.

                Your argument is flawed. The worldwide container network is packet-switched as much as trains are, and is more flexible because it uses rail, road and water links.
                Containers that carry liquids, gases, or refrigerated goods all exist. When you're talking about huge volumes, you need either special ships (oil tanker, gas tanker, bulk carrier) or special rail cars.
                B

              • by drinkypoo (153816)

                railroads are largely weather-independent, but ships aren't.

                That's true where you have flat land to work with. Getting the goods TO the tunnel might be an issue. The benefit of rail really becomes the ability to spend the money once, developing the rail bed, and then having that to work with as a resource thereafter. But where the route is steep (which for freight might only be a few points) you get into traction problems in icy conditions. That does, of course, beat having to follow a nuclear powered ice breaker around.

                a railroad is a low-tech project. Very few things can break, and when they sometimes do it's easy to repair. On the other hand, if a container ship loses power in the ocean, it's bad news.

                Both have opportunity for failure. Container s

        • Ahh yes, that fanciful high speed rail project .... they first predicted it would break even, operationally, with 90M passengers a year. That's 250K passengers a day. If the average train carries 1000 passengers, that's 250 trains. That's ten an hour, six minutes apart. And that all presupposes that those 90M passengers are evenly distributed throughout the day and week and year. It also assumes there's some reason for people to take 3 hours to travel between the two cities instead of the one hour for

    • by TheSync (5291)

      "If that's the case, I cannot frickin' wait to see the mile-high tower/city complex in Tokyo."

      How about Kingdom Tower [wikipedia.org] coming to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia? (OK, now scaled down to 2/3 of a mile).

  • I thought they were more broke than we are (perhaps it is indeed the other way around for USA, USSR went broke after nearly 10 years in Afghanistan). This railway looks like a interesting challenge in civil engineering and in some ways, I'd like to see it built. Hope this is not a bunch grandstanding and PPT documents. Disclaimer: I did not RTFA.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Hatta (162192)

      Increasing trade grows the economy and increases revenue. You really do have to spend money to make money.

    • An actual direct-rail transport corridor from East Asia to the Americas would pay for itself. It would be costly up front, but as a transport corridor it would basically be akin to how opening up the North American frontier to rail created a whole series of economic opportunities.

    • by gatkinso (15975)

      They discovered a bunch of oil and are rich now.

      Well, a few Russians are rich.

    • Russia exports oil, US imports oil. Sky high oil prices (courtesy of peak oil) mean lots of money coming in to pay for this. As for selling the oil to china, that's the point. Selling Alaska oil to china will pay more once the US defaults.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      I thought they were more broke than we are

      Russian external public debt is 3% of the country's GDP - in fact, it's one of the countries with the lowest [wikipedia.org] corresponding ratio in the world. And it has a fair bit of money in absolute measures, mostly from trade of abundant natural resources such as oil and gas.

    • by jcr (53032)

      I thought they were more broke than we are

      Nobody in the world is more broke than we are. The USA is deeper in the hole than any country has ever been in history.

      -jcr

  • by StefanJ (88986) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @06:46PM (#37185108) Homepage Journal

    . . . to see bearded guys in furs hanging around in Penn Station, waiting for the track announcement for the train to Moscow (first stop Secaucus Junction, of course).

    • by TWX (665546) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @07:21PM (#37185426)

      On a serious note, the Standard Gauge of 4 ft 8 12 in that North America uses is narrower than the old Soviet 4 ft 11 56 in gauge in Russia and many of the former Soviet bloc states. Negotiations between the US, Russia, and Canada to a lesser extent would have to happen to determine which gauge would be used, or if an attempt for dual-gauge (probably requiring four rails due to the closeness of the two gauges) would be made. It would potentially be an option to use bogies capable of being adjusted between the two gauges as well.

      It would be pretty kick ass to be able to take the train all of the way from Boston to London, by way of Canada, the US, Russia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Germany, Belgium, and France...

      • by Mathieu Lutfy (69)

        If you take the train from an Eastern European country to Russia, they usually make you switch trains. It's not a big hassle.

        Besides, trains in Russia need a samovar, and the US would probably find a way to consider that too dangerous for passengers :)

      • by jcr (53032)

        You only need three rails to support two gauges.

        -jcr

      • Unless Google lied to me, I don't think the Alaskan railway system hooks up with the rest of the US. Since the cargo will have to be put on trucks or ships to get it to the lower 48 they might as well keep it Soviet gauge across the strait.

  • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @06:50PM (#37185152)

    #1 It involves Russia. There are too many people who will be worried about pinko-commies invading the American Heartland.
    #2 it involves rail. Yes, freight-rail primarily, which has some presence in the US. But there's no way that the US will build the kind of rail network that will link a tunnel on the far-western side of Alaska with the rest of the US in order to import Russian goods.
    #3 It will cost money. Considering that our lovely congress-critters are willing to blow up the US over money that has already been spent on previously approved projects, I can't see how the US government will spend even a penny on this completely pie-in-the-sky project.
    #4 It requires significant infrastructure projects in Alaska to link a tunnel ending at an uninhabited point in Alaska with places that can actually use all the stuff coming through. Not gonna happen, for the reasons listed above.

    Nice dream, but not gonna happen. Even (I would say especially) if Russia funds the entire cost of the tunnel.

    • by mozumder (178398)

      The libertarian/conservative philosophy is dying off. Everyone's going Big Government with Big Spending Projects these days.

      Meanwhile, the REAL reason it's going to happen is because import businesses want it. I actually import goods from China/India, and it takes weeks to deliver. Eliminating this shipping time is absolutely key in a competitive environment.

      The days of "Hard-Working-Corporations-Can-Solve-All-Our-Problems" are over.

      It is now time for government to solve all our problems.

      • by 0123456 (636235)

        The libertarian/conservative philosophy is dying off. Everyone's going Big Government with Big Spending Projects these days.

        Kind of hard when you don't have the Big Money to spend.

    • But it wouldn't just be Russian markets opening up. It would be opening up East Asia entirely. I wouldn't be surprised at the end of the day if you didn't see China throwing money at something like this.

      • by JAlexoi (1085785)
        I think ships still are a better alternative for China-US link. Although the rail link could have higher speeds at lower cost. In addition, trains can be powered by renewable energy(I believe ships are less likely to be powered by renewable energy).
    • Look, a jobs program!

      And paid for by someone else!

    • by Dyinobal (1427207)
      #1 The nineteen fifties called it would like it's pinko commies back. Seriously talk to any I know and all they really think about when you say Russia is hot mail order brides and vodka. Which you could get over rail if this tunnel works out. #2 How much new rail would actually have to be constructed though? #3 It's gonna cost less than all these stupid wars, I plan to write congress if this doesn't get the green light. How ever I'm not sure who is mainly paying for this it says it's a mix of public and p
      • by mozumder (178398)

        I plan to write congress if this doesn't get the green light.

        Every corporation in America is going to want this, from individual importers/exporters to Wal Mart.

        This is inevitable due to globalization.

        • Not just every major importer/exporter in the Americas, you'll have manufacturers in Asia salivating over the thought of a rail route. Besides, it would just be way cool to buy a train ticket from, say, New York to Beijing.

    • #1 It involves jobs during an recession, #2 Alaska has oil money to pay for this. #3 Greedy Americans can be shown pictures of all the valuable things they can buy/sell, and it's just down the road from here. #4 You can offshore the remains of your economy to Russia. #5 A rail line will make it cheaper to bring in Chinese than Mexicans.
      • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @08:38PM (#37186076) Homepage

        #1 It involves jobs during an recession

        A couple thousand, true enough

        #2 Alaska has oil money to pay for this.

        Not a chance. Although Alaska is doing "OK" from the oil money we get, it is dwindling rapidly and everyone knows it. Alaska can't even afford to push a gas pipeline down to the lower 48 to sell off all of the neato natural gas we have. The economics of nat gas have gotten so bad that we've shut down the LNG facility that shipped it to Asia.

        #3 Greedy Americans can be shown pictures of all the valuable things they can buy/sell, and it's just down the road from here.

        "Just down the road"??? Look at a map of Alaska. Look at the distance from Alaska to anywhere else. One hella road.

        #4 You can offshore the remains of your economy to Russia.

        ?

        #5 A rail line will make it cheaper to bring in Chinese than Mexicans.

        Perhaps disaffected Siberians, but it's not going to be cheaper than bulk freighters.

    • by Hadlock (143607)

      #3 It will cost money.

      Besides the fact that this news is breaking on slashdot (which should be a huge red flag), I would suspect the chinese (and a huge chunk of Asia) would be willing to bankroll this, especially if it was designed so that they could ship 300' wind power blades through the tunnel. This would be like the Alameda-Weehawken Burrito Tunnel, except on a grander scale: http://www.idlewords.com/2007/04/the_alameda-weehawken_burrito_tunnel.htm [idlewords.com]

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by slater.jay (1839748)
      #4.5 It requires massive, incredible infrastructure projects in Russia. The nearest *paved road* to the Bering Strait is 1200 miles away. The nearest rail head is 2000 miles away.
    • #1 It involves Russia. There are too many people who will be worried about pinko-commies invading the American Heartland.

      Uh, 21st Century, Dude. The Cold War is over. Also, for them rooskies to invade the American Heartland, they have to go through this country called "Canada." You may have heard of it: second largest land mass, first nation of hockey, best part of North America? Yeah, that place. Pretty big buffer before you get to the "American Heartland."

      #2 it involves rail. Yes, freight-rail primarily, which has some presence in the US. But there's no way that the US will build the kind of rail network that will link a tunnel on the far-western side of Alaska with the rest of the US in order to import Russian goods.

      There are rail networks in Alaska already, including a 2000km railroad which connects Prince of Wales (where they're planning one end of the tunnel) to Fort Nelson i

      • Uh, 21st Century, Dude. The Cold War is over.

        Maybe. However, reality seems to be strangely absent from the current discussion climate in the US. Considering who is being called a socialist, communist, marxist, etc, and the idiocy around immigration, I fully expect to hear that the Russians will use that tunnel to invade the good ol' USA.

        There are rail networks in Alaska already, including a 2000km railroad which connects Prince of Wales (where they're planning one end of the tunnel) to Fort Nelson in Canada

        Can the railroad handle a significant increase in traffic that comes from all of East Asia and wants to reach all of North America? Pretty sure not.

        Hm...Let's see...an oil pipeline that goes from Alaska to Siberia and links with other oil pipelines could transport oil to places like China. But it's not like the oil companies have any sway with Congress...

        This is going to cost far, far more than the estimated $65Billion. Eve

    • by ShakaUVM (157947)

      The biggest problem is that Alaska has no real rail infrastructure. There's a line between Anchorage and Fairbanks, and one between Skagway and the Yukon (which connects to the road network in Canada but otherwise goes nowhere), at http://www.wpyr.com/ [wpyr.com]

      Mainly, Alaskans use ferries and planes to get around. There's a limited network of roads, but nothing capable of shipping large amounts of raw materials in from Siberia. The Army tried building up a lot of the infrastructure in WWII, and while a fair amount g

    • by antifoidulus (807088) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @08:37PM (#37186070) Homepage Journal
      #2 it involves rail. Yes, freight-rail primarily, which has some presence in the US. But there's no way that the US will build the kind of rail network that will link a tunnel on the far-western side of Alaska with the rest of the US in order to import Russian goods.

      You best be checking your facts there. Freight rail has more than "some" presence in the US, the US probably has the worlds most advanced freight rail system in the WORLD. From 'kipedia [wikipedia.org]

      In the 1950s, the U.S. and Europe moved roughly the same percentage of freight by rail; but, by 2000, the share of U.S. rail freight was 38% while in Europe only 8% of freight traveled by rail.

      Its because of the US freight rail system that you can buy cheap Chinese goods in New York, shipping them by truck would cost considerably more. Not even worth reading the rest of your post, you obviously have NO idea what you are talking about.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Solandri (704621)

        Freight rail has more than "some" presence in the US, the US probably has the worlds most advanced freight rail system in the WORLD.

        True, but the fly in the ointment for this idea is that transporting cargo by container ship is about 1/3rd the cost of rail per ton-mile. It's cheaper to load the freight into containers in Russia, transport those containers through Siberia to the Pacific via rail, and load it onto a cargo ship for the trip to the U.S. West coast.

      • by wvmarle (1070040)
        China to New York usually goes all the way by ship (via the Panama channel). Takes longer but much cheaper than unloading in Long Beach and then by rail across the continent. New York still has a sizable port.
  • The cold war truly is over. I wonder how long until the US and Russia have a relationship like Britain and France.

    Also: In Post-Soviet Russia, you link up transcontinental railway. In America, transcontinental railway links up you!
    • The cold war truly is over.

      Many Russians would be genuinely surprised to hear that. As far as they are concerned, US is still the global enemy #1. E.g. the conflict with Georgia in 2008 was widely seen as instigated by US, and Georgian army equipped and trained by US.

    • What, you mean hating each others guts. I thought that was already in place ;)

  • by JoshuaZ (1134087) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @06:53PM (#37185190) Homepage
    On the one hand, I'm worried about the environmental damage that such an endeavor would do. On the other hand, in the long run if done properly this could save on a lot of shipping that would be more environmentally damaging. Also there are serious issues with lack of infrastructure in the US. This isn't within the US itself but would help solve some of the same problems that such infrastructural collapse is causing. The system will link into the larger North American rail system which is in decent shape as far as moving freight is concerned (I'd like more investment in it in directly in the US but that seems unlikely right now). The price tag on this project is massive, TFA says $65 billion for the whole project with around $10 billion for the main tunnel. That's a lot of money, and I can't help wonder if there aren't a lot of small projects that would have a better return. In general small projects have a very high rate of marginal return, but that may be more true in the sciences than other areas. I don't know how true that is for something like this. And TFA correctly points out that this could give a lot of economic stimulus in terms of jobs, which is something that both the US and Russia sorely need right now. TFA doesn't address what American permits are needed for this. I would imagine that state and federal approval would be necessary but the article doesn't discuss that at all. Overall, I'm skeptical that this will end up going through successfully anytime soon. But the idea of being able to take a train from Boston to Moscow certainly sounds appealing.
  • If Ted Stevens were still around this would be a done deal.
    • by definate (876684)

      Nah. His bridges only go to no where. Also, a train is more like a dump truck, and Ted "The Tubes" Stevens hate dump trucks. I mean, sure, this one's traveling through a tube, maybe even a series of tubes, but it's still a dump truck.

      • by russotto (537200)

        Nah. His bridges only go to no where.

        Take a look at the Bering Strait on a map sometime. The only reason it isn't the "middle of nowhere" is because it's actually closer to the outer edge.

  • by mapkinase (958129) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @06:55PM (#37185212) Homepage Journal

    After being a Russian citizen for 30 years, I can tell you right away that this will be one of the most spectacularly disgraced projects in history. There are oh so many ways to screw this up and for Russians one is usually enough.

  • Isn't there a fault line between Alaska and Russia?
    • Re:Isn't there... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Teancum (67324) <robert_horning@n ... t ['etz' in gap]> on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @07:29PM (#37185498) Homepage Journal

      Surprisingly, eastern Siberia and even as far south as Japan are all on the "North American Plate", so in terms of a tectonic plate being of concern, it is not an issue going across or under the Bering Straight.

      The map of the various major continental plates can be found here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Plates_tect2_en.svg [wikipedia.org]

      It is a legitimate concern, but North America actually ends at Tokyo, not Nome.

    • by TheSync (5291)

      Berkeley's Cal Memorial Stadium [berkeley.edu] is on top of the Hayward fault, so what?

      • Exactly how far do the walls of the stadium need to crack open before water rushes into the building? Do you think that sustaining and repairing earthquake damage on a structure like a stadium compares in any way to an underwater tunnel?

  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @07:01PM (#37185260)

    In soviet russia Government railroads you!

  • But my rail-freight-delivered Russian caviar will have to pass through CANADA to get from Alaska to the mainland!

    Seems like a customs nightmare to get from China > Russia > Canada > US, but taking a train from New York to London, the long way, would be a fun trip.

  • ! transcontinental (Score:5, Informative)

    by Marc_Hawke (130338) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @07:10PM (#37185320)

    There are a lot of transcontinental railroads in the US. I'd assume they have some in Russia too. This would be an 'intercontinental' railroad.

    (It's possible it could be called 'trans-oceanic' but that would be only a technicality.)

  • by turkeyfeathers (843622) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @07:11PM (#37185336)
    You won't have to worry about converting from dollars to roubles... by the time this tunnel is finished, Bitcoins will be the worldwide currency.
  • Let me know when they announce the completion.
  • by chill (34294)

    I understand the freight transport bit, but there is a missing detail here.

    WTF happens when the freight makes its way to the Seward Peninsula via Little Diomede? It is still 500 miles as the crow flies over to Fairbanks. Exactly how much will it cost and how long will it take to build that section?

  • Umm, which track gauge will they use? North American or Russian? If the Russians agreed to use North American gauge and run the line all the way to China (which uses the same gauge as North America and Europe), well, that'd be convenient for us...

  • Yet another proud power point presentation from the Russians about their Brave Future Plans. Seriously, how do these announcements keep making the news? Russia announces bold plans regularly, and equally regularly they vanish into the recycling bin after a few weeks.
     
    Not to mention, this is like me approving a bridge across the Puget Sound. Not only do I not have the money - the government of King County has no idea that they're party to this plan.

  • Being that I live in Anchorage, I would think someone in Alaska would talk about this. Not so, it's all quite on the Alaska news front. In fact I just drove the Alcan for my 17 time. FYI, it's still not "done". They are still working to finish paving above Destruction Bay. Why is it a bunch of people who have never set foot in the Yukon think that they can put a rail in? Then the miles in Western Alaska that has never seen a road. I would love to see land based access open up in western AK, but I see this
  • Since there is no rail link between Alaska and the rest of North America (see here [alaskacanadarail.com]), this seems like an incredibly unwise project. And if the Russians are waiting for Americans to complete the rail link on their side of the tunnel so that it connects with the US network, then they're seriously overestimating us. Doing so would probably cost more than the tunnel itself, and would be a political non-starter for at least three different reasons (cost being the primary one).
  • Russia made their rails incompatible with the rest of the world so that a foreign military could not just rail on into mother Russia.
    That means they have a track width (called gauge in rail language) which is 4 foot 11 inches. While the US has 4 foot 8½ inches. Enough difference to instantly derail the train. The good part is that most of Europe and China uses the same gauge as US. I'm curious if they will modify their tracks or make new rail wheels which covers both sizes. Being that this is bound to

  • by NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @07:27PM (#37185484)
    . . . that all of us live to see this. We will celebrate /. being 100, too.
  • So Russia approves this, ha?

    I guess they figured out a way to suck more oil/tax money out of the system and spread the wealth around. Not too far around, at this scale it's going to be 5-6 thousand people sucking on this cash pipe.

    Do you know how much money road construction costs in Russia? Right now the numbers are anywhere between 190 Million and 8 Billion rubbles per kilometer, depending where construction is taking place (and the closer to the center of Moscow it is, the more expensive it becomes actu

  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Tuesday August 23, 2011 @09:45PM (#37186518)

    This should make it easier to get all all those Russian mail-order brides into the US at a significantly lower cost!

    Take that, Philippines!

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