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Transportation

Mooted: An Undersea Link From Finland To Estonia 149

jones_supa writes A train link between Finland and continental Europe could become a reality 15 or 20 years from now. A study carried out by Sweco Consulting recommends moving ahead with negotiations on building a railway tunnel between the capital cities Helsinki and Tallinn. According to a preliminary report out Wednesday, an undersea link would shorten the travel time between the two capitals from the current minimum 90 minutes by ship to around 30 minutes by rail. Estimated ticket cost is about 40 euros. The study, commissioned by the two cities, estimates that the undersea route could be completed after 2030 and would cost somewhere between 9 and 13 billion euros.
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Mooted: An Undersea Link From Finland To Estonia

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  • For any large project a good rule of thumb is to double your budget and set aside the extra for inevitable unexpected expenses. If that number isn't available the project will not be finished.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      True. Although, they could save a lot of money by making sure it runs Linux - but, I'm not sure they heard of it.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    At least a thousand years ago, the Vikings had to traverse an extremely unfriendly sea to plunder, rape, and pillage Europe.
  • "Estimated ticket cost is about 40 euros"

    Actual ticket cost will be 200 euros or more.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by oldelpaso ( 851825 )

      It isn't a captive market, competition from the ferries should keep it down. A return ferry ticket is about €50. While you could charge a premium for business class seats, they alone won't fill a train. The Eurostar London-Paris service is a reasonable comparison. Booking in advance, you can usually get a return ticket for that for £100 in off-peak hours. The Dover-Calais ferry is cheaper, but way more inconvenient.

      • It isn't a captive market, competition from the ferries should keep it down. A return ferry ticket is about €50. While you could charge a premium for business class seats, they alone won't fill a train. The Eurostar London-Paris service is a reasonable comparison. Booking in advance, you can usually get a return ticket for that for £100 in off-peak hours. The Dover-Calais ferry is cheaper, but way more inconvenient.

        or you could fly there for 45 pounds ...

        • or you could fly there for 45 pounds ...

          True to a point but incomplete as your total cost of flying has to include travel to/from the airports on either side as the airports are not in the city proper as the train stations are.

      • It isn't a captive market, competition from the ferries should keep it down. A return ferry ticket is about €50. While you could charge a premium for business class seats, they alone won't fill a train. The Eurostar London-Paris service is a reasonable comparison. Booking in advance, you can usually get a return ticket for that for £100 in off-peak hours. The Dover-Calais ferry is cheaper, but way more inconvenient.

        That's exactly my point though (and yes I made the same comparison as I live in France and often travel to England).

        Even 100 pounds is way more than the 40 euros nonsense number they've come up with to promote the project.

    • by GNious ( 953874 )

      Brussels-London, via France, is a 2 hour train-ride, and costs 80 EUR.
      What in this specific setup of trains going between Helsinki and Tallinn makes you think it would 2.5x more expensive than that?

      • And they (whoever "they" are) are forgetting Government Subsidies for those rail systems, which everyone pays via higher taxes.

        IF government was OPEN and HONEST about how much things actually cost and compared with the benefits, many programs and subsidies would cease. But questioning effectiveness of government is tantamount to being "evil" these days.

        I've seen government programs so expensive, that if we scrapped the program completely, and just paid the remaining people affected cash, it would be a fract

        • Airports do happen to cost a shit ton on their own. Though in my opinion, perhaps both suck. Massively upgrading slow speed networks (as in ~100 mph and more on good tracks) with most of them electricity powered might be a good way to spend the zillions. Frequent runs, more places it goes too, cheaper fares, fuller trains, wifi/4G and maybe USB power for the people married to their phones and then who cares if the trip takes 5 hours instead of 3.

        • by dryeo ( 100693 )

          I'll use the cost to build California's "High Speed Rail" system as an example. It would be cheaper, and more effective, to offer every man woman and child in California, 20 free round trip tickets via Airlines, and that is before a single train is run. The estimated one way price (as of today) is approximately $20 more than the cheapest flights available (and doesn't include ongoing government subsidies)

          So you're suggesting using heavily subsidized airlines instead of rail? Without government subsidizes airline travel would be much more expensive, just think of the price of building and operating an airport as well as the market power the private airports would have with their own airline.

          • So you're suggesting using heavily subsidized airlines instead of rail?

            Source? I would be interested if you're talking about actual subsidies (government giving money to airlines) (and apart from EAS) rather than tax breaks and such. What is the cost per passenger?

            As a libertarian, I'm generally opposed to REAL subsidies for just about everything, simply because of all the unintended consequences.

            • Airlines are supported in several ways. One is that they pay less fuel tax [wikipedia.org]. Then there are the bailouts [go.com] that they get every now and then. The tax breaks [bizjournals.com] that they give to airports. Not to mention incentives [wsj.com], grants, funding, etc to airports.

              • "Subsidized" doesn't mean "Pay less". It does mean "given money to, by the government".

                And I love how keeping money you earn is considered "subsidy" by the left, as if government has the right to all of your money, but allows you to keep some of it. Good job guys.

        • Perhaps climate change is real and we should be traveling by train instead of flying to, y'know, save the planet.

      • and 30 by plane (trains are so fail)

        • by GNious ( 953874 )

          If you can get from downtown Brussels to London (not Luton, Stanstead or similar) either for 30 Euros, or in 30 minutes (your post is a bit ambiguous), then I'd very much like a link.
          Traveling in from the outlier airports is not exactly free, or instantaneous, from my experience.

          Add to that, the train-ride on Eurostar is more comfortable (can work on laptop, has power-outlet etc), has better service, and less security-theater and hurry-up-and-wait, I'll take the train ca every time.

          Note: I just dbl-checked

      • Brussels-London, via France, is a 2 hour train-ride, and costs 80 EUR.
        What in this specific setup of trains going between Helsinki and Tallinn makes you think it would 2.5x more expensive than that?

        80 Euros is still twice 40 Euros and in the years I've been going back and forth between the UK and France I have never once had a ticket on the Eurostar as cheap as 80 Euros, though they no doubt exist.

        • by GNious ( 953874 )

          I was a bit unclear, sorry - just checked prices earlier today, could get tickets at 43 Euros each way.
          Admittedly, there is a limited number of tickets at that price, and they are sold out fairly quickly; if you're ordering tickets for the next couple of weeks, you'll be lucky if you get anywhere near that price.

          That said, I fully expect that the mentioned "estimated ticket-price" on the Helsinki-Tallinn line would be for a limited number of tickets, with much more costly options available - this is par-for

          • I was a bit unclear, sorry - just checked prices earlier today, could get tickets at 43 Euros each way.
            Admittedly, there is a limited number of tickets at that price, and they are sold out fairly quickly; if you're ordering tickets for the next couple of weeks, you'll be lucky if you get anywhere near that price.

            That said, I fully expect that the mentioned "estimated ticket-price" on the Helsinki-Tallinn line would be for a limited number of tickets, with much more costly options available - this is par-for-the-course on all transport services.

            Fair enough - I guess I should have written that the average ticket price wouldn't be anywhere near 40 Euros but I agree with you overall :-)

    • No it won't.
      For that price I can hire a private boat for a weak, rofl.

      The distance is what? 40km? 30km even? I would wonder when it is finally running if the price is even EUR20.

    • You might not be that far off. I'll admit to a very limited understanding of European life, but I do watch a few British shows and the views I've seen on train travel are less than stellar. I remember half of a Top Gear episode devoted to how you could buy an old car, fill it with gas, then drive it between two of the cities serviced by a long distance train route for cheaper than you could buy a two way ticket and have a car to keep at the end of the trip. And those were simple over land routes, tunnels

      • by dave420 ( 699308 )
        Don't confuse Top Gear and real life - that won't end well for you. Train travel in (continental) Europe is a far different beast to that in the UK. Fast, clean, affordable, punctual trains serve every city/large town, with regional routes connecting them to the smaller towns and villages.
      • The reason they could make this happen is because the EU passed a stupid law that says all cars have to be recycled. Before that happened, old cars were taken to the scrapyard to get payment for the salvageable parts, but now people have to pay a hundred quid (according to Clarkson) to have them recycled.

        Hence, a sudden infusion of cars that would have otherwise been scrapped. It has no real-world bearing on th e cost of rail versus car transport, just an inconvenient problem created by the meddling EU.

  • by paavo512 ( 2866903 ) on Thursday February 12, 2015 @12:33PM (#49039251)
    Missing from the summary: this project does not make sense without proper railway connection from Tallinn to central Europe (this is Rail Baltic, about to be started in "near" future and expected to be ready around 2025).
    • I really don't think it could be cost-effective.
      The distance involved is greater than the Channel Tunnel, and neither Finland nor Estonia has a large enough population to make it worth that much expenditure. There is no way passenger figures will match those of the Channel Tunnel and that particular project ended in tears for investors.

      • Says the guy who lives in germany and has no idea how much travel back and forth between Helsinki and Tallinn is actually happening :)

         

        • If it was a natural gas pipeline across the whole Baltic funded by the Russians which they have to pay through the nose in transit fees it would be fine. As long as you hide the bill they can swallow it just fine.

  • I'm still waiting for that train, all graphite and glitter; 90 minutes from New York to Paris.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I'm sure the tunnel will be popular, as it seems there is quite busy traffic between these countries - rather surprisingly, it seems a large part of it is Finns shopping for booze in Estonia.

    http://yle.fi/uutiset/finnish_... [yle.fi]

    • According to a study [academia.edu], seven million one-way crossings are made each year. That averages out at around 10 000 return crossings a day.
      Compare that with Dover's 2013 figures which were 12.7 Million for "short sea crossings" and an additional 11 Million using the Tunnel.

    • Same with Sweden heading to Denmark for booze. I took the ferry from DK to SE the day before Midsommer, and everyone but me was coming back hauling lots of booze bought at a cheaper tax rate.

  • That's one thing I've always been mystified at --- when the English Channel tunnel was finished the machines were run a bit further and entombed --- why weren't they run up to the surface and put up for use on other projects?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kjr71 ( 127862 )

      It seems there was a total of 11 machines, and only one of them was buried. One of them was even sold on eBay:

      http://slashdot.org/story/04/0... [slashdot.org]

    • That's one thing I've always been mystified at --- when the English Channel tunnel was finished the machines were run a bit further and entombed --- why weren't they run up to the surface and put up for use on other projects?

      Because machine lines the tunnel behind it as it drills and moves forward, and because construction continues behind it... meaning they couldn't be "just run forward" as the tunnel ahead was larger than the machine. So they either have to be entombed (as the British did) or dismantled and scrapped (as the French did). Most large TBM's are also custom built, so there's little resale or reuse value to begin with.

  • I had the great pleasure of staying in Helsinki for Dec/Jan - love the Finns. It finally got down to -44 or so and there was much celebration at work as the gulf had frozen over and the booze run to Tallinn could be done by car. I gratefully declined the invite to go along for the ride.
    • by swb ( 14022 )

      Average temperature Dec-Feb for Helsinki was 32F and the minimum low was -5F.

      I wouldn't drive over that much sea water unless the average high was -5F for at least a month. It gets a lot colder than Helsinki around here in MN and cars go through the fresh water lakes every year, loads recently despite having a week of subzero F highs.

  • Estonia in 2030 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Fartypants ( 120104 ) on Thursday February 12, 2015 @01:05PM (#49039617)

    Well, Finland already has a border with Russia and the way things [usatoday.com] are going [theguardian.com], it's entirely possible Estonia and the rest of the Baltics will be returned to Russia's "sphere of influence" by 2030. Promises made by NATO to put a brigade in Poland and create local headquarters in each of the Baltic states have made depressingly little progress [theguardian.com] and the EU has made it clear that avoiding conflict with Russia is worth the sacrifice of nations on the periphery of Europe.

    • When you give the political reigns to beancounters it is what happens. Everyone is too busy trying to protect their own interest right now to bother with things like that. People do not bother thinking about geopolitics anymore. If Russia actually got serious there are only two countries in Europe with any kind of military muscle that could do anything. France and the UK. The UK basically froze its military upgrades once the Conservatives came to power and basically the same thing happened in France with th

    • EU has made it clear that avoiding conflict with Russia is worth the sacrifice of nations on the periphery of Europe.

      Ukraine is only "in Europe" in some technical geographical sense that would also include Russia. Meanwhile the EU is trying to avoid being dragged by USA/UK into what is quite clearly a civil war, not an invasion by Russia regardless of what the talking heads would like us all the believe. Invasions aren't the sort of thing you can do quietly. Just ask the Iraqis.

  • Finnland has alread trains to continental Europe. In fact, Finnland is a part of continental Europe.

    • by robi5 ( 1261542 ) on Thursday February 12, 2015 @03:22PM (#49041255)

      Though to be fair, Russia is doing its best to write itself out of Europe... well probably there are trains to Sweden as well.

      What's interesting is how Europe is such a hodge-podge of countries, with almost as many sets of countries as the number of countries:

      There is Europe as a continent - but many countries, esp. Russia really behave in un-European ways; some countries have minority land in Europe (Russia, Turkey).

      The EU seems to be the biggest ensemble - but curiously, Switzerland, one of the richest countries, is not in the EU and does not appear to bear any of the costs of solidarity and convergence (e.g. helping East Europe catch up); also is absent Norway (also one of the richest countries, and a great oil power); and the UK is on the brink of exiting the EU (and the UK now has a weird anti-Eastern European immigrant stance while it happily accepted immigrants of more radically different cultures and London, like Paris, is becoming a Muslim city). Some countries, like Turkey and probably Ukraine will spend an eternity in the waiting room before being able to join. Iceland just suspended joining talks.

      The UK deserves its own section as they are an oddball in many other regards: driving on the left side of the road, using incompatible power plugs, often using imperial units etc. etc. - but more importantly they use terms like "We visited Europe last Summer" as if the UK wasn't even part of Europe. So one of the strongest military powers in Europe is also one of the least integrated (similar in that regard to the Swiss). Germany also deserves special mention due to their strong economy, yet no military power or participation, and the weird stance on nuclear power plants (despite the fact that they are densely surrounded by nuclear power plants). However, Germany is the most important integrating force of Europe, mainly responsible for its Eastern opening.

      Then there is NATO; interestingly Norway is in, but Sweden and (more understandably and regrettably) Finland isn't; Switzerland is again, absent (despite having a strong military; again there seems to be a lack of solidarity while they unilaterally benefitted from being a safe haven and from the tax evasion of the rest of the World)

      Within the EU, there is the Euro currency; while theoretically mandatory for all countries, this further fragments Europe, along multiple fracture lines:
      - Some developed countries (UK, Denmark, Sweden) opted out from the beginning (special treatment)
      - Some countries which caught up introduced the Euro (Slovakia, Slovenia, Estonia), but some opted not to (Czech R., Poland)
      - Some countries have been unable to meet Euro introduction criteria, e.g. due to irresponsible borrowing of the Socialists in Hungary till 2008

      A special place is occupied by Greece - they lied and cheated so they gain admission into the Euro zone. Europe has lavishly rewarded their morals by pouring EUR200Bn into Greece over a year or two. (In comparison, Hungary, which has the same population size but much lower GDP/head and welfare, only got EUR20Bn, i.e. one tenth of that, from EU cohesion funds over around 10 years.) and the Greeks will want more money for their irresponsible behavior. So some of the European fault lines are growing and the Euro zone is about to shrink. But of course Europe doesn't try to offset the loss of Greece by more ambitiously integrating Eastern Europe like Poland, the Chech Republic and Hungary. In fact, Bulgaria, Hungary and Slovakia has been left by the EU to predominantly depend on Russia for energy sources, a BIG mistake with the reversion to Russian imperialism.

      Minor redemption is the SEPA (Single Euro Payment Area), which, despite its name, includes a lot of non-Euro, non-EU countries. SEPA's spirit (removing financial friction inside Europe) and existence however doesn't stop a UK bank like Barclays to shamelessly charge a whopping GBP25 fixed fee on each and every transfer (despite electronic, STP) into another SEPA country. Maybe royal remnants like H.M. Beefeate

      • by jonfr ( 888673 )

        Sweden didn't opt-out of the Euro. They agreed to adopt it when they joined. Then they held a second referendum on the Euro and rejected adopting it, that referendum has de-fact no legal meaning. Currently Sweden stays out of the euro by not joining ERM-II as is required for minimal of two years if they want to adopt the euro. Denmark has opt-out clause, they can cancel it with a vote when they want to and adopt the euro quickly after that.

        As for Russia. They are preparing for war with Europe. Russia wants

        • The oil price collapse certainly put a dent into his plans. Otherwise he could have done extremely well. If Russia successfully annexed Ukraine all of a sudden they would have gained a lot of population and heavy industry including the USSR shipyards. He did it a bit too early though. The Russian military did not finish their modernization program on time. Neither did China.

      • Don't know what you want to say with that: Germany also deserves special mention due to their strong economy, yet no military power or participation
        Germany has a strong army and a strong air force and a marine that is very suitable for its role in the NATO.

        Becoming 'Muslim' is not a fault line. Actually no one really cares what religion you have. Even if you are so brain damaged that you need a religion to have a fulfilled life the - in general more or less atheist - population of Europe tolerates you.

        • Germany has no nuclear weapons, no nuclear submarines. They have 183k people in their military while France has 215k despite Germany having more population than France. The German Navy has poor power projection capabilities. They have decent tanks and other military hardware but their Air Force and Navy are kind of dire.

          • The air force is not kind of dire, and as I said the marine does what their role in the NATO supposes them to do.

            You don't need a 'special' marine or air force to fight the our days wars against third world countries.

            • We are talking about Russia here. They might have a dilapidated military compared to what they had during the USSR but they still have a lot more power projection capabilities than Germany.

        • by robi5 ( 1261542 )

          > Becoming 'Muslim' is not a fault line. Actually no one really cares what religion you have. Even if you are so brain damaged that you need a religion to have a fulfilled life the - in general more or less atheist - population of Europe tolerates you.

          Well, your opinion exhibits the tolerant Western mindset. It is this very mindset that is likely taken advantage of as the Muslim influence is growing unabated, through migration, demographics and propaganda. But mostly, through sitting out the couple of de

          • Modern Muslims who migrate to the West are not fond of sharia law.

            No idea why people try to compare some minorities that live in the middle ages with open minded people and fear monger on that.

            • by robi5 ( 1261542 )

              I'm sure there are _lots_ of people in the Middle East who are also not fond of sharia law, yet something like the Islamic State occurred, and Islamic revolutions resulting in 'fundamentalist' religion-states. Interesting that you seem to starkly contrast modern Muslims who migrated to the West with, your word, 'minorities that live in the middle ages'. I'd have thought that there are all kinds of gradients and influencing channels.

              Also, walking in the streets of some of the above mentioned cities, not all

              • Follow the money.
                The islamic state is not something that sprang up by the people themselves.
                It is just a small rich group of maniacs that want power an hired a few ten thousand poor idiots as 'soldiers'.
                That the now IS areas needed to be conquered is a sign the population did not welcome them.

                Anyway, dealing with Muslims or militant Islam spreaders has nothing to do with being an hard core christian. If they get a majority via voting, there is still a long way for them to go before they can cause trouble. A

      • The EUSSR is a bit of a mess. Gigantic in theory but in practice it is worth less than the sum of its parts.

        A lot of the faults in what is happening in Europe right now are due to a lack of political direction and lack of stomach to do important strategic investments. Read about Nabucco and North Stream to get an idea. The Germans claim they can do everything and try to cultivate an aura of invincibility but in practice they don't want to pay for anything with large upfront costs. Once Nord Stream came onli

      • by dave420 ( 699308 )
        I stopped reading at "becoming a Muslim city" because clearly you get your information, at least partly, from gibbering sources, and you seem quite happy with it.
  • Numbers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by goodmanj ( 234846 ) on Thursday February 12, 2015 @01:14PM (#49039709)

    This tunnel would be roughly the same length and complexity as the English Channel Tunnel. The combined metro area of London and Paris is 26 million people; Talinn and Helsinki combined are less than 1/10th the size. If you're thinking more in terms of connecting all of Finland to all of Europe the way the Chunnel connects the whole UK to Europe, the population of Finland is again less than 1/10th the size of the UK.

    The Chunnel has been in or on the edge of bankruptcy for most of its existence.

    I'm not sure this is gonna work.

    • Re:Numbers (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dj245 ( 732906 ) on Thursday February 12, 2015 @02:00PM (#49040311) Homepage

      This tunnel would be roughly the same length and complexity as the English Channel Tunnel. The combined metro area of London and Paris is 26 million people; Talinn and Helsinki combined are less than 1/10th the size. If you're thinking more in terms of connecting all of Finland to all of Europe the way the Chunnel connects the whole UK to Europe, the population of Finland is again less than 1/10th the size of the UK.

      The Chunnel has been in or on the edge of bankruptcy for most of its existence.

      I'm not sure this is gonna work.

      It is a classic mistake to measure the benefit of infrastructure on the basis of "does it pay for itself in ticket sales?". The benefit to society may be much larger than the direct income generated.

      • It is a classic mistake to measure the benefit of infrastructure on the basis of "does it pay for itself in ticket sales?". The benefit to society may be much larger than the direct income generated.

        If that's true, then the ticket prices can be raised - the amount people will pay for a thing represents how much they value it.

        If it's a commercial benefit, then those costs are merely passed along to the next consumer in the chain on a given product.

        Granted, this excludes unaccounted externalities where licens

        • Right, so charge people to use roads and freeways. After all if they value the convenience of having a robust economy where good and services are mobile then they should be willing to pay.

        • If that's true, then the ticket prices can be raised - the amount people will pay for a thing represents how much they value it.
          No, it can't.
          Why should I pay more for my ticket to go to a city that benefits from me staying there in a hotel eating there in a restaurant and drinking in a pub?
          If the train ticket is more expensive, I do the exact same thing with another train, another city, another hotel, another restaurant and another pub.

          I really wonder why americans always have so retarded ideas about how ec

      • It is a classic mistake to measure the benefit of infrastructure on the basis of "does it pay for itself in ticket sales?". The benefit to society may be much larger than the direct income generated.

        It would certainly be interesting if the tunnel project helped balance out the drastic price/income/tax differences between Finland and Estonia, similarly to what has happened between Sweden and Denmark to some extent. Booze runs to Estonia are a national pastime in Finland where alcohol is heavily taxed and monopolized, while many an Estonian spends their weeks working well-paid jobs in Helsinki. Of course, our government is doing everything to curb the booze runs in the name of national health, intra-EU f

      • It is a classic mistake to measure the benefit of infrastructure on the basis of "does it pay for itself in ticket sales?". The benefit to society may be much larger than the direct income generated.

        Sure, but this is going to benefit a tenth as much society as the Chunnel, at the same cost. And the Chunnel has never been indispensable to start with.

    • The Chunnel has been in or on the edge of bankruptcy for most of its existence.

      Do you mean that it's been subsidized or that it's like a highly-efficient non-profit? The difference is pretty important relative to its perceived value. And I'm assuming they have a huge bond repayment, which would make any such endeavor challenging over a long timeframe (as with most worthwhile efforts).

    • by Teancum ( 67324 )

      Of comparable size and complexity is the "Big Dig" in Boston [state.ma.us]. A difference is that it was paid with federal appropriations, thus never had to turn a profit. It really depends on what the governments of Estonia and Finland want to do in this situation, and if they can convince other EU members to help chip into the project too.

    • In economic terms it might not make sense but in strategic terms it might make sense. Given the current situation with Russia an overland route is problematic. The Baltic states have cultural ties to Finland. The only other overland route to the EU is by Poland but this is stuck between Kaliningrad and Belarus.

      I doubt those countries can fund it by themselves.

      The Japanese undersea tunnel to Hokkaido makes no economic sense either. It was still built for strategic reasons back when the USSR was still around.

  • by lazarus ( 2879 ) on Thursday February 12, 2015 @02:30PM (#49040629) Homepage Journal

    Each time we do this, we tunnel (at great cost) under the ocean floor. While the engineering involved is impressive, I can't help but wonder why we don't just build a tunnel on the sea floor (by manufacturing the materials on dry land and then just sinking them to the bottom and sealing them up). Is the problem that we don't have the submersible technology, or robotic technology to do the finishing work, or is there something else I'm missing?

    This can't be the best way to build a tunnel through the water.

    • Is the problem that we don't have the submersible technology, or robotic technology to do the finishing work, or is there something else I'm missing?

      Some drunk driving a motorboat with the anchor dragging above the ocean floor will latch on to above ocean floor tunnel, causing a massive leak and/or damaging the boat. This is why it's better to build the tunnel in bedrock.

    • by Ksevio ( 865461 )
      I'm no expert on it, but I imagine it's because the sea bed isn't particularly flat, so lots of support structure would be needed in order to make a road that's somewhat flat and that's difficult to do under water. Going beneath everything ensures there's a solid foundation the entire way.
    • That's called an immersed tube tunnel. The way it's done is they dig a trench at the bottom, lower concrete tunnel elements to form the tunnel and then cover the structure with rock and sand. This method has been used many times in the past and will be used in the future, for example here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F... [wikipedia.org]

      Immersed tunnels aren't always cheaper than boring or blasting through rock. For one thing, it is cumbersome and expensive to dig a trench in deep waters.

    • Because a bored lined tunnel is orders of magnitude easier and cheaper at any kind of depth. They are also lower maintenance and will last for a longer period of time. Concrete and sea water don't mix well. This is even assuming that sea floor is nice and smooth and even with no large changes in height.

    • In a tunnel you have air.
      Workers can just walk around.
      We have experience in making tunnels since millennia.
      We make nice tunnels with high tech machines all over the world in mountains.
      Making a tunnel below sea level is no much difference.

      Dropping pipes to the ground of the sea and evacuating them is something different.

  • by OrangeTide ( 124937 ) on Thursday February 12, 2015 @04:12PM (#49041731) Homepage Journal

    Why would I travel frequently when I can send packets? When looking ahead 50 years should probably worry more about the Singularity than about if people can use transportation in exactly the same fashion they do today.

  • I wonder why the train trip is supposed to take so long, or how the ferry trip is calculated.
    It is a no brainer that the train can be up to 10x as fast as the ferry. So what is wrong here?
    They use hydrofoils for the ferries? Then it makes sense.

    • Big ferries take about 4 hours to cross the gulf (70 km). The 90 minutes mentioned in the summary does indeed apply for newer hydrofoil boats which have max speed about 70 km/h and take little or no cars on board (and have more expensive tickets). The number mentioned for the train (30 minutes) is 8 times less than for large ferries.
      • That makes sense!

        I'm looking forward to be sailing in that area next year in late summer. I guess it will be great fun!

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