A lone report in China's state-run Beijing Times claims the nation is already in discussions to build an 12,870+ kilometre railroad connecting China, Russia, Canada and the US — including a 201.2km undersea tunnel spanning the Bering Strait. Forget taking this with a grain of salt, you're gonna need the whole shaker.
Yes, according to Wang Mengshu, a railway expert at the Chinese Academy of Engineering and the only person cited in the report, China has already discussed the plan with Russia, and Russia's on board. Never mind that the proposed undersea route would be more than five times longer than the current longest underwater tunnel, the one under the English Channel.
This alleged project comes hot on the heels of an earlier assertion that a Chinese research team has developed a prototype of a Hyperloop-style train that could someday hit speeds of 2896.8km/h. Thankfully, the daydream underwater tunnel train would stick to a much more sensible 220 MPH — taking around two days to make the full 12,870km trip from northeast China, through Siberia, under the Pacific Ocean, across Alaska, down through Canada, and into the Continental U.S.
As The Guardian puts it, the bonkers proposal leaves plenty of room for scepticism:
No other Chinese railway experts have come out in support of the proposed project. Whether the government has consulted Russia, the US or Canada is also unclear. The Bering Strait tunnel alone would require an unprecedented feat of engineering — it would be the world's longest undersea tunnel — four times the length of the Channel Tunnel.
Image: Shutterstock / Andrey Yurlov