Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Beijing to the US by train: China outlines plans to connect world by high speed rail network

Tunnel required would be four times longer than channel tunnel, while a high speed line to London and Berlin is also reportedly in the works

China has outlined its plan to connect the world by high-speed rail, including an underwater link to the US running a total 13,000km.

The ‘China to Russia plus the United States’ line proposed by the Chinese Academy of Engineering would start in the north east of China, travel up through Siberia, across the Bering Strait to Alaska and down through Canada before reaching the contiguous US, The Beijing Times reports.

Other planned lines - construction of which has reportedly began in China - are a link to London via Paris, Berlin and Moscow, along with a second route to Europe following the silk road to reach as far as Germany via Iran and Turkey. The international legs of the lines are currently under negotiation, the state ran paper said.

A fourth Pan-Asian line, connecting China with Singapore via Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia, is already under construction. Proposals for lines running from China to Africa are currently being drawn up, the paper added.

The most structurally ambitious of the proposals is the US-China link, which would require around 200km of tunnels to cross the gap between Russia and Alaska - four times the length of the Channel Tunnel. If completed it would become the world’s longest underwater tunnel and take an unprecedented feat of engineering.

“Right now we're already in discussions. Russia has already been thinking about this for many years,”  Wang Meng-shu, a railway expert from the Chinese Academy of Engineering said. The train would travel at 220mph with the entire trip taking two days.

Reporting on the plans, the state owned English language paper China Daily claimed that China already has the technology in place as it will be used to connect the country to Taiwan by underwater high-speed train requiring a 150km long tunnel. Details of this project are also yet to be finalised however.