Officials endorse tunnel to link Alaska and Siberia by train - reports

Russia appears to be edging closer to giving the go-ahead for an underwater tunnel which could one day allow vacationers in Alaska to take a day trip to Siberia in Russia.

The tunnel, which would reportedly be 65 miles (105 km) long and bored under the icy waters of the narrow Bering Strait which separates Russia from North America above the Pacific Sea, was reportedly backed by high-profile Russian politician Aleksandr Levinthal this week.

London's The Times reported that Levinthal endorsed the idea at a conference on developing Russia's north-eastern rail infrastructure - although it was first mooted by Tsar Nicholas II over a hundred years ago.

At twice the length of the Channel Tunnel that connects Britain and France, it will be an ambitious engineering project - but one which could bring considerable benefits for travelers.

It could mean, for example, a spectacular overland train journey from Europe to New York City, traveling through Moscow and the icy landscapes of Siberia and Alaska before heading down to warmer climes.

In one direction, it would even save travelers time, as the tunnel would pass straight through the International Date Line, changing the clocks of those taking the journey by nearly a full day.

However, a considerable amount of work lies ahead for the project to become reality, as neither Alaska nor Siberia have constructed rail links that reach to the extremes of their respective territories.

Reports suggest that the epic project could be complete by 2045, based on the current schedule of improvements to the Russian rail system.

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