The Null Device

Trans-Bering railway tunnel approved by Kremlin

The Russian government has approved plans to build a railway link to Alaska via a tunnel under the Bering Strait. The tunnel would be twice as long as the Channel Tunnel, and is also expected to run electric cables. Once it is completed, it is predicted that 3% of the world's freight would take the route.

Of course, there are many unanswered questions. The question of funding for the massive project remains unresolved, and there is the small matter of building a railway link all the way to the easternmost extent of Russia's isolated Far East, over thousands of kilometres of tundra. (The Trans-Siberian Railway does not come anywhere near the sparsely populated region, though a branch line to Yakutsk, a fraction of the way, is due for completion by 2013.) And, of course, US approval for a railway tunnel into its territory is still an open question.

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