Bering Strait Tunnel Will Be Largest Rail Project Ever
May 20, 2007 • 2:14PM

EIR has determined that the laying of the new intercontinental railroad connecting Russia to the USA through a Bering Strait tunnel would require construction of between 4,800 and 5,300 miles (7,700 to 8,500 kilometers) of track, the largest rail construction project ever, transmitting technology to the world.

EIR consulted rail consultant Hal Cooper, as well as other experts and engineers, and articles and maps, to determine the approximate rail track mileage to be constructed. The word approximate is stressed, because rail designers must consult physical topology, such as mountains, rivers, etc. before final route lay-out is determined.

The proposed rail line has four stages:

1. The starting (or finishing) point would be Tynda, Russia. Tynda has the advantage that it is on the existing Baikal-Amur Mainline Railway (BAM), and also has a connection to the TransSiberian Railway. The new construction would proceed from Tynda, northeasterly, to Yakutsk, to Egvenkinot, and to the most northeastern tip of Russia, the town of Uelen, which faces onto the Bering Strait. The Tynda-to-Uelen route has a distance of 2,050 to 2,400 miles.

2. The Bering Strait tunnel. The rail would cross a distance of 53 miles, via a new Bering Strait tunnel from Uelen, Russia to Cape Prince of Wales, Alaska, in the United States.

3. The intercontinental rail line would extend from Cape Prince of Wales, easterly to Fairbanks, Alaska, a distance of between 580 and 720 miles (depending on the route).

4. The last stage has a branching point, which could follow either of two routes. Either potential branch line would go south-easterly, through to the northern portion of British Columbia (BC), Canada, where it would connect into North America's rail grid. The more southerly branch line would go 1,455 rail miles from Fairbanks to Prince George, BC, but since 335 miles of the line have already been built, this would require only 1,120 miles of track to be built (this line would head down America's Pacific Coast). The more easterly branch line would go 1,355 rail miles from Fairbanks to Dawson Creek, B.C.; but since 371 miles of the line have already been built, this would require only 984 miles of track to be built (this line would head toward Chicago, Illinois).

Ultimately, there are three choices: the construction of the Tynda, Russia through the Bering Strait to Prince George, B.C. line would require the laying of a range of 3,803 to 4,293 miles of track; the Tynda, Russia through the Bering Strait to Dawson Creek, B.C. line would be require the laying of a range of 3,667 to 4,157 miles of track; and the construction of a system that has both branch lines simultaneously would require a range of 4,787 to 5,277 miles (7,707 to 8,496 kilometers). The latter system would be far preferable.

Were the lines to be double-tracked (having two sets of tracks so that trains going in opposite direction would have their own separate track, rather than sharing and shunting off a single track), that would double the track mileage to a range of 9,574 to 10,554 miles. The construction would generate worker jobs, steel, earth-movers, machine tools, etc.