From Russia to America on the rails

  "The project to build a railway from the Far East to the United States does not look so fantastic." 

What do you think about this project?


 The head of Russian Railways Vladimir Yakunin said that Russia and the U.S. can be linked by rail, and the "not-too-distant future". Indeed, the relevant plans, including the construction of a tunnel under the Bering Strait, really exist. Experts estimated the huge economic benefits that the project promises, and no less than the enormous costs of its implementation.

"I am confident that the prospects for the continuation of the railway on the Kamchatka Peninsula, and on through the tunnel to connect with the North American roads — is a project implemented in the not too distant future", — said yesterday the president of Russian Railways Vladimir Yakunin at a meeting with the Guild of Travel and Tourism United Kingdom, where the topic was raised by one of the interlocutors, ITAR-TASS reported. It is about building a tunnel across the Bering Strait.

It should be said that the railway project to link the two continents in the United States is voiced by in the late XIX century. In the 90 years of the last century, the United States even began to allocate money for the study of the project and began to negotiate with Russia. In 1996, this project has been included among the priority programs of the Committee on Cooperation Asia-Pacific countries. However, nothing has changed. And Vladimir Yakunin slightly disingenuous by saying that this project is not very distant future.

Officially, the Russian project of the joint Russia and the United States by rail across the Bering Strait was made public in 2007 in the "Strategy of development of railway transport in Russia up to 2030", which was adopted by the Government of the Russian Federation. Specific description of this project is not, but in the strategy states that its implementation is planned as much after 2030.

"The purpose of the project — the creation of the Transcontinental Railroad, which will link the two continents and provide a stable causeway North America — Russia — Asia via the Bering Strait," — said the press service of the Russian Railways. More information out there could not tell.

Construction of a tunnel through the Bering Strait is not accidental planned only after 2030. The fact is that before building the tunnel, Railways need to link the two parts of Russia: the European and Far East. Please finish the more than 800-kilometer section of the railway, which will connect with the Trans-Siberian Yakut, and execute plans for transport development in Kamchatka and Chukotka Peninsula.

With the construction of the Amur-Yakutsk railway, the decision of which was taken in 1985, is all right. The first section of the station Tommot was completed by 1995. Now he's put in time operation. After the 2004 construction of the second part of the railroad to the Lower Bestyaha. And in November last year, the construction of the Berkakit — Tommot — Lower Bestyakh (station in the Republic of Sakha) length of 808 km was completed. Since the beginning of the line construction Tommot — Lower Bestyakh a total length of 437 km of capital investments worth more than 35 billion rubles, and in 2011 spent about 5 billion rubles.

Now under construction combined road-rail bridge across the Lena River and connecting directly to the constructed line Yakutsk. By 2013 it is planned to finally finish the last piece Berkakit — Tommot — Yakutsk. This line will connect the capital of the Republic of Sakha with the Baikal-Amur Mainline and the Trans-Siberian Railway, and will significantly reduce the dependence of the republic from the seasonal importation of goods, dozens of times by reducing costs, population and budgets of different levels. The rail track will begin on an industrial scale development of the richest mineral deposits in South and Central Yakutia.

At the completion of the railway to the city of Yakutsk in the Republic of freight will save between 2.5 to 12-15 billion annually. The creation of new businesses and jobs will increase the gross regional product of the republic, the total taxes imposed by 1-4 billion annually.

In the following years it is planned to build a second start-up complex of art. Right Lena with a combined bridge over the Lena River to the station Yakutsk river port (left bank). In the Federal Target Program "Development of transport system of Russia (2010-2015)" on it allocates about 77 billion rubles in 2012-2016.

Railways plans to continue until 2030, the development of the railway line from the Lower Bestyaha to Magadan, then planned integration into the nationwide network of railways of the two regions north-east of the country: Chukotka and Kamchatka.

Meanwhile, for the project to link Russia and the United States by rail through the Strait of some ways to Yakutsk enough. Here Railways have yet to build about 4 thousand km railway from Yakutsk to Uelena directly to the coast of the Bering Strait. Only then can we talk about the tunnel project. But the construction of this section, as well as the project itself, according to the project of development of transport infrastructure of Russia in the period 2010-2030, it is planned until 2030.

In the construction of the railway line and tunnel across the Bering Strait at least two interested parties — Russia and the United States (and Canada). To connect the two rails of the continent, North America should also build a network of roads. But they have all that much easier. U.S. should pave only 2 thousand km railway, wrote last summer The Times.

Russia and the U.S. should build a tunnel from their coasts, and the meeting of builders may occur under the Bering Strait over the so-called international line passing near the Diomede Islands: islands Ratmanoff (Russia) and the islands of Krusenstern (Little Diomede, USA). The project, according to the publication, estimated at more than 99 billion dollars. The project investment can be recouped in 15 years after it is put into operation, experts edition.

If Russia, the U.S. and Canada really want to carry out this project, we need to start now with small projects, indicating expert of "Finam Management" Dmitry Baranov. "We could work with other countries to begin the design and construction of the railway from Yakutsk on the north-east, the construction of the road in the same direction, power lines and other important facilities. Funding for these projects can be equity, "- said the expert.

According to him, the seriousness build a tunnel under the Bering Strait could confirm the agreement between the two countries on joint infrastructure projects in Russia and the United States and Canada. However, these still there.

Meanwhile, the benefits of the project is available for many countries. Transport of goods on highways Eurasia — USA will become less expensive, faster and more secure than by sea, say British experts. In the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce (RBCC) said that the volume of freight traffic on railway northern route could reach 3% of the world total. Annual benefits of such transport may reach $ 11.5 billion.

"In favor of the construction of the tunnel say the growth prospects of cargo between Europe and Asia, which is growing by 7-8%. The second argument is the need to develop the mineral-rich areas that can not be mastered without transport accessibility, many of them will simply need to be developed, taking into account the gradual depletion of similar stocks in central Russia and Siberia, "- said
the expert of" Samet "Alexander Filimonov.

The third argument in favor of the project, he said, is the need to connect more than 11 thousand settlements eastern regions deprived of transport links with the mainland.

"The project is very expensive, and the payback period can exceed called now, but that's why the project may be carried out only in broad international cooperation in several countries because of the benefits it will have everything, even the countries that are at a distance from the tunnel thousands of miles away. This benefit can be direct and indirect, "- said Dmitry Baranov.

Transport Minister Igor Levitin five years ago that public money is spent on the construction of the tunnel will not. Find budget money for this project will be really difficult, given the strength of the existing budget. "But an even bigger question — will go to investors in Russia. I think that the only Russian companies to collect the full amount will not work ", — said Filimonov.

The technical side of the tunnel lining across the Bering Strait controversial. Some experts believe that the project exceeds all current technical capabilities, as the distance between the shores of the Bering Strait at the narrowest point is as much as 86 km. Others, such as experts Times, argue that the technical obstacles to the construction of the tunnel does not exist.

However, the world has a similar scale projects. For example, the Gotthard base tunnel through the Alps in Switzerland and 57 km long Seikan Tunnel, which connects the islands of Honshu and Hokkaido length of 53.9 km. In addition, the world was introduced another project to build the tunnel, which is twice the length of a tunnel across the Bering Strait. This project is an undersea tunnel between Japan and South Korea length of 182 km. 




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