The Stuff Of Science Fiction
According to The Independent, 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 (they might want to come up with a catchier name) has been proposed by the Chinese Academy of Engineering, and would start in NE China, travelling up through Siberia, across the Bering Strait to Alaska and down through Canada before reaching the US.
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 – details are in state newspapers, which make it all a bit suspicious.
However, a fourth Pan-Asian line, connecting China with Singapore via Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand and Malaysia, is already under construction and proposals for lines running from China to Africa are currently being drawn up.
This posits a previously unconsidered idea; that there could be a way of travelling the world without creating the massive pollution problems accorded to aircraft. This recalls Arthur C Clarke’s brilliant novel ‘The Fountains of Paradise’, in which satellites in geostationary orbit are linked by elevators. Clarke’s mix of the fantastic and the practical also resulted in ‘A Fall of Moondust’, about disaster striking moon passenger transport.
We now have a fascinating new subject for SF writers to explore, unless someone has already done it – anyone know?