By Caroline Hallemann
May 13, 2014
China Considers High-Speed Railway to U.S.
Credit: iStockphoto

If a fear of international flights has long kept you from exploring China's Great Wall or visiting Xi’an’s famed terracotta soldiers, it's time to reconsider your boycott on traveling abroad—a high-speed railroad may soon connect Beijing to the United States.

The Bejing Times reports Chinese officials are currently in talks to construct an 8,000-mile railway connecting north-east China to the United States. The proposed route would cross Siberia, and then cut through Alaska and Canada before entering into the continental US. With trains traveling 220 miles per hour, it would take passengers approximately two days to complete the full trip.

“Right now we’re already in discussions. Russia has already been thinking about this for many years,” said Chinese railway expert Wang Mengshu of the project, to The Guardian.

However, no other Chinese railway experts have come out in public support of the project, leading to ample skepticism of the proposal. To build such a railway would require not only monumental state funding and approval from all countries involved, but also an incredible feat of engineering. Crossing the Bering Straight between Russia and Alaska by train would require 125 miles of undersea tunnel, making the project more than five times longer than the current longest underwater tunnel, which crosses the English Channel.

The route, tentatively titled the “China-Russia-Canada-America” railway, is one of four international lines reportedly under consideration for China’s high-speed rail expansion. Other lines reportedly being considered include London-Paris-Berlin-Moscow, Kazakhstan-Uzbekistan-Iran-Turkey-Germany, and China-Singapore.

Caroline Hallemann is an assistant digital editor at Travel + Leisure. You can find her on Twitter at @challemann.