The Trans-Siberian railway could stretch over to Japan under a proposal from the Russian government. The two countries are reportedly having serious discussions to build a 28-mile bridge that would connect them for train travel. If the bridge is built, you’d be able to journey from Tokyo to London by train across 8,400 miles.
Russian president Vladimir Putin reportedly aims to increase investment in the country’s eastern areas. He recently hosted Russia’s Eastern Economic Forum, where the plans for the connection were revealed. The move could be a big step for the two countries: they never signed a formal peace agreement after WWII, so the proposal has been termed a bridge across history.
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The Siberian Times quoted first vice-premier Igor Shuvalov: “We are seriously offering Japanese partners to consider the construction of a mixed road and railway passage from Hokkaido to southern part of Sakhalin.”
The Trans-Siberian line ends right now in Vladivostok, but under the new proposal the line would lengthen to the Russian island of Sakhalin, and then to Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost main island. From there, travelers could connect to Japan’s rail network to make their way to Tokyo. The 28-mile bridge would stretch between Cape Crillon on Sakhalin and Cape Soya on Hokkaido. According to Shuvalov, the line would allow Japan to become a continental state. “Given modern technologies, it is not even that expensive,” he said.
Sergei Ivanov, Putin’s environmental advisor, said a connection between Japan and Sakhalin is a long-held dream. He also said the line would benefit oil and gas production in Russia. Travelers right now typically travel from London to Moscow by train to connect to the Trans-Siberian railway.
Via The Independent, The Times, and The Siberian Times
Images via Boccaccio1 on Flickr and Wikimedia Commons