Construction may soon begin on a rail link that could see a London to Tokyo rail journey become a reality.
Officials from Russia and Japan met last week to discuss the plans, which would involve an extension of the Trans Siberian railway from mainland Russia to Japan by way of a bridge to Sakhalin, a Russian island, where the train would travel south for a further 380 miles before crossing to Japanese territory by way of a 25-mile tunnel under the Soya Strait.
The first phase of Russian development on the project is set to begin in 2016, with a total projected cost of around £6.4 billion. Once completed, instead of flying to Japan, travellers will be able to board in London and step off the train, almost 6,000 miles and two weeks later, in Tokyo.
While intended primarily for trade purposes, it is feasible to imagine the London to Tokyo journey joining the pantheon of great tourist train trips and adding to the cache of the Trans Siberian railway as one of the greatest construction projects of all time.
TripAdivsor recently included the Trans Siberian railway amongst its top 10 “once-in-a-lifetime” trips, amongst other revered travel experiences, such as a stay at the famous over-water bungalows at Bora Bora, trekking to Machu Picchu, seeing the Northern Lights in Norway and watching the sunrise from the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro.
So with these plans to extend to London and Tokyo, the world’s longest railway is about to get quite a bit longer, one of man’s greatest achievements in construction is about to get quite a bit greater, and one of the world’s most renowned traveller experiences is about to get just that little bit more special.