Railroad passage to Alaska would open up transport between North America and Asia

The construction of a railroad to Kamchatka and a railway passage through the Bering Strait to Alaska would serve to organize transportation between the North American continent and Asian countries through Russia, President of OJSC Russian Railways (RTS: RZHD) (RZD) Vladimir Yakunin suggested.

"When the Canadians and Americans approached me about four years ago and said that they were developing this idea, I was a bit surprised. But later they brought me a proposal to develop such cooperation, which would connect North America and Russian railroads, and later China and countries in the Asia-Pacific region. I understood that this futuristic project is beginning to acquire a practically realizable character," he said at a briefing during the conference 'International Practice in Train Station Development: From Design to Return on Investment' in Merano, Italy on Friday.

Possible timeframes for implementing such a project will depend on "the general state of the economy" and "transport policies in these countries, including Russia," Yakunin said. "We need to build a road to Kamchatka. That means serious expenditures. But with global design, such projects can be realized," he said, adding that he believes in the feasibility of this project.

In April, Yakunin said that he believed in the possibility of building a railroad tunnel under the Bering Strait and noted that such a decision needs to be made by 2017.

"I am convinced that Russia has to develop areas in the Far East and Kamchatka with railway transport, and I think that the decision to build should be made within the next three to five years. I mean that in general this needs to be done," he said. "With regards to real implementation, I think that it should be within ten to 15 years," Yakunin said.

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