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It’s been a while since the United States got the Chinese to come on over and build the world’s first Transcontinental Railway — connecting the West and East Coasts of North America. Between 1863 and 1869, 1,907 miles (3,069 km) of track were pounded in to place.

80 percent of the Central Pacific workforce was made up of Chinese workers, and they proved to be essential to the task of laying the line through the Sierra Nevadas. They blasted tunnels through the solid granite —  sometimes progressing only a foot a day . They often lived in the tunnels as they worked their way through the solid granite, saving precious time and energy from entering and exiting the worksite each day. They were routinely lowered down sheer cliff faces in makeshift baskets on ropes where they drilled holes, filled them with explosives, lit the fuse and then were yanked up as fast as possible to avoid the blast.

The first transcontinental railway was just over 1,907 miles. The proposed Trans-Eurasian, connecting London with New York, is 12,519  miles (6,200 of them through Russia). From the Atlantic to the Pacific is an amazing enough feat as it is.

But from Russia to Alaska?

How long did it take England and France to build the Chunnel under the English Channel? The French started digging in mid-1988 and opened for business mid-1994. 6 years to go 23.5 miles (37.9 kilometers).

The Chunnel, at its lowest point, goes 250 feet deep (75 meters).

The Bering Strait, my friends, in only 180 feet deep (55 meters).


A Brief History of Building the Transcontinental Railroad
Siberian Times
Strait Train

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