In North America, Two Firms Agree on 2,400 km Railway Connector
5 July 2019
*Two Firms Agree on 2,400 km Railway Connector between Alberta, Canada and Alaska—Century Old Idea; World Silk Road Link*
EIRNS—On June 27, an agreement was announced between two Alaska rail companies to cooperate on building the missing link between the Canadian continental rail system, and the Alaska system, to finally provide continental rail connectivity. This is a century-old idea, to have North America connected by rail from the Arctic Circle southward through Canada and the U.S. into Mexico and beyond, like Lincoln’s vision for the east-west Transcontinental Railroad, going from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans. But the north-south line was never built out.
On June 27, the Alaska Railroad Corporation (ARRC) and the Alaska to Alberta Railway Development Corporation (A2A), agreed to cooperate on the plan to build a US$13 bn, 2,400 km railway between northern Alberta to join the inland terminus of Alaska’s existing rail system at the town of North Pole just southeast of Fairbanks. The two firms will collaborate on the process of getting rights of way, design specifics and financing.
The impetus for this deal comes from the desire of mining interests to have faster shipping from the inland minerals regions to Asia through the ports of Alaska. The proposed new rail corridor would run through the Canadian provinces of Alberta and British Columbia, and the Yukon Territory to near Fairbanks, then south to the south central ports in Alaska. The railway’s advocates say that using Anchorage and Valdez and other ports, will cut off four days of shipping time to Asian destinations, in comparison with any other port on the North American coast.
In the larger, strategic economic sphere, providing the continuous rail connection from inland North America all the way through Alaska, points up the possibility of a Bering Strait tunnel link to Asia, opening up the vast World Land-Bridge span from Eurasia and Africa through to South America, via North America.
The importance of this perspective has been promoted for decades by Lyndon and Helga Zepp LaRouche. In 2007, LaRouche spoke of it in Moscow, when he was a featured guest at the Academy of Sciences in May. A month earlier, a paper he wrote was given at a Moscow conference titled, "A Transcontinental Eurasia-America Transport Link via the Bering Strait." LaRouche began, "The intention to create a trans-Siberian rail system, implicitly extended across the Bering Strait, to North America, dates implicitly from the visit of Dmitry Ivanovich Mendeleyev to the 1876 U.S. Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia..."
This paper by LaRouche, "Mendeleyev Would Have Agreed," and other reports from relevant Moscow meetings that year are included in a 2007 LaRouchePAC pamphlet, "LaRouche Trip to Moscow: A Strategy for War Avoidance." Former Alaska Governor Walter Hickel spoke out strongly at the April Moscow Megaprojects conference, in favor of "Big projects as the alternative to war," and in particular, of the Bering Strait tunnel and the benefits of Russia-U.S. collaboration. They "together will change the world."
Specific requirements for the rail grid needed to connect Canada and Alaska for the Bering Strait tunnel link to Eurasia have been spelled out repeatedly by Hal B.H. Cooper, P.E., advisor to the Schiller Institute on the World Land Bridge. Cooper did a feasibility study for the Canadian Arctic Railway, a private company seeking to build the missing links. (See the Cooper interview by Richard Freeman in EIR, May 11, 2007, "Bering Strait Conference Marked ’Major Phase Shift.").