Wednesday, 26 October 2011
I don't remember a time when I wasn't enchanted with the idea of overnight train travel. But the trip that took my long-held-but-abstract love of sleeper trains and made it real was our 2008 honeymoon journey on the transmongolian line, from St Petersburg to Beijing. Indeed, we've often talked about going back to do it - or the transsiberian line to Vladivostok - again in the winter.
Even then, there were rumours of possible Russian investment in opening up a tunnel to the Americas. It didn't seem likely to happen, but the idea caught my imagination. A couple of days ago, the story was suddenly in the news again.
If it does ever happen, I'll be first in line for a ticket. I'd take the train from London to Paris, through Europe to Moscow, across Siberia to eastern Russia, through the new tunnel to Alaska, and down (eventually) to New York and the week-long sail back to England. I think the whole trip would probably take three to four weeks, even without sightseeing breaks, so it would take quite some planning.
But don't hold your breath - even if everything happens on schedule, the line wouldn't be open before 2041.
Meanwhile, if the idea attracts you as much as it does me, go and watch the BBC video that shows the proposed route in detail.