Chronology of Bering Strait Project

8 de junio de 2007

**William Gilpin (1813--1894), an American System ally of President Abraham Lincoln, proposed a railroad line going over the Bering Straits, connecting North America and Russia, as part of his idea that all great cities would be linked by railroads. In 1861, Lincoln appointed Gilpin the first Governor of the Colorado Territories.

**Toward the end of the nineteenth century, the first proposals started to come in Russia, on building a railroad track between Yakutsk, Russia and the Bering Strait. Several options were considered for the road, which was to head south-east and connect Yakutsk with the Sea of Okhotsk and further continue along the coast via Magadan and to the Bering Strait.

**At the start of the twentieth century, there was the proposal and capital raised to form the Trans Alaska Siberia Company, that would build a railroad line extending from North Dakota (which was already connected to U.S. rail lines) through Canada to Nome, Alaska, the latter of which city is within 100 miles of the Bering Strait. As well, there would be a railroad built from the Chukotka region of Russia (now the Chukotka Autonomous region), which borders on the Bering Strait, heading southwest, which would connect to Russia's Trans Siberian Railroad.

Funds were raised to fund the initial feasibility studies for the 5,650 mile rail system from the United States to Russia. The idea was that New York, Moscow, and Paris could all be joined together for world peace. The company was advanced towards raising the $300 million required in 1907 to complete both the Russian and American railway land components, when British allied interests halted the railway. The alliances of World War I, put a permanent halt to this effort.

**In 1902, Loek de Lobel, the famous French explorer, approached the Russian Imperial Technical Society with a proposal to explore the length of the future track from Yakutsk to Bering Strait and further to Alaska up to the point where it would connect with an existing track. Upon receiving the approval of the Russian and French government de Lobel set up the first committee for promotion of this project, and a second such committee, affiliated with the American Railroad Administration, was created in New-York. The explorer delivered several reports on his work at the Paris Geographical Society in Sorbonne.

In October, 1906, the Russian Government Commission on the creation of the Great Northern Route held discussions attended by four American, one French and one Canadian representative. It was decided to expedite work on the project putting Lobel and an American engineer Waddel in charge. Preliminary technical parameters for the track were set. Construction was supposed to be carried out by the New Jersey Construction Company under a 90-year contract which entitled it to a strip of land 24 kilometers wide and an area of 150,000 square miles Plots of land on both sides of the track were to be divided in chessboard pattern between Russia and the contractor.

In March, 1907, the Russian government terminated the contract agreement having decided its terms were not favorable.

**In April, 1918, head of government Vladimir Lenin told the All-Russian Executive Committee of the need to intensify the construction of railroads, first of all in the north, including those reaching the Bering Strait, to expedite exploration of natural resources. Projects for building a track from Yakutsk to the ports Ayan and Eikan and to Nikolayevsk-on-Amur, reaching the Bering Strait were again on the agenda.

**1930s-1950s, head of government Joseph Stalin puts himself personally in charge of the Polar Track project for building Northern Siberian railroad from Vorkuta to Anadyr.

**In 1942, during World War II, the Seattle-district of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers conducted a feasibility study to build a proposed railroad line, from Prince George, in British Columbia, Canada, to Fairbanks, Alaska, and thence to Teller, a city in Alaska's northwest. The Army Corp projected for this project, a capital construction cost of $87 million for the 1,417 mile route, and a purchase cost for rolling stock (locomotives, etc.) of $24 million. The initial idea was to ferry war-time supplies needed by Russia, from the Alaskan port of Teller, to the Chukotkan port of Uelen, {until a railway tunnel across the Bering Straits would be built}. Another railroad would then be built, heading westward, from Uelen, Chukotka to Egvekinot, and to a junction where it could then proceed to one or both of two Russian rail corridors. One rail corridor route would go along the south shore of the Arctic Ocean to Vorkuta, to join the newly completed 1,100 mile long rail line to Moscow.

President Franklin Roosevelt's personal emissary to Russia, Harry Hopkins, had raised the idea of this rail proposal, following a trip to Moscow, and briefed Roosevelt, U.S. Secretary of State Cordell Hull, and Roosevelt's uncle, Frederic Delano. Among others, Roosevelt's uncle urged him to fund the Army Corps feasibility study. After the June, 1942 U.S. defeat of a Japanese carrier force at Midway Island, the project was deferred.

After the end of World War II, Joseph Stalin contacted President Harry S Truman to restart discussions about connecting the Russian and U.S. rail networks, through a tunnel under the Bering Strait. Truman rebuffed Stalin.

**In 1991, the nonprofit corporation "Inter-hemispheric Bering Strait Tunnel and Railroad Group" (IBSTRG) - "Transcontinental" was officially registered in Washington, DC. The founding members on the American side were the State of Alaska, the American Railroad Association, and several large railroad, construction, and consulting companies, as well as extraction companies. In Russia, a division of the corporation was set up under director V.N. Razbegin, a vice-president of IBSTRG, as well the Coordination Research and Development Committee under its first chairman academician P.A. Melnikov. Participants on the Russian side included the the Railroad Ministry, the Energy and Fuel Ministry, the Committee on the North, the Economics and Finance Ministry, the Construction Ministry, Unified Energy Systems, Transstroi Corporation and the Russian Academy of Sciences. Overall, 40 organizations were involved.

**In 1992, Lyndon and Helga-Zepp LaRouche, founders of the Schiller Institute, presented the proposal for a Eurasian Land-Bridge, that would connect European, Asia, and the whole world through efficient, high-speed rail networks and accompanying development corridors to reconstruct the shattered world economy. The proposal called for either a tunnel or a bridge to connect rail systems across the Bering Strait.

**In 1994, the American Engineering Association held a conference in Fairbanks, Alaska, entitled, "The Bering Strait Tunnel." Participants included V.N. Razbegin, vice-president of IBSTRG, and Hal Cooper, a consulting engineer of Cooper Engineering

**In the April 16, 1994 issue, {Executive Intelligence Review} magazine, founded by Lyndon LaRouche, published an article by engineer Hal Cooper, "Bering Strait Tunnel and Railway Project Will Boost Pacific Development."

**From May 7-9, 1996, in Beijing, China, at a conference, entitled, "International Symposium on Economic Development of the Regions Along the Euro-Asia Continental Bridge," Helga Zepp-LaRouche presented a speech, "building the Silk-Road Land-Bridge."

**In March, 1998-- A draft resolution was introduced to the Russian government on the necessity to hold complex research on the possibility of building a poly-track, which was coordinated with the Railroad Ministry, the Construction Ministry, the Committee on the North, the head of the administration of the Chukotka autonomous region and the presidents of Unified Energy Systems and the Transstroi Corporation.

**In July, 2006, IBSTRG president J. Kumala addressed US President George W. Bush on this subject.

**On September 28, 2006, at a meeting at the Federal Agency for Railroad Transport (Roszheldor), the decision was taken to build the Yakutsk-Magadan track with its further extension to the Bering Strait.