aving already covered much of its land area in high-speed tracks, China has now set its sights on the seas, green-lighting the country’s first underwater bullet train route.
The future route will connect the Zhejiang port city of Ningbo to the archipelago of Zhoushan off the coast. The 71-kilometer high-speed rail line will include a 16.2-kilometer undersea section, according to China’s Xinhua news agency. For reference, the world’s longest undersea train tunnel is the Channel Tunnel at 37.9 kilometers.
With trains running at a max speed of 250 kilometers per hour, the new rail line will significantly reduce the commute time to Zhoushan, which is currently serviced only by a single packed expressway from the mainland.
A feasibility study into the bullet train route was concluded this month. It’s estimated that the project will cost 25.2 billion yuan ($3.6 billion), begin next year, and be completed by 2025.
Ningbo is one of China’s most important port cities while Zhoushan is fast developing special economic zone that will soon be home to Boeing’s first overseas factory. Taken together, the Ningbo-Zhoushan port is the world’s busiest in terms of cargo tonnage, handling 888.96 million tons of cargo in 2015.