Inhabitat has a post on an extremely ambitious Chinese plan to build high speed rail links to Europe - China To Connect Its High Speed Rail All The Way To Europe. Remember the time when the US used to have enough ambition (beyond invading foreign oil fields of course) to attempt large scale engineering projects ?
China already has the most advanced and extensive high speed rail line in the world, and soon that network will be connected all the way to Europe and the UK! With initial negotiations and surveys already complete, China is now making plans to connect its high speed rail line through 17 other countries in Asia and Eastern Europe in order to connect to the existing infrastructure in the EU. Additional rail lines will also be built into South East Asia as well as Russia, in what will likely become the largest infrastructure project in history.
China hopes to complete this massive infrastructure project within 10 years, which will include three major rail lines running at speeds of 320 km/hour. The first will go from King’s Cross Station in London all the way to Beijing (8,100 km as the crow flies) and will take approximately two days. This line will also then extend down to Singapore. A second HSR line will connect into Vietnam, Thailand, Burma and Malaysia. The last line to be built will connect Germany to Russia, cross Siberia and then back into China. The exact routes have yet to be determined.
Financing and planning for this monstrous project is actually being provided by China, who is already in serious negotiations with 17 countries to develop the project. China states that other countries, like India, came to them first to get the project rolling, because of their experience in designing and building their own HSR network. Financing for the infrastructure will be provided by China and in return the partnering nation will provide natural resources to China. For instance, Burma, which is about to build its link, will exchange lithium (used in batteries), in order for China to build the line.
China benefits because it will be able to transport materials cheaply into manufacturing centers inside its borders and the Eastern Hemisphere benefits by getting a fast, efficient, low carbon transportation system. Considering China has already become the global leader in HSR, their leadership in this new venture could reasonably shift the balance of power in their direction. Also, get ready for a huge influx of HSR station designs in the coming years.