Building the World

July 2, 2014
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23% Solution

Lake Baikal, southern shore. Image: wikimedia commons.

Lake Baikal, world’s deepest lake, contains 23% of the world’s freshwater reserves. The size of Switzerland, Lake Baikal posed an almost insurmountable challenge to builders of Russia’s Trans-Siberian Railway. At first, travelers traversed the 250-meter (400-mile) lake by boat; during winter, traditional sleighs were used. Finally, 200 bridges and 33 tunnels completed the rail route, hugging the Baikal’s southern shore. The Trans-Siberian Railway inspired Wallace Hickel, twice governor of Alaska, and Mead Treadwell, current lieutenant governor, to visit Russia to consider development of a link across the Bering Strait. In 2012, Ernst Frankel described the potential of such a route. How can the environmental integrity of lakes, rivers, and oceans be preserved while exploring transport options?

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

May 7, 2014
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New Channel in the Chunnel

 

Mobile Communications in the Chunnel. Image: wikimedia.

On May 6 (same opening day as the Eiffel Tower), Queen Elizabeth travelled by rail to Calais where a train carrying French President Mitterand awaited; the engines were positioned nose-to-nose in what some quipped was a tech galoche. Heads of State then chunneled to Folkestone for a twin ceremony on the British side. Thus, in 1994, was the Channel Tunnel “born.” On its 20th birthday, in 2014, Eurotunnel announced new kind of channel in the Chunnel: mobile telephone and internet communications.

For more:

http://www.eurotunnelgroup.com/uploadedFiles/assets-uk/Media/Press-Releases/2014-Press-Releases/060514.TelMobileTunnelSud.pdf

http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/may/6/newsid_2511000/2511653.stm

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

September 27, 2013
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2020 Vision: Seikan and Chunnel

Seikan Tunnel, Japan. Courtesy of Wikimedia.

Japan will host the Olympics in 2020. What innovations might appear? Shinkansen, fast-trains developed and inaugurated for the Tokyo 1964 Games, proved to be successful — in safety and profitability — from the first day of operation. Japan’s Seikan Tunnel, completed for rail traffic in 1988, confirms the convenience of rapid rail; when the tunnel opened, it largely replaced ferryboats plying the Tsugaru Strait between Honshu and Hokkaido. Similarly, the Channel Tunnel, with debut of rail service in March 1995, improved travel time from London to Paris to just over two hours. Environmental benefits are among those recognized and valued. What will Japan offer in 2020? Japanese animation may introduce spokesperson Sakura Heiwa (http://tokyomewmewfanon.wikia.com/wiki/Sakura_Heiwa). Might new transport designed for the Olympics welcoming so many nations include representatives, images, art, music, and poetry promoting Peace?

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

September 2, 2013
by buildingtheworld
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High-Speed Trains: Shinkansen to Hyperloop

Image by Elon Musk, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

When Japan pioneered high-speed trains, the new form of intercity transport was successful and profitable immediately. Why? Japan’s Shinkansen opened 10 days before the Tokyo Olympics in 1964, guaranteeing plenty of users and global publicity. Linking Paris and London via train service through the Channel Tunnel proved successful in 1995. With high-speed rail now common in Europe and other areas of the globe, is the world ready for Hyperloop? Will the 2020 Olympics, in Tokyo once again, debut transport innovations, perhaps patterned on Elon Musk’s 2013 proposal for passenger travel from Los Angeles to San Francisco in 30 minutes? http://www.teslamotors.com/sites/default/files/blog_images/hyperloop-alpha.pdf

Building the World Blog by Kathleen Lusk Brooke and Zoe G Quinn is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

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