Japan plans to extend the Trans-Siberian Railway to Tokyo

The Japanese government is planning to extend the Trans-Siberian Railway to Tokyo, meaning it will be possible to travel from London to Tokyo by train.

At the moment, the Trans-Siberian Railway and the Channel Tunnel allows train transport from London to Russia’s eastern coast via Moscow. The railway currently ends at the city of Vladivostok near Russia’s border with North Korea. The Japanese government plans to extend the Trans-Siberian Railway to Tokyo using two tunnels.

The Trans-Siberian Railway celebrates its 100th birthday today.

The plans suggested by the Japanese government would see trains traveling from Russia to the island of Sakhalin by bridge before passing through a 26-mile tunnel on to the Japanese island of Hokkaido and then on to Tokyo.

The Siberian Times reported a Japanese government official as saying: “The ventures are seen as leading to a revival of not only commercial traffic between the two countries but also to increased tourism and other human contacts.”

The Kremlin “is keen to make a great leap forward in developing the Russian Far East”.

The Japanese are also considering plans increase traffic on the Trans-Siberian Railway, which is slow compared with its own routes and those in the west. Russia is planning for a high-speed link on the first leg of the route from Moscow to Kazan.

However, there is the possibility that Moscow might reject the plans due to Tokyo’s demands to hand over the Kuril Islands, which Stalin took for the Soviet Union at the end of the Second World War. The two countries have not signed a peace treaty ending the war over the territorial dispute.

President Vladimir Putin is due to visit Japan in December.