The Silk Road 2023

Another brand spanking new 'city' is being designed and built on desert sands of the Persian Gulf and this will be the new location of the world's tallest building. This time, this city will not be located in the United Arab Emirates but in Kuwait. This new city will be built in the northern desert of Kuwait, in Subiya and will be connected to Kuwait city by bridge. It will be called Madinat al-Hareer or the City of Silk. In the center of this new city which will be similar in size to Edinburgh, Scotland, will be the future tallest skyscraper in the world - Burj Mubarak al-Kabir. This building will essentially be 7 neighborhoods stacked on top of each other. At the highest point it will be twice the height of Taipei 101 (1,670 ft). My interest in this project however, is not in this insanely tall building or the new media, finance, health, sport zones, or the new airport or port - but in the new very ambitious railway system that spans the historic Silk Road.
The historic Silk Route/ Silk Road (image from Wikipedia)
The Silk Road was the historic path of traders and merchants that connected China and India to Europe through the Middle East. What the tiny country of Kuwait plans to create is a rail network that will connect Kuwait to Syria, Iraq, Iran, Israel and China. And while this goal may seem rather lofty, the government of Kuwait has apparently been in discussion with these countries since 1998 and the funding for this endeavor is already all in place. The first part of this rail project will be the inner-city metro of Kuwait City that will connect to the larger railway system to the other GCC countries which include Bahrain, Qatar, UAE, Saudi Arabia and Oman.
When I first read about this development, I immediately had images of the luxury and excess of the Orient Express, and the comfort and speed of the Japanese Bullet trains dancing in my head; and I was reminded of the sense of freedom and joy I experienced with my Eurorail pass traveling to country after country in Europe during my college days. For me, trains have always had an aura of romance and mystery that have escaped air travel, especially these days with horrid lines at airports and the dire lack of service from airlines, not to mention rising costs. Of course it will be quite some time before this railway system is operational, the designers anticipate 2023 - and who knows what transportation will look like then. Oh, the possibilities!

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