Inside transcontinental railroad tunnel
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Inside first transcontinental railroad tunnel

In the 1860s, America built the first transcontinental railroad across the country and many of the labourers who cut the tunnels by hand for a pittance in wages were Chinese.

Today, President Obama has made high-speed rail a priority, with the first line planned for California.

The Chinese are again involved, but this time proposing to design it, build it and part-fund it.

Quite a turnaround, which says a great deal about the changing world order.

Alastair Leithead visits one of the sites on the route of the original transcontinental railroad, in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California.

  • 24 Jun 2011