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Building of Lhasa-Xigaze railway begins

09-26-2010 18:46 BJT

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Construction is now underway of the Lhasa-Xigaze railway in the Tibet Autonomous Region. It's an extension of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway and is scheduled to be finished in four years.

The new line will add more than 250 kilometers to the Qinghai-Tibet Railway. It will include twenty-nine tunnels and 96 bridges.

Two of the tunnels will be built in the middle section of the Lhasa-Xigaze railway, the Yalung zangbo(Ya-lu-tsang-pu) Grand Canyon. The tunnels will be 17 kilometers long, and it is the first time that China will have built such a long tunnel at a high altitude.

Li Jincheng, commander of Lhasa-Xigaze Railway, said, "The main problem is the ventilation. The engines are diesel and it is difficult for them to pass through such a long tunnel. The longest is usually 7 or 8 kilometers."

Heat is another problem for the Lhasa-Xigaze railway with ten hot springs along the route, posing great difficulties for its construction.

Li Jincheng said, "Firstly, we will use a heat-proof material, and it is important to insulate against the heat after construction. Secondly, we will reinforce the rock surface."

Experts say the heat will not affect the railway's operation. The route also avoids nature reserves and wetlands.

The extension will have 13 new stations and trains will run at 120 kilometers per hour.

The line will have an annual capacity of more than 8.3 million tons of goods and will replace the need to move everything in the area by road.

The Qinghai-Tibet railway is the longest plateau railway in the world at more than 1,900 kilometers. More than 960 kilometers lies at an altitude of over 4,000 meters and 550 kilometers pass through frozen earth .

The Kunlun mountain tunnel is the longest plateau tunnel in the world with a length of 1,686 meters.

The Qinghai-Tibet railway which began operation in July 2006, has carried more than 30 million passengers. The Tibet Autonomous Region's GDP reached 43.7 billion yuan last year. That's a near 60 percent increase on 2005, before the railway opened.

Editor:Zhang Ning |Source: CNTV

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