Train to Shangri-la

The whole project will cost about 216 bil­lion yuan, while the train will travel at 200 km/h

China Daily (USA) - - FRONT PAGE - By DAQIONG in Lhasa and LUOWANGSHU in Bei­jing Li Yang con­trib­uted to this story. Con­tact the writ­ers at luowangshu@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

The 216 bil­lion yuan Sichuan-Tibet rail­way will travel at 200 km/hr and be­gin con­struc­tion in 2018 and be fin­ished in 2025.

The rail­way will ef­fec­tively boost tourism, and bring a new Shangri-La to the world and tan­gi­ble rev­enue to lo­cal peo­ple.” He Ping, tourism agency man­ager in Chengdu

The most dif­fi­cult part of the Sichuan-Tibet rail­way, the Kangding-Ny­ingchi sec­tion, will be­gin con­struc­tion in 2018, ac­cord­ing to the Na­tional De­vel­op­ment and Re­form Com­mis­sion.

As the sec­ond rail­way con­nect­ing Tibet with the rest of the coun­try, the project is ex­pected to be com­pleted in 2025, five years ear­lier than planned.

The 1,838-km track starts in Chengdu, Sichuan prov­ince, the low­lands of China’s south­west­ern re­gion, and will pass through Sichuan prov­ince’s Ya’an and Kangding, and Tibet’sNy­ingchi and Lhasa.

The new line will re­duce the travel time from Chengdu to Lhasa to about 13 hours. It takes up to three days to drive from Chengdu to Lhasa. The other rail­way con­nect­ing Tibet, the Qing­hai-Tibet rail­way, takes 21 hours from Qing­hai to Lhasa.

Con­struc­tion of the east and west sec­tions be­gan in 2014 and 2015 re­spec­tively.

The whole project will cost about 216 bil­lion yuan ($32 bil­lion). The high­est speed the train will reach will be 200 km/h.

Sun Yongfu, an aca­demi­cian of the Chi­nese Academy of En­gi­neer­ing, said that the new line will travel through the most com­pli­cated ge­o­graph­i­cal area in the world.

“It will cross many fault zones,” Sun said, adding that ge­o­log­i­cal dif­fi­cul­ties, in­clud­ing land­slides, earth­quakes and avalanches, will be over­come in the project.

Perched at more than 3,000 me­ters above sea level, and with more than 74 per­cent of its length run­ning on bridges or in tun­nels, the rail­way will me­an­der through the moun­tains, the high­est of which is over 7,000 me­ters.

It will also cross the Min­jiang, Jin­sha­jiang and Yar­lung Zangbo rivers, said Lin Shi­jin, a se­nior civil engi­neer at China Rail­way Corp.

The south­east is the most pop­u­lous re­gion in Tibet, and the west of Sichuan is the least de­vel­oped re­gion of the prov­ince. The two re­gions are filled with breath­tak­ing nat­u­ral views and fas­ci­nat­ing eth­nic cul­tures.

“The rail­way will ef­fec­tively boost tourism, bring a new Shangri-La to the world and tan­gi­ble rev­enue to lo­cal peo­ple,” said He Ping, a tourism agency man­ager in Chengdu.

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