Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
Qingzang railway

Qingzang railway

Discussion
Ask a question about 'Qingzang railway'
Start a new discussion about 'Qingzang railway'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia

The Qinghai–Xizang railway, Qingzang railway, or Qinghai–Tibet railway , is a high-elevation railway that connects Xining
Xining
Xining is the capital of Qinghai province, People's Republic of China, and the largest city on the Tibetan Plateau. It has 2,208,708 inhabitants at the 2010 census whom 1,198,304 live in the built up area made of 4 urban districts.-History:...

, Qinghai Province
Qinghai
Qinghai ; Oirat Mongolian: ; ; Salar:) is a province of the People's Republic of China, named after Qinghai Lake...

, to Lhasa
Lhasa
Lhasa is the administrative capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China and the second most populous city on the Tibetan Plateau, after Xining. At an altitude of , Lhasa is one of the highest cities in the world...

, Tibet Autonomous Region
Tibet Autonomous Region
The Tibet Autonomous Region , Tibet or Xizang for short, also called the Xizang Autonomous Region is a province-level autonomous region of the People's Republic of China , created in 1965....

, in People's Republic of China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

.

The total length of Qingzang railway is 1956 km (1215 mi). Construction of the 815 km (506 mi) section between Xining
Xining
Xining is the capital of Qinghai province, People's Republic of China, and the largest city on the Tibetan Plateau. It has 2,208,708 inhabitants at the 2010 census whom 1,198,304 live in the built up area made of 4 urban districts.-History:...

 and Golmud
Golmud
Golmud , sometimes transliterated as Ge'ermu or Geermu, is a county-level city in Qinghai Province, Western China. Administrated by Haixi Mongol and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, it is the second largest city in Qinghai and the third largest in the Tibetan Plateau . The population is now about...

 was completed by 1984. The 1142 km (709 mi) section between Golmud
Golmud
Golmud , sometimes transliterated as Ge'ermu or Geermu, is a county-level city in Qinghai Province, Western China. Administrated by Haixi Mongol and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, it is the second largest city in Qinghai and the third largest in the Tibetan Plateau . The population is now about...

 and Lhasa was inaugurated on 1 July 2006 by president Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao
Hu Jintao is the current Paramount Leader of the People's Republic of China. He has held the titles of General Secretary of the Communist Party of China since 2002, President of the People's Republic of China since 2003, and Chairman of the Central Military Commission since 2004, succeeding Jiang...

: the first two passenger trains were "Qing 1" (Q1) from Golmud to Lhasa, and "Zang 2" (J2) from Lhasa. This railway is the first to connect the Tibet Autonomous Region
Tibet Autonomous Region
The Tibet Autonomous Region , Tibet or Xizang for short, also called the Xizang Autonomous Region is a province-level autonomous region of the People's Republic of China , created in 1965....

 to any other province, which, due to its elevation and terrain, is the last province-level entity in mainland China to have a conventional railway. Testing of the line and equipment started on 1 May 2006. Passenger trains run from Beijing
Beijing
Beijing , also known as Peking , is the capital of the People's Republic of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of 19,612,368 as of 2010. The city is the country's political, cultural, and educational center, and home to the headquarters for most of China's...

, Chengdu
Chengdu
Chengdu , formerly transliterated Chengtu, is the capital of Sichuan province in Southwest China. It holds sub-provincial administrative status...

, Chongqing
Chongqing
Chongqing is a major city in Southwest China and one of the five national central cities of China. Administratively, it is one of the PRC's four direct-controlled municipalities , and the only such municipality in inland China.The municipality was created on 14 March 1997, succeeding the...

, Guangzhou
Guangzhou
Guangzhou , known historically as Canton or Kwangchow, is the capital and largest city of the Guangdong province in the People's Republic of China. Located in southern China on the Pearl River, about north-northwest of Hong Kong, Guangzhou is a key national transportation hub and trading port...

, Shanghai
Shanghai
Shanghai is the largest city by population in China and the largest city proper in the world. It is one of the four province-level municipalities in the People's Republic of China, with a total population of over 23 million as of 2010...

, Xining
Xining
Xining is the capital of Qinghai province, People's Republic of China, and the largest city on the Tibetan Plateau. It has 2,208,708 inhabitants at the 2010 census whom 1,198,304 live in the built up area made of 4 urban districts.-History:...

 and Lanzhou
Lanzhou
Lanzhou is the capital and largest city of Gansu Province in Northwest China. A prefecture-level city, it is a key regional transportation hub, allowing areas further west to maintain railroad connections to the eastern half of the country....

.

The line includes the Tanggula Pass
Tanggula Pass
The Tanggu La or Tanggu Pass is a wide mountain pass over 5000 meters elevation in the People's Republic of China used by the Qinghai–Tibet Highway and Railway to cross the Tanggula Mountains. These mountains form part of the watershed separating the Yangtze River to the north and a zone of...

, which, at 5,072 m (16,640 feet) above sea level, is the world's highest rail track. The 1,338 m Fenghuoshan tunnel
Fenghuoshan tunnel
The Fenghuoshan Tunnel is the highest railway tunnel in the world. It is 1,338 metres long, and stands 4,905 meters above sea level...

 is the highest rail tunnel in the world at 4,905 m above sea level. The 4,010-m Guanjiao tunnel is the longest tunnel from Xining to Golmod and the 3,345-m Yangbajing tunnel
Yangbajing tunnel
The Yangbajing Tunnel is the longest tunnel of some 3,345-metres long of the Qinghai–Tibet Railway which links Xining with Lhasa across the high Tibetan Plateau of north-east China. It is 4,264 metres above sea level and located 80 kilometres NW of the Tibetan regional capital, Lhasa....

 is the longest tunnel from Golmod to Lhasa
Lhasa
Lhasa is the administrative capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China and the second most populous city on the Tibetan Plateau, after Xining. At an altitude of , Lhasa is one of the highest cities in the world...

. More than 960 km, or over 80% of the Golmud-Lhasa section, is at an elevation of more than 4,000 m. There are 675 bridges, totalling 159.88 km, and about 550 km of the railway is laid on permafrost
Permafrost
In geology, permafrost, cryotic soil or permafrost soil is soil at or below the freezing point of water for two or more years. Ice is not always present, as may be in the case of nonporous bedrock, but it frequently occurs and it may be in amounts exceeding the potential hydraulic saturation of...

.

Stations


In the Golmud to Lhasa part of the line, 45 stations are open, 38 of which are unstaffed, monitored by the control center in Xining
Xining
Xining is the capital of Qinghai province, People's Republic of China, and the largest city on the Tibetan Plateau. It has 2,208,708 inhabitants at the 2010 census whom 1,198,304 live in the built up area made of 4 urban districts.-History:...

. Thirteen more stations are planned.

Trains and tickets


The trains are specially built for high elevation environment. The diesel locomotives
Locomotive
A locomotive is a railway vehicle that provides the motive power for a train. The word originates from the Latin loco – "from a place", ablative of locus, "place" + Medieval Latin motivus, "causing motion", and is a shortened form of the term locomotive engine, first used in the early 19th...

 used on Golmud-Lhasa section were made by GE
Gê are the people who spoke Ge languages of the northern South American Caribbean coast and Brazil. In Brazil the Gê were found in Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Bahia, Piaui, Mato Grosso, Goias, Tocantins, Maranhão, and as far south as Paraguay....

 in Pennsylvania, and the passenger carriages are Chinese-made 25T carriages: on train T27/T28, between Beijing West and Lhasa, Bombardier Sifang Transportation (BSP) made carriages on the Golmud-Lhasa section in deep green/yellow or deep red/yellow. Signs in the carriages are in Tibetan
Tibetan script
The Tibetan alphabet is an abugida of Indic origin used to write the Tibetan language as well as the Dzongkha language, Denzongkha, Ladakhi language and sometimes the Balti language. The printed form of the alphabet is called uchen script while the hand-written cursive form used in everyday...

, Simplified Chinese and English. The operational speed is 120 km/h, 100 km/h over sections laid on permafrost.

The 1,142-km Qinghai–Tibet railway from Golmud to Lhasa was completed on 12 October 2005. It opened to regular trial service on 1 July 2006.

A Passenger Health Registration Card is required to take the train between Golmud and Lhasa. The card can be obtained when purchasing the ticket. Passengers must read the health notice for high-elevation travel and sign the agreement on the card to take the train. On 28 August 2006 a 75-year-old Hong Kong
Hong Kong
Hong Kong is one of two Special Administrative Regions of the People's Republic of China , the other being Macau. A city-state situated on China's south coast and enclosed by the Pearl River Delta and South China Sea, it is renowned for its expansive skyline and deep natural harbour...

 man was reported to be the first passenger to die on the train, after he had suffered heart problems in Lhasa but insisted on travelling to Xining.

At the beginning, only three daily trains were available: Beijing–Lhasa (every day), Chengdu/Chongqing–Lhasa (each every other day), Lanzhou/Xining–Lhasa. Shanghai/Guangzhou–Lhasa service were added in October 2006. In July 2010, Shanghai–Lhasa service became daily, and one more daily service between Xining and Lhasa were added, but the service then suspended as winter low season came.

Oxygen and medical supply


From October 2006 five pairs of passenger trains run between Golmud
Golmud
Golmud , sometimes transliterated as Ge'ermu or Geermu, is a county-level city in Qinghai Province, Western China. Administrated by Haixi Mongol and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, it is the second largest city in Qinghai and the third largest in the Tibetan Plateau . The population is now about...

 and Lhasa
Lhasa
Lhasa is the administrative capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China and the second most populous city on the Tibetan Plateau, after Xining. At an altitude of , Lhasa is one of the highest cities in the world...

, and one more pair between Xining and Golmud. The line has a capacity of eight pairs of passenger trains, and the carriages are specially built and have an oxygen supply for each passenger. Every passenger train has a doctor.

Construction



A projected railway to Tibet was included in Dr. Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen
Sun Yat-sen was a Chinese doctor, revolutionary and political leader. As the foremost pioneer of Nationalist China, Sun is frequently referred to as the "Father of the Nation" , a view agreed upon by both the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China...

's proposal in 1917–1920 to build 100,000 km. of track across the entire country.

Since the formation of the Tibetan Autonomous Region in early 1950s, the Chinese government pursued Dr. Sun's aim of a railway to Tibet. Engineers were sent to investigate the possibility, but a shortage of technology and money prevented the project from starting.

The capital of the Qinghai Province, Xining
Xining
Xining is the capital of Qinghai province, People's Republic of China, and the largest city on the Tibetan Plateau. It has 2,208,708 inhabitants at the 2010 census whom 1,198,304 live in the built up area made of 4 urban districts.-History:...

, became connected with the rest of the country by rail in 1959, when the Lanqing Railway
Lanqing railway
Lanqing railway was built as the first step of an ambitious plan set by the People's Republic of China to connect Tibet with the rest of China by railway. LanQing railway, designed in 1956 and built from May 1958 to September 1959, runs 188 Kilometers long, connecting Lanzhou, the capital city of...

 from Lanzhou was completed.

The 815 km section of the future Qinzang Railway from Xining
Xining
Xining is the capital of Qinghai province, People's Republic of China, and the largest city on the Tibetan Plateau. It has 2,208,708 inhabitants at the 2010 census whom 1,198,304 live in the built up area made of 4 urban districts.-History:...

 to Golmud
Golmud
Golmud , sometimes transliterated as Ge'ermu or Geermu, is a county-level city in Qinghai Province, Western China. Administrated by Haixi Mongol and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, it is the second largest city in Qinghai and the third largest in the Tibetan Plateau . The population is now about...

, Qinghai opened to traffic in 1984. But the remaining 1,142 km section from Golmud to Lhasa could not be constructed until technical difficulties of building railroad tracks on permafrost were solved. This section was formally started on 29 June 2001, finished on 12 October 2005, and signalling work and track testing took another eight months. It was completed in five years at a cost of $3.68 billion.

Track-laying in Tibet was launched from both directions, towards Tanggula Mountain and Lhasa, from Amdo Railway Station
Amdo railway station
Amdo railway station is the Qingzang railway station in Amdo County, Nagchu, Tibet.The station is located 1524 km from Xining Railway Station.- Station layout :...

 on 22 June 2004. On 24 August 2005, track was laid at the railway's highest point, the Tanggula Pass
Tanggula Pass
The Tanggu La or Tanggu Pass is a wide mountain pass over 5000 meters elevation in the People's Republic of China used by the Qinghai–Tibet Highway and Railway to cross the Tanggula Mountains. These mountains form part of the watershed separating the Yangtze River to the north and a zone of...

, 5,072 m (16,640 feet) above sea level.

There are forty-four railway stations, among them Tanggula Mountain railway station, at 5,068 m the world's highest (Cóndor station
Cóndor station
Cóndor railway station on the Rio Mulatos-Potosí line, Bolivia, is the highest station in the western hemisphere, at an altitude of 4,786 m above sea level....

, at 4,786 m, on the Rio Mulatos-Potosí line
Rio Mulatos-Potosí line
The Rio Mulatos-Potosí line is a railway line in Bolivia, containing Cóndor station, the world's ninth highest railway station . It was the world's second until the completion of the Tanggula railway station on the Qingzang railway in the Tanggula Mountains, Tibet....

, Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

, and La Galera station
Galera railway station
Galera is the second highest train station in the Western Hemisphere with an elevation of 4,777 m . It is situated in the Andes in Peru at km 172.7 on the Ferrocarril Central Andino line from Lima to Huancayo, immediately east of the 1.2 km Galera summit tunnel .The standard gauge line...

 at 4,777 m, in Peru
Peru
Peru , officially the Republic of Peru , is a country in western South America. It is bordered on the north by Ecuador and Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia, on the south by Chile, and on the west by the Pacific Ocean....

, being the next highest). The Qingzang Railway project involved more than 20,000 workers and over 6,000 pieces of industrial equipment, and is considered one of China's major accomplishments of the 21st century.

Bombardier Transportation
Bombardier Transportation
Bombardier Transportation is the rail equipment division of the Canadian firm, Bombardier Inc. Bombardier Transportation is one of the world's largest companies in the rail-equipment manufacturing and servicing industry. Its headquarters are in Berlin, Germany....

 provided 361 high-altitude passenger carriages with special enriched-oxygen and UV-protection systems, delivered between December 2005 and May 2006. Fifty-three are luxury sleeper carriages for tourist services.

The construction of the railway was part of the China Western Development
China Western Development
China Western Development , also China's Western Development, Western China Development, Great Western Development Strategy, or the Open Up the West Program is a policy adopted by the People's Republic of China to boost its less developed western regions.The policy covers 6 provinces , 5 autonomous...

 strategy, an attempt to develop the western provinces of China, which are much less developed than eastern China. The railway will be extended to Zhangmu via Shigatse
Shigatse
Shigatse is a county-level city and the second largest city in Tibet Autonomous Region , People's Republic of China, with a population of 92000, about southwest of Lhasa and northwest of Gyantse...

 (日喀则) to the west, and Dali via Nyingchi
Nyingchi
Nyingchi may refer to:*Nyingchi Prefecture, prefecture in Tibet*Nyingchi County, county in Tibet...

 (林芝) to the east. A further extension is planned to link Shigatse with Yadong near the China-India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 border (Map ). The railway is considered one of the greatest feats in modern Chinese history by the government, and as a result is often mentioned on regular TV programs. Chinese-Tibetan folk singer Han Hong
Han Hong
Han Hong is a Chinese singer and songwriter of ethnic Tibetan and Han Chinese origin. She is one of the most famous female singers in China, and has maintained her diva status since 2003. She is also a songwriter who specializes in a variety of Chinese folk music. Her signature works are Tibetan...

 has a song called Tianlu (Road to Heaven; 天路) praising the Qingzang Railway.


Future extensions


In a meeting between Chinese and Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

ese officials on 25 April 2008, the Chinese delegation announced that country's intention to extend the Qingzang railway from Lhasa to Zhangmu
Zhangmu
Zhama Town, a.k.a. Zhangmu Town , is a customs town and port of entry located in Nyalam County on the Nepal-China border, just uphill and across the Bhote Koshi River from the Nepalese town of Kodari...

 (Nepali
Nepali language
Nepali or Nepalese is a language in the Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European language family.It is the official language and de facto lingua franca of Nepal and is also spoken in Bhutan, parts of India and parts of Myanmar...

: Khasa) on the Nepalese border. Nepal had requested that the railway be extended to enable trade and tourism between the two nations. Construction of the extension is planned to be completed by 2013. On 17 August 2008, a railway spokesman confirmed plans to add six more rail lines to the Qinghai-Tibet railway. The six new tracks include one from Lhasa to Nyingchi
Nyingchi
Nyingchi may refer to:*Nyingchi Prefecture, prefecture in Tibet*Nyingchi County, county in Tibet...

 and one from Lhasa to Xigaze, both in the Tibet Autonomous Region
Tibet Autonomous Region
The Tibet Autonomous Region , Tibet or Xizang for short, also called the Xizang Autonomous Region is a province-level autonomous region of the People's Republic of China , created in 1965....

. Three tracks will originate from Golmud in Qinghai
Qinghai
Qinghai ; Oirat Mongolian: ; ; Salar:) is a province of the People's Republic of China, named after Qinghai Lake...

 province and run to Chengdu
Chengdu
Chengdu , formerly transliterated Chengtu, is the capital of Sichuan province in Southwest China. It holds sub-provincial administrative status...

 in Sichuan
Sichuan
' , known formerly in the West by its postal map spellings of Szechwan or Szechuan is a province in Southwest China with its capital in Chengdu...

 province, Dunhuang
Dunhuang
Dunhuang is a city in northwestern Gansu province, Western China. It was a major stop on the ancient Silk Road. It was also known at times as Shāzhōu , or 'City of Sands', a name still used today...

 in Gansu
Gansu
' is a province located in the northwest of the People's Republic of China.It lies between the Tibetan and Huangtu plateaus, and borders Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, and Ningxia to the north, Xinjiang and Qinghai to the west, Sichuan to the south, and Shaanxi to the east...

 province, and Korla
Korla
-Economy:Korla has long been the biggest centre in the region after Karashahr itself, having abundant water and extensive farmlands, as well as controlling the main routes to the south and west of Karashahr. Due to the discovery of oil in the Taklamakan Desert, Korla is now both more populous and...

 of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region. The sixth will link Xining
Xining
Xining is the capital of Qinghai province, People's Republic of China, and the largest city on the Tibetan Plateau. It has 2,208,708 inhabitants at the 2010 census whom 1,198,304 live in the built up area made of 4 urban districts.-History:...

, capital of Qinghai
Qinghai
Qinghai ; Oirat Mongolian: ; ; Salar:) is a province of the People's Republic of China, named after Qinghai Lake...

, with Zhangye
Zhangye
-Administration:Zhangye has 1 urban district, 4 counties, 1 autonomous county, 97 towns, and 977 villages.-Demographics:Zhangye has a total population of 1,260,000, only 260,000 being urban residents...

 in Gansu
Gansu
' is a province located in the northwest of the People's Republic of China.It lies between the Tibetan and Huangtu plateaus, and borders Mongolia, Inner Mongolia, and Ningxia to the north, Xinjiang and Qinghai to the west, Sichuan to the south, and Shaanxi to the east...

. The six lines are expected to be completed and put into operation before 2020. Construction work of the Lhasa–Shigatse extension has been started on September 26, 2010.

Potential link to India


Although the Chinese Ministry of Railways spokesman of the Qinghai–Tibet Railway has announced extending the railway southward to Shigatse, it has not confirmed a further extension eventually with India, Bangladesh and other railway networks, however the land bridge concept from time to time rumors in various newspapers.

The Qinghai–Tibet Railway once opened to traffic was not only a change in Tibet's history without railway, but also will change China and India, two Asian powers who do not have a railway on the border. In the original construction of the Qinghai–Tibet Railway, some had forecast that China will add an overseas extension of the Qinghai-Tibet railway to the border towns of East Asia, South Asia through this route.

The extension to the Shigatse region and Nyingchi has been confirmed by the relevant government departments in Tibet.
In fact, the Qinghai–Tibet Railway will be connecting close to India. An official in charge of the Tibet Autonomous Region Development and Reform Commission had pointed out: "Tibet Railway is completed, with Lhasa as the basis, will be built east of Lhasa to Nyingchi line from Lhasa to Shigatse west building line of the south building of the Qinghai-Tibet Shigatse to East Asia and other three Railway Line. These extensions will be opened to traffic within a decade. then, the three railway extension will form a large Y-shape, the length will be over two thousand kilometers. "

Although the Chinese government has never planned an extension to India's railway, many people have embarked on the possibility of this. Qinghai People's Congress, Vice Secretary General Liu Palit is one of them. In an interview, "21st Century Business Herald" interview, he supported a motion to establish a connection between the Pacific and Indian railway bridge on land, possibly linking the east coast port city of Lianyungang
Lianyungang
Lianyungang is a prefecture-level city in northeastern Jiangsu province, People's Republic of China. It borders Yancheng to its southeast, Huai'an and Suqian to its south, Xuzhou to its southwest, and the province of Shandong to its north...

, eastern China, Xi'an
Xi'an
Xi'an is the capital of the Shaanxi province, and a sub-provincial city in the People's Republic of China. One of the oldest cities in China, with more than 3,100 years of history, the city was known as Chang'an before the Ming Dynasty...

, Lanzhou
Lanzhou
Lanzhou is the capital and largest city of Gansu Province in Northwest China. A prefecture-level city, it is a key regional transportation hub, allowing areas further west to maintain railroad connections to the eastern half of the country....

, Xining
Xining
Xining is the capital of Qinghai province, People's Republic of China, and the largest city on the Tibetan Plateau. It has 2,208,708 inhabitants at the 2010 census whom 1,198,304 live in the built up area made of 4 urban districts.-History:...

, Lhasa
Lhasa
Lhasa is the administrative capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China and the second most populous city on the Tibetan Plateau, after Xining. At an altitude of , Lhasa is one of the highest cities in the world...

, Shigatse
Shigatse
Shigatse is a county-level city and the second largest city in Tibet Autonomous Region , People's Republic of China, with a population of 92000, about southwest of Lhasa and northwest of Gyantse...

, through Nepal
Nepal
Nepal , officially the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, is a landlocked sovereign state located in South Asia. It is located in the Himalayas and bordered to the north by the People's Republic of China, and to the south, east, and west by the Republic of India...

, and finally arriving in Patna
Patna
Paṭnā , is the capital of the Indian state of Bihar and the second largest city in Eastern India . Patna is one of the oldest continuously inhabited places in the world...

, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, New Delhi
New Delhi
New Delhi is the capital city of India. It serves as the centre of the Government of India and the Government of the National Capital Territory of Delhi. New Delhi is situated within the metropolis of Delhi. It is one of the nine districts of Delhi Union Territory. The total area of the city is...

, Mumbai
Mumbai
Mumbai , formerly known as Bombay in English, is the capital of the Indian state of Maharashtra. It is the most populous city in India, and the fourth most populous city in the world, with a total metropolitan area population of approximately 20.5 million...

 and Karachi (Pakistan), China and India and Pakistan to achieve rail transport.

Liu Palit thinks has stated regarding the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau in South Asia continental bridge, "The past is not the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, which route is the only choice, now, starting from Tibet, a land bridge political more meaningful. " If the idea of ​​the railway arrived in Nepal's plains region of Nepal, it is very easily connected with the Indian railway network. Experts said that "if the railway opened in Nepal, but also enable the railway system in India and Bangladesh, Nepal and China through connectivity, all countries will benefit."

As India has been extending its railway near the Nathu La
Nathu La
Nathu La is a mountain pass in the Himalayas. It connects the Indian state of Sikkim with China's Tibet Autonomous Region. The pass, at 4,310 m above mean sea level, forms a part of an offshoot of the ancient Silk Road. Nathu means "listening ears" and La means "pass" in Tibetan...

 pass with China, and China has plans to extend the Qinghai-Tibet railway to near its border with Nathu La, a petition was set up to promote the idea that both countries could link up their respective proportions for train services between the two countries. As of 26 Aug 2011, the petition had 77 members.

Engineering challenges


There are many technical difficulties for such a railway. About half of the second section was built on barely permanent permafrost
Permafrost
In geology, permafrost, cryotic soil or permafrost soil is soil at or below the freezing point of water for two or more years. Ice is not always present, as may be in the case of nonporous bedrock, but it frequently occurs and it may be in amounts exceeding the potential hydraulic saturation of...

. In the summer, the uppermost layer thaws, and the ground becomes muddy. Chinese engineers dealt with this problem by building elevated tracks with foundations sunk deep into the ground, building hollow concrete pipes beneath the tracks to keep the rail bed frozen, and using metal sun shades. Similar to the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System
Trans-Alaska Pipeline System
The Trans Alaska Pipeline System , includes the Trans Alaska Pipeline, 11 pump stations, several hundred miles of feeder pipelines, and the Valdez Marine Terminal. TAPS is one of the world's largest pipeline systems...

 portions of the track are also passively cooled with ammonia
Ammonia
Ammonia is a compound of nitrogen and hydrogen with the formula . It is a colourless gas with a characteristic pungent odour. Ammonia contributes significantly to the nutritional needs of terrestrial organisms by serving as a precursor to food and fertilizers. Ammonia, either directly or...

 based heat exchangers.

The air in Tibet is much thinner, with a oxygen
Oxygen
Oxygen is the element with atomic number 8 and represented by the symbol O. Its name derives from the Greek roots ὀξύς and -γενής , because at the time of naming, it was mistakenly thought that all acids required oxygen in their composition...

 partial pressure being 35% to 40% below the partial pressure at sea level. Special passenger carriages are used, and several oxygen factories were built along the railway. At this elevation in these latitudes, water in toilets must be heated to prevent freezing. The Chinese government claimed that no construction workers died during the construction due to altitude sickness
Altitude sickness
Altitude sickness—also known as acute mountain sickness , altitude illness, hypobaropathy, or soroche—is a pathological effect of high altitude on humans, caused by acute exposure to low partial pressure of oxygen at high altitude...

 related diseases. The railway passes the Kunlun Mountains
Kunlun Mountains
The Kunlun Mountains are one of the longest mountain chains in Asia, extending more than 3,000 km. In the broadest sense, it forms the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau south of the Tarim Basin and the Gansu Corridor and continues east south of the Wei River to end at the North China Plain.The...

, an earthquake
Earthquake
An earthquake is the result of a sudden release of energy in the Earth's crust that creates seismic waves. The seismicity, seismism or seismic activity of an area refers to the frequency, type and size of earthquakes experienced over a period of time...

 zone. A magnitude 8.1 earthquake struck in 2001. Dozens of earthquake monitors have been installed along the railway.

Economic and environmental impact


With limited industrial capacity in Tibet, the Tibetan economy heavily relies on industrial products from more developed parts of China. Transport of goods in and out of Tibet was mostly through the Qingzang Highway
China National Highway 109
China National Highway 109 connects Beijing with Lhasa. It runs westwards of Beijing via Datong, Yinchuan and Xining to Golmud before turning southwest to Lhasa...

 connecting Tibet to the adjacent Qinghai province, which was built in the early 1950s. The length and terrain have limited the capacity of the highway, with less than 1 million tons of goods transported each year. With the construction of the Qingzang railway, the cost of transportation of both passengers and goods should be greatly reduced, allowing for an increase in volume—the cost per tonne-kilometer will be reduced from 0.38 RMB to 0.12 RMB. It is projected that by 2010, 2.8 million tons will be carried to and from Tibet, with over 75% carried by the railway. This is expected to help support the Tibetan economy.

The environmental impact of the new railway is an ongoing concern. The increase in passenger traffic will result in greater tourism and economic activity on the Tibetan Plateau.

Wood is the main fuel source for rural inhabitants in certain regions of Tibet. The damage to the ecosystem caused by cutting trees for fuel takes years to recover due to slow growth caused by Tibet's harsh environmental conditions. The railway would make coal, which is not produced in Tibet, an affordable replacement. However, the increase in fuel combustion due to increased human activity in an already-thin atmosphere may affect the long term health of the local population.

Before the railway, the purchasing power of 100 RMB in Lhasa was only commensurate with 54 RMB in coastal regions of China mainly due to high transport costs, the railway could elevate the living standards along the railway.
Trash and excrement are collected into two sealed containers in each car (not thrown on the tracks), they are taken out at the big stations.

The effects of this railway on wild animals such as Tibetan antelope
Tibetan antelope
The Tibetan antelope or chiru is a medium-sized bovid which is about in height at the shoulder. It is the sole species in the genus Pantholops and is placed in its own subfamily, Pantholopinae...

 and plants are currently unknown. Thirty-three overpasses were constructed specifically to allow continued animal migration. Here is the Google Maps satellite image of one such bridge.

There are concerns from the China Meteorological Administration
China Meteorological Administration
The China Meteorological Administration , headquartered in Beijing, is the national weather service for the People's Republic of China.-History:...

 that melting of permafrost
Permafrost
In geology, permafrost, cryotic soil or permafrost soil is soil at or below the freezing point of water for two or more years. Ice is not always present, as may be in the case of nonporous bedrock, but it frequently occurs and it may be in amounts exceeding the potential hydraulic saturation of...

 caused by global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

 in Tibet on which part of the railway is placed could threaten the railway during the century.

Criticism


China has been criticised by Tibetan Independence groups for having built the railway to strengthen its political control over Tibet.

In particular, groups such as the International Campaign for Tibet
International Campaign for Tibet
The International Campaign for Tibet is a private non-profit advocacy group working to promote democratic freedoms for Tibetans, ensure their human rights, and protect the Tibetan culture and environment. Founded in 1988, ICT is the world's largest Tibet-related NGO, with a total membership of...

 have alleged that the railway will marginalize Tibetans in the Tibet Autonomous Region by encouraging further Han
Han Chinese
Han Chinese are an ethnic group native to China and are the largest single ethnic group in the world.Han Chinese constitute about 92% of the population of the People's Republic of China , 98% of the population of the Republic of China , 78% of the population of Singapore, and about 20% of the...

 immigration from the rest of China
China
Chinese civilization may refer to:* China for more general discussion of the country.* Chinese culture* Greater China, the transnational community of ethnic Chinese.* History of China* Sinosphere, the area historically affected by Chinese culture...

.

Fleet

  • 361 Bombardier Sifang Power (Qingdao) Transportation Ltd.
    Bombardier Transportation
    Bombardier Transportation is the rail equipment division of the Canadian firm, Bombardier Inc. Bombardier Transportation is one of the world's largest companies in the rail-equipment manufacturing and servicing industry. Its headquarters are in Berlin, Germany....

    /Power Corporation of Canada/China South Locomotive and Rolling Stock Industry (Group) Corporation High-Grade Coach - 308 standard cars and 53 special tourist cars
  • GE Transportation NJ2
    China Railways NJ2
    NJ2 is a class of diesel-electric locomotives employed by China Railways. Built in Erie, Pennsylvania, it is a standard GE Transportation Systems GE Dash 9-44CW and marketed as GE C38AChe. It was specially-designed for high altitude operation on the Qinghai-Tibet Railway route...

     locomotive (78 GE designation C38AChe locomotives were built)
  • Qishuyang Locomotive Factory DF8CJ 9000 series locomotive - similar to the Bombardier Transportation
    Bombardier Transportation
    Bombardier Transportation is the rail equipment division of the Canadian firm, Bombardier Inc. Bombardier Transportation is one of the world's largest companies in the rail-equipment manufacturing and servicing industry. Its headquarters are in Berlin, Germany....

    -GE Transportation Blue Tiger diesel electric locomotive

Scenery from the train window


Since the opening of Qingzang Railway, the good views of the train windows have come to be known to many people:



Xining
Xining
Xining is the capital of Qinghai province, People's Republic of China, and the largest city on the Tibetan Plateau. It has 2,208,708 inhabitants at the 2010 census whom 1,198,304 live in the built up area made of 4 urban districts.-History:...

 to Golmud
Golmud
Golmud , sometimes transliterated as Ge'ermu or Geermu, is a county-level city in Qinghai Province, Western China. Administrated by Haixi Mongol and Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, it is the second largest city in Qinghai and the third largest in the Tibetan Plateau . The population is now about...

  • Qinghai Lake
    Qinghai Lake
    Qinghai Lake , is a saline lake situated in the province of Qinghai, and is the largest lake in China. The names Qinghai and Kokonor both mean "Blue/Teal Sea/Lake" in Chinese and Mongolian. It is located about west of the provincial capital of Xining at 3,205 m above sea level in a depression...


Golmud to Lhasa
Lhasa
Lhasa is the administrative capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region in the People's Republic of China and the second most populous city on the Tibetan Plateau, after Xining. At an altitude of , Lhasa is one of the highest cities in the world...

  • Kunlun Pass
    Kunlun Pass
    Kunlun Pass is located in 59 kilometers northeast of Nanning, Guangxi.During the Second Sino-Japanese War, this pass was contended between the Japanese and the Chinese in the Battle of Kunlun Pass....

    , the east part of Kunlun Mountains
    Kunlun Mountains
    The Kunlun Mountains are one of the longest mountain chains in Asia, extending more than 3,000 km. In the broadest sense, it forms the northern edge of the Tibetan Plateau south of the Tarim Basin and the Gansu Corridor and continues east south of the Wei River to end at the North China Plain.The...

     (Hoh Xil Mountains to Bayan Har Mountains
    Bayan Har Mountains
    The Bayan Har mountains are a mountain range in south-central part of Qinghai Province and the northwestern part of Sichuan Province in the People's Republic of China. It can be viewed as one of the branches of the Kunlun Mountains...

    ), Yuzhu Peak
    Yuzhu Peak
    Yuzhu Peak , also known as Sob Gangri is a mountain in Qinghai Province, China. It belongs to the eastern part of the Kunlun Mountains and its height is 6,224 meters above sea level....

     and its Glacier
    Glacier
    A glacier is a large persistent body of ice that forms where the accumulation of snow exceeds its ablation over many years, often centuries. At least 0.1 km² in area and 50 m thick, but often much larger, a glacier slowly deforms and flows due to stresses induced by its weight...

  • Fenghua Mountain Tunnel
  • Kekexili Grassland

  • Tuotuo River Bridge
  • Tanggula Railway Station
    Tanggula railway station
    The Tanggula railway station is a railway station located in Amdo County, Tibet Autonomous Region, China, near the border with the Tanggula Town, Qinghai...

    , Tanggula Mountains
    Tanggula Mountains
    Tanggula Mountains Shanmai) are a mountain range in the central part of the Tibetan Plateau. Administratvely, the western part of the range is in Nagqu Prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region; the highest, central part, in the border area of Nagqu Prefecture and Tanggula Town of the Qinghai...

    , Tanggula Mountain
  • Amdo
    Amdo County
    Amdo County. is a small county within the Nagchu Prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region.Its capital is Pagnag, located at 32°15'50" North, 91°40'50" East. Pagnag has a station on the new railway from Golmud to Lhasa. There is a major rail depot 3 km west of the town....

     Grassland
  • Tsonag Lake
    Tsonag Lake
    Tsonag Lake is one of the highest fresh water lakes, located in northern Tibet. Its area is approximately 300 square kilometers, and it is at 4594 meters above sea level....

  • Nagchu
    Nagchu County
    Nagqu County is a county within the Nagchu Prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region, western People's Republic of China...

     Grassland
  • Nyenchen Tanggula Mountains
    Nyenchen Tanglha
    Nyenchen Tanglha or Nyainqêntanglha is a mountain range lying approximately 300 kilometer north-west of Lhasa in central Tibet.The range's highest peak, Mount Nyainqêntanglha, stands at 7,162 metres in Damxung County; the nearest town to this peak is Yangbajain.The mountain range has more than...

  • Damxung
    Damxung County
    Damxung is a county far north of the main centre of Lhasa in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. Its administrative seat is Damquka.Damxung means "selected pasture" in Tibetan language.-Geography:...

     Grassland
  • Lhasa River
    Kyi River
    The Kyi river alias Lhasa river is a northern tributary of the Yarlung Zangbo in Tibet....

     Bridge



The Gallery of the Scenery from the Train Window:

External links