(TibetanReview.net, Feb18, 2011) The Lhasa-Xigaze railway, the first extension of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway which opened in Jul 2006, will be completed by 2015, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Feb 16. The report said the project will be completed as one of the Tibetan Plateau region's key construction projects during the 2011-2015 period when work for building a railway line to Nyingtri will also begin.
The report said the 253-km new line will pass through five counties as well as the 90-km-long Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon in Menling County of Nyingtri Prefecture. Construction has been on since Sep 2010, with a budget of 13.3 billion yuan (US$ 1.95 billion).
The report said that apart from carrying passengers, the new railway line will have a freight capacity of 8.3 million tonnes per year. It added that with the new airport that opened in Shigatse in Nov’10, the new railway line will play a vital role in boosting tourism and accelerating the transport of natural resources.
Xigatse (Tibetan: Shigatse) is the second largest city in the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) after Tibet’s capital Lhasa and is also populated predominantly by Chinese immigrants.
The report also said that within the period of 2011-15, work will begin for the building another extension of the railway, which will be from Lhasa to Nyingchi (Tibetan: Ningtri), and will be completed in the next five years.