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Construction of Lhasa-Shigatse Railway is expected to be completed in the end of 2013

Time:2013-5-23By: TiffanySource: China.com.cn

Lhasa-Shigatse Railway under Construction

The Lhasa-Shigatse Railway connected with the Qinghai-Tibet Railway on May 20th, 2013. That means Lhasa-Shigatse Railway meets the basic requirement of locomotive operation. It is predicted that the railway track will be laid in the end of the 2013.

It is reported that the Lhasa-Shigatse Railway is the extension line of Qinghai-Tibet Railway. It is an important part of the long-term railway network project of China. Lhasa-Shigatse Railway starts from Lhasa (the terminal of Qinghai-Tibet Railway) in the east and stretches toward Shigatse. This railway enjoys a total length of 253 kilometers, among which 90 kilometers of them are stretching in the canyon area. There are 13 stations along the Lhasa-Shigatse Railway and the train operation speed would not be slower than 120 kilometers each hour. The annual volume of freight traffic would reach 8.3 million tons. Then local Tibetans living along the Lhasa-Shigatse Railway will have one more choice in transportation. The construction of Lhasa-Shigatse Railway was started in 2011 and it is planning to be completed and put into operation within 4 years.

The track connection work of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway and Lhasa-Shigatse Railway was started on May 14th. With the cooperative working of the engineers and workers, the rail, signal, electricity and some other engineering equipment were completed in the night of May 20th. Nearly 100 kilometers of the Lhasa-Shigatse Railway had been laid with track so far. The construction headquarter is planning to complete all the track laying work till the end of 2013, which means the Lhasa-Shigatse is hopefully to be put into operation in 2014.

The transportation condition in Tibet is greatly improved after the world famous Qinghai-Tibet Railway was put into operation on July 1st, 2006. Both tourists and local Tibetans could travel between Lhasa and some other domestic cities conveniently. The direct train to Lhasa from Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, XiAn and Lanzhou were continuously opened to meet the demands of tourists.

As we all known, the tourism industry plays important role in the economic growth in Tibet for there are rich natural and cultural tourism resources on Tibet Plateau. And the operation of the railways will greatly promote the local tourism development. Before the operation of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, Tibet only received about 1.5 million visitors and realized a total tourism revenue around 1.8 billion RMB in 2005. According to the latest statistics provided by Tibet Tourism Bureau, Tibet has received more than 10 million visitors and realized a total tourism revenue of 13.2 billion RMB in 2012.

Shigatse is the political, religious and cultural center of Tsang Area, and also the residence of the Panchen Lamas. The noted scenic spots (such as the Mt. Everest Base Camp, Tashilhunpo Monastery and Sakya Monastery) here attract large number tourists both at home and abroad. The operation of the Lhasa-Shigatse Railway allows tourists to make a Shigatse tour from Lhasa by train. Actually, the transportation cost is pretty high during the peak season of Tibet tour.

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