Yunnan-Tibet Railway
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Yunnan-Tibet Railway

Update: Apr. 17th, 2013

Yunnan-Tibet Railway

The Yunnan-Tibet Railway under planning stretches to Lhasa in Tibet from Kunming in Yunnan Province. The ideal for the construction of Yunnan-Tibet Railway had been brought up early in 1990s. It is recorded that the Chinese railway experts proposed four schemes on the railway to Tibet, including the Sichuan-Tibet Railway, Yunnan-Tibet Railway, Gansu-Tibet Railway and Qinghai-Tibet Railway. The Qinghai-Tibet Railway scheme was carried out firstly for its construction is relatively easier compared to the Yunan-Tibet Railway.

Yunnan-Tibet Railway – Section between Kunming and Shangri-la

The Kunming-Guangtong Section of the Yunnan-Tibet Railway is also a section of the settled Chengdu-Kunming Railway. This section has been completed and put into operation in 1969. The Guangtong-Dali Section of Yunnan-Tibet Railway with a length of 206 kilometers was completed in 1998. The Dali-Lijiang Section of Yunnan-Tibet Railway was completed in 2009. The section between Lijiang and Shangri-la with a length of 161 kilometers is under construction and the construction is expected to be finished in 2015.

Yunnan-Tibet Railway – Section between Shangri-la and Lhasa

The construction of the section between Shangri-la and Lhasa (about 900 kilometers) has not started yet. The complicated topography in this section has been the largest challenge for the construction of the Yunnan-Tibet Railway. It is reported that the railway will cross the Luole Mountain, Yeka, Baima Snow Mountain, Lantsang River and Meili Snow Mountain. Long tunnels and bridge will be great difficulties in the construction of the Yunnan-Tibet Railway. After enter into Tibet via Meili Snow Mountain, Yunnan-Tibet Highway will leading to Nyingchi via Bitog, Zhayu, Zuogong, Basu, Angiula Mountain Pass, Bome, Tongmai and Demula. Angiula Mountain Pass with an altitude of 4442 meters is the highest point of Yunnan-Tibet Railway.

Yunnan Province borders on Tibet Autonomous Region. But the two regions didn't have much communication due to the laggard transportation. The ancient Tea-Horse Road was the sole passage between Tibet and Yunnan in ancient times. The Yunnan-Tibet Highway was constructed in 1970s. Though the communication between Yunnan and Tibet was not depending on the horse any more, the Yunnan-Tibet Highway with poor road condition could not fully meet the communication demand between Yunnan and Tibet.

Yunnan-Tibet Railway – Significence

The construction and operation of the Yunnan-Tibet Railway will greatly promote the development of the manufacture industry, tourism industry, mineral industry and the agricultural products market both in Yunnan Province and Tibet. The Yunnan-Tibet Railway will greatly complete the transportation network in southeastern China.

It is reported that the Dali-Lijiang Railway will extend to Deqen, the junction of Yunnan Province and Tibet. At the same time, Qinghai-Tibet Railway will extend to Nyingchi in eastern Tibet and finally connects with the Yunnan-Tibet Railway in Nyingchi. Then Nyingchi will be an important station on Yunnan-Tibet Railway. Tourists planning to join the Tibet train tours are expected to choose the Yunnan-Tibet Railway several years later. The operation of the Yunnan-Tibet Railway will great relive the current Tibet transportation burden and tourists don't need to be worried about the air ticket or train ticket to Tibet in the future.

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