The length of the existing Qinghai-Tibet railway is 1956 KM; even the shortest train ride from departure city of Xining takes 24 hours to reach Lhasa. Although now China has several Lhasa-bound trains from big cities, like Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Guangzhou, Chongqing and etc, yet they all takes more than 40 hours. This pace, however, obviously cannot meet the high-speed development of China–this new economic and political power. So, to build a new railway of shorter distance and higher speed is of great importance. With Sichuan tibet Railway can reduce time down to 8 hours only.
Against this background, Chengdu, as the biggest city in southwest China as well as a traditional harbor city for commodities and people to enter Tibet, comes into people’s view. And now, people have three options to reach Lhasa from Chengdu: flight from Chengdu to Lhasa taking 2 hours; overland journey by National Highway of No 318 taking three days at least; Chengdu-Lhasa train via Qinghai-Tibet railway taking 44 hours, and it only departs every other day, difficult to buy train tickets. However, flight is too expensive though short, overland is too long though beautiful, Qinghai-Tibet railway is too difficult though appears fine.
So, to build a direct railway from Chengdu to Lhasa (Sichuan—Tibet Railway), is very necessary and significant.
The proposed Sichuan-Tibet railway will span 1,629 km, 650 km of which will be in Sichuan province. It is said that, trains will be designed to travel at a maximum speed of 200 km per hour and will take only eight hours to reach Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region. The railway is expected to be completed in 8 years with an investment of about 54 billion RMB ($US 7.9 billion). But so far, there has been no clear report concerning when will the Chinese government start to build the rail. There was report that the rail had been started from September, 2009, but soon the news was denied by the government.
Compared with building Qinghai-Tibet railway, it is more challengeable to build Sichuan-Tibet Railway, because the landforms across Sichuan and Tibet are more complicated and dangerous than that in northern Tibet where mainly vast flat grasslands are located. The construction of Sichuan-Tibet railway will not only confront the similar problems of permafrost, altitude sickness, environment protection, animal immigration, but also problems of mudslides, underground rivers, earthquakes, terrestrial heat and etc, many more tunnels and bridges have to be used.
The railway’s construction will have to overcome frozen earth, landslides, rock slides, cold weather and a lack of oxygen due to high altitude in some places.The railway is also designed to open up China’s gateway to south Asia for bilateral economic and trade cooperation via land. Presently, Yadong (or Yatung) and Zhangmu connect Tibet with India and Nepal. The Sichuan-Tibet Railway will also open land passages from Central, East and South China to south Asia.The Hengduan Mountains near the line have an abundance of natural resources, including water, vegetation and minerals. The Yulong Copper Mine near the mountain in Tibet has a proven reserve of 6.5 million tons of copper, first among the country’s copper mines.No matter how difficult it is, based on China’s rich railway construction experience and stable GDP growth, the proposed Sichuan-Tibet railway will start building in near future. On the other hand, construction of the Sichuan-Tibet railway will help propel economic and tourism development along the line too. Eighty-two counties and districts along the line in Sichuan, Yunnan and Tibet boast snow-capped mountains, grasslands, and Tibetan and Buddhist cultures.
The proposed railway will span 1,629 km, 650 km of which will be in Sichuan. Trains will travel at a maximum speed of 200 km per hour and will take only eight hours to reach Lhasa, the capital of the Tibet autonomous region.
The rail line is expected to be finished in 2020 with an investment of nearly 54 billion yuan ($7.9 billion) in State funds.
Construction of the Sichuan-Tibet railway is expected to propel economic and tourism development along the line.
The Hengduan Mountains near the line have an abundance of natural resources, including water, vegetation and minerals.
The Yulong Copper Mine near the mountain in Tibet has a proven reserve of 6.5 million tons of copper, first among the country’s copper mines.
Eighty-two counties and districts along the line in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces and Tibet boast snow-capped mountains, grasslands, and Tibetan and Buddhist cultures.