(TibetanReview.net, Nov27’23) – China has opened to traffic today a crucial section of its strategically grand Tibet-Yunnan Railway, connecting two well-known tourist cities in Yunnan province. With the operation of the Lijiang-Shangri-la railway, the fastest travel time between the two cities will be reduced to one hour and 18 minutes, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency.
As an important part of Yunnan-Tibet railway network, the new line will help improve transportation in ethnic minority areas, which will promote national unity, consolidate border stability and promote Yunnan’s high-quality development, the report said, citing China Railway.
Earlier, China completed on May 5 the construction of a major tunnel for this railway project after more than eight years’ effort.
While Shangri-la (Tibetan: Gyalthang) is part of the traditional Tibetan province of Kham (or Dotoe), Lijiang is a multi-ethnic area with strong Tibetan connections, especially in language and religion.
The railway line is stated to have a design speed of 140 km per hour and a total length of 139 km.
This line, whose construction started in Dec 2014, also connects Shangri-la, in the Diqing (Dechen) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, to the provincial capital Kunming, said another Xinhua report today.
The whole of the Yunnan-Tibet Railway construction is scheduled to be completed by 2030, connecting Kunming with Tibet’s ancient capital Lhasa.
The Yunnan Tibet Railway belongs to China’s “Five Railways to Tibet” project, together with the already operational Qinghai Tibet Railway, as well as the Sichuan Tibet Railway, the Xinjiang Tibet Railway and the Gansu-Tibet Railway all of whose constructions are underway.