(TibetanReview.net, Nov01’20) – The Sichuan-Tibet railway is of great significance in safeguarding national unity and maintaining border stability and the construction of its most difficult section, the section between Ya’an in China’s Sichuan Province and Linzhi (Tibetan: Nyingtri) in Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) is set to begin, reported China’s official globaltimes.cn Oct 31.
Construction of the other sections of the highly strategic railway within China and the TAR had been underway for sometime, with that in TAR nearing completion and the one in China being already in operation.
The Ya’an–Linzhi section had been held up thus far due to highly challenging geological conditions.
The Sichuan-Tibet Railway will not only accelerate and enhance overall economic development of the Tibet region, but will play an important role in safeguarding border stability, the report cited observers as saying, including Xiong Kunxin, an ethnic studies professor at the Tibet University in Lhasa.
As a major infrastructure project, the railway is set to improve transport that has hindered exchanges between the Tibet region and the rest of China, which could help transport advanced equipment and technologies from other places to Tibet, and bring local products out, Xiong was cited as saying.
Strategically, the Tibet region will have much stronger capabilities in material transportation and logistical supplies, Lin Minwang, deputy director at the Center for South Asian Studies at Fudan University, was cited a saying.
In particular, Qian Feng, director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University, has said, “If a scenario of a crisis happens at China-India border, the railway will provide great convenience for China’s delivery of strategic materials.”
The new railway line is also designed to put Tibet on a “fast track” to catch up with other more developed regions of the PRC.
China Railway was reported to have announced on Oct 31 the bidding results for the construction of two tunnels and one bridge, as well as the power supply project for the Ya’an-Linzhi section, indicating that construction of the project was about to begin.
The report said the newly-built Ya’an-Linzhi section will runs 1,011 kilometers and would include 26 stations. Trains are expected to run at speeds between 120 and 200 kilometers per hour.
The total cost of the entire Sichuan-Tibet Railway project was stated to be around 319.8 billion yuan ($47.8 billion).
The Sichuan-Tibet Railway starts from Chengdu, capital of China’s Sichuan Province, travelling through Ya’an and enters TAR via Qamdo (Chamdo), shortening the journey from Chengdu to Lhasa from 48 hours to 13 hours, the report said.