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Key progress reported in building of Lhasa-Nyingchi Railway set for completion in 2021

Lhasa-Nyingchi section of the Sichuan-Tibet Railway under construction. (Photo courtesy: Xinhua)

(TibetanReview.net, Nov10’19) – After reporting big-step achievement in the building of the Lhasa-Nyingchi section of the Sichuan-Tibet Railway with the completion of the construction of the Bayu Tunnel on Nov 4, China reported Nov 9 that it had also completed joining a key bridge along the same ongoing project.

The joining of the Bayu Bridge in the city of Shannan (Tibetan: Lhokha) marks a major breakthrough in the construction of the Lhasa-Nyingchi railway, which connects the regional capital Lhasa and Nyingchi of southeast Tibet, reported China’s official Xinhua news agency Nov 9, citing China Railway 12th Bureau Group, the contractor of the project.

The report cited Qiao Zhibin, a project director at China Railway 12th Bureau Group, as saying they had used advanced technologies and stronger steel to protect the bridge from earthquakes, strong winds and cracking due to large temperature differences.

The report said the Lhasa-Nyingchi railway, the second section of the Sichuan-Tibet Railway, featured complex geological conditions, with a total length of 435 km, 75 percent of which were bridges and tunnels. The construction of this easier section of the rail line was begun in 2015 and is expected to be completed in 2021.

Trains began running on the first section of the Sichuan-Tibet Rail line, which is within China from Chengdu to Ya’an in Sichuan province, in Dec 2018.

The third section of the line, between Ya’an and Nyingchi, which traverses China and Tibet, will be one of the world’s most challenging railway projects because it winds through the Sichuan Basin, Yunnan-Guizhou Plateau and Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, climbing from 600 metres above sea level to nearly 4,500 meters, the official China Daily Jul 9 cited Zhao Jian, a professor of rail transportation at Beijing Jiaotong University, as saying.

It is not clear whether the building of this section of the rail line has begun. Its feasibility study was reported to have been approved on Jun 4.

“Bridges and tunnels will cover over 90 percent of the line, which means there will be nearly 800 km of tunnels and more than 100 km of bridges,” Peng Qinghua, Party secretary of Sichuan, was quoted as having said on Jun 17.

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