(TibetanReview.net, Jul23, 2014) –China said Jul 22 that the Lhasa-Shigatse extension of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, completed in March this year, will begin operation in September. Test trains are running on the railway line, whose construction began on Sep 26, 2010, everyday, reported China’s online Tibet news service eng.tibet.cn.
When opened to traffic, trains will run on the 253-km railway line at a maximum speed of 120 km per hour, reducing the journey time between the two biggest cities in the Tibet Autonomous Region to just about two hours, the report added. Nearly half the railway line, or 45.7 percent of the 115.7-km railway, passes through tunnels, eng.tibet.cn reported earlier on Jul 10 when it said the railway will open to traffic in August.
China opened Tibet’s ancient capital Lhasa to railway services in Jul 2006 when it flagged off the first Qinghai-Railway in Jul 2006.
Although China cites economic and infrastructure development as the reason for building this geographically and geologically daring project, the undertaking is seen as having a highly strategic value as this enables Beijing to move arms and troops to border regions in huge numbers and quantities in a short time.