(TibetanReview.net, Jan 12) — China said it will employ the technology it used to build the Qinghai-Tibet Railway to build a Xinjiang-Tibet railway before 2020, the petroleum pipelines across Northeast PRC and an expressway on the Tibetan Plateau, reported the official China Daily newspaper Jan 10. The daily said the railway was among the 27 scientific projects to receive a State Special Award for Scientific and Technological Progress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Jan 9.
The report cited Sun Yongfu, China’s former vice-minister of railways, as lauding the safe operation of the Qinghai-Tibet railway during the last two and half years of its operation, beginning Jul 1, 2006. By last May, 1.48 million passengers have ridden the train into Tibet and 1.52 million out of Tibet, Sun, also an academician with China Academy of Sciences, had said.
The report also quoted Cheng Guodong, professor and president of Lanzhou branch of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, as saying, “The set of technologies that solved problems about frozen earth and altitude sickness can benefit many other projects, such as the future Xinjiang-Tibet railway and the petroleum pipelines across Northeast China.”
While calling it technically possible, Cheng had said building expressways were definitely more difficult than railways “because expressways are rigid and inflexible, not like rail tracks”.
The report noted that the railway had also survived earthquakes that shook the Tangula area four times in Jun 2008. It cited Sun as saying that apart from a Xinjiang-Tibet railway, to be built before 2020, there will, in the long term, be railways entering Tibet from Chengdu in Sichuan province and Kunming in Yunnan province.