(TibetanReview.net, Feb 26, 2009) — China is to built by 2014 a new 731-km Chengdu-Lanzhou railway which will link Sichuan and Gansu provinces and pass through the Tibetan areas of Jiuzhaigou in northwest Sichuan and the Gannan (Tibetan: Kanlho) Tibetan autonomous prefecture in southern Gansu, reported the official China Daily newspaper Feb 24. The report said the almost 62 billion yuan ($9 billion) project will cut the journey time between the two cities from more than 17 hours to about four. It said the railway will link with the Lanzhou-Chongqing, Baoji-Chengdu, Sichuan-Qinghai and Sichuan-Tibetan line with construction beginning this year.
The ministry of railway was cited as saying more than 60 percent of the passengers on the new route, between 250,000 and 280,000 a year, would be tourists.
The report said three sections of the new line will pass the Minshan Mountains, which are home to giant pandas and other endangered animals and plants. More than 90 percent of the three sections will be tunnels and bridges designed to avoid disturbing the wildlife.