Building of Sichuan-Tibet railway not yet scheduled

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Building of Sichuan-Tibet railway not yet scheduled

Postby long_way » Fri Sep 04, 2009 1:43 pm

Building of Sichuan-Tibet railway not yet scheduled

(, Sep04, 2009) China’s railway officials have denied country’s official news reports Sep 1 that the construction of the proposed Sichuan-Tibet railway would start in Sep’09. The official Xinhua news agency Sep 2 cited officials in charge of the railway planning from the Ministry of Railways as saying the railway was an important project in the future planning of the country's network, but work on the difficult project had not started, and there was no timetable for construction yet.

And the official Sep 2 cited a Ministry of Railway official as saying the Sichuan-Tibet railway project was only just added to China’s middle-and-long term railway construction plan last year, and so it was still in its planning stage. Party mouthpiece People’s Daily Sep 3 said the railway's planners were still examining intricate and difficult geological conditions along the proposed lines.

The report cited the ministry as saying it would invest around 53.78 billion yuan ($7.86 billion) over eight years in the project. It said, however, that some experts considered the total cost of the railway to be likely to reach 100 billion yuan.

Currently, trains from Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, have to detour via the 1,956-km Qinghai-Tibet Railway to get to Lhasa, which takes 45 hours. The road option via the No. 318 national highway, or the Sichuan-Tibet Highway, takes three days. It added that the new train line would have taken just eight hours to travel the 1,629 kilometers, including 650 km within Sichuan, between Chengdu and Lhasa.

The report said a number of challenging geographic obstacles stood in the way of the railroad’s construction, including frozen earth, land and rock slides, cold weather and a lack of oxygen due to high-altitudes in some parts.

On Sep 1, a number of official Chinese news sources, including Xinhuanet and China Daily, said work on the project would begin in Sep’09, citing China Railway Eryuan Engineering Group Co., Ltd. The Xinhuanet report said the electrified railway would serve as a link for the Sichuan-Chongqing area, northwest Sichuan Province and the Tibet Autonomous Region, with a designed speed topping 200 km per hour.

The new railway is designed to boost economic growth along its way in terms of the development of mineral and tourist resources. The People’s Daily report said 82 two counties and districts along the line in Sichuan and Yunnan provinces and Tibet Autonomous Region boast snow-capped mountains, grasslands, and Tibetan and Buddhist cultures. It said the Yulong Copper Mine near the mountain in Tibet had a proven reserve of 6.5 million tons of copper, first among the PRC’s copper mines. It also said the Hengduan Mountains near the line have an abundance of natural resources, including water, vegetation and minerals.

The railway is also designed to open China's gateway to south Asia for bilateral economic and trade cooperation via land, the report added.

Presently, Yadong (or Yatung) and Nyalam land ports connect Tibet with India and Nepal. The Sichuan-Tibet Railway is expected to open land passages from Central, East and South China to south Asia, the report said.

Last updated on Sep 04, 2009 10:25:46
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