Lhasa-Xigaze railway to be completed by 2015

Lhasa, Feb 16 (Bernama) An extension of the world''shighest railway from Tibet''s capital Lhasa to its secondlargest city, Xigaze, will be completed by 2015, as one of theplateau region''s key construction projects during the2011-2015 period.

The Lhasa-Xigaze railway is the first extension of theQinghai-Tibet Railway that opened in July 2006, Xinhua newsagency reported yesterday.

The 253-kilometre new line will pass through fivecounties and the 90-km-long Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon.

Construction began in September 2010, with a budget of USD1.95 billion.

The passenger and freight service will have a designedtransport capacity of 8.3 million tonnes of freight annually.

Xigaze, with a history of more than 600 years, isTibet''s second largest city and the traditional seat of thePanchen Lamas.

Xigaze City is the administrative center of the Tibetanprefecture of the same name, which covers 182,000 square kmbordering India, Nepal and Bhutan and includes Qomolangma(also known as Mount Everest).

The new rail link, plus a new airport that opened inNovember, will play a vital role in boosting tourism andaccelerating the transport of natural resources.

Tibet will start building another extension of theplateau railway, from Lhasa to Nyingchi, in the next fiveyears, according to the region''s plan for economic and socialdevelopment in the 2011-2015 period. (Bernama)

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