Construction On The Sichuan Tibet Railway In Gonggar County Nears Completion
2018-11-16
Gonggar County in Nyingchi Prefecture of the Tibet Autonomous Region is a small and out of the way place that is seldom visited by tourists except to fly in and out of the region at the roof of the world. However, this small county is the last part of the Lhasa to Nyingchi section of the Sichuan Tibet Railway to be completed, and it is running ahead of schedule.


 
Using track-laying machines, which extend and lay out the tracks along the reinforced concrete girders that form the base of the tracks, has been essential in staying on schedule for this section of the tracks. Running from Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, to Nyingchi city in Nyingchi Prefecture, the completion of this last section, which is expected this month, will open up the Lhasa-Nyingchi corridor for more tourists, making it easier to travel from the capital to the most beautiful part of Tibet, just in time to see the autumn leaves falling in the stunningly scenic valleys.


 
The section from Nyingchi to Lhasa actually reaches heights that far exceed both cities, crossing alpine mountain passes that sit at more than 4,400 meters above sea level. While the section was not the hardest of the three sections to complete, nor was it the easiest, running for more than 600 kilometers along the valleys of Shannan and Nyingchi, and passing close by the Nyingchi Mainling Airport.


 
The newest railway project for the Chinese governments Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), the Sichuan Tibet Railway is being built in three sections, Chengdu to Kangding, Lhasa to Nyingchi, and Nyingchi to Kangding. The easiest section of the tracks, from Chengdu to Kangding, is split into two further sections, from Chengdu to Ya’an and Ya’an to Kangding. The Chengdu-Ya’an section was completed in April 2018, and the second section is already well underway.


 
The final section of the tracks that will be constructed is the section from Kangding to Nyingchi, and is the hardest section of the whole line, in terms of construction and engineering. The proposed route to meet the line at Nyingchi is following the rough route of the G318 National Highway, also known as the Sichuan Tibet Highway, and passes through some of the highest mountains in the area. The section is expected to be completed by 2025, and will include more than 150 bridges and tunnels that will make up around 70 percent of the section’s tracks.


 
Once completed, the new route to Tibet from mainland China is expected to increase both tourism to the region and trade from South Asia to China, improving the transport of goods to and from India and Nepal. At the moment, goods travel to Lhasa, and then take the train to Xining, in Qinghai Province, going the long way around. The Sichuan Tibet Railway will also give relief from the constant annual closures of the Sichuan Tibet Highway, which can be closed for up to six months of the year due to natural disasters and snow fall in the area through the mountains.


 
The long-term effects of the Sichuan Tibet Railway are expected to increase Tibet’s overall economy with more Chinese and foreign investment in the area, as well as boosting the region’s ever-growing tourism revenue. And with the completion of the Sino-Nepal Railway expected in 2022, an extension of the already-open Lhasa-Shigatse Railway, it will mean a complete railway link from Nepal to China, along one of the world’s longest single railway lines. And with Indian proposals to aid Nepal in constructing connecting railways that will run from the Indo-Nepal border in the south as far as Kathmandu, the line could be the connection that India and China need.
TAG: chengdu to lhasa trains sichuan tibet railway sichuan tibet railway section almost complete trains to tibet from sichuan tracks almost complete in gonggar county

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