- China opened up a new high-speed railroad that connects cities with an electric bullet train.
- Passengers can travel from Tibet’s capital, Lhasa, to the city of Nyingchi in three and a half hours.
- The train will travel 160 km/h down the 250-mile railroad, which crosses the Tibet countryside.
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The new railroad connects Tibet’s capital, Lhasa, to the city of Nyingchi, about 423 kilometres away, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The “Fuxing” electric bullet trains are manufactured and operated by the state-owned China State Railway Group. It took around six years to construct, the report said.
The bullet train transports people and cargo at speeds of 160 km/h
Compared with other high-speed trains in China, which travel at around 300 km/h, the Fuxing bullet train is quite slow.
It’s able to transport 10 million tonnes of freight on an annual basis, Xinhua’s report said.
The Lhasa-Nyingchi railroad runs through 47 tunnels and over 121 bridges
It also crosses the Brahmaputra river, known as Yarlung Zangbo, 16 times, Xinhua reported.
Passengers will be able to take in features of the Tibetan landscape, including the Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon and Nanga Bawa Peak, as they look out of the train window, according to the report.
The railroad is called “roof of the world,” Xinhua said.
The Fuxing bullet train stops at nine stations, including Lhasa, Shannan and Nyingchi
The “Fuxing” bullet trains, which run on the new railroad, will cut the travel time from Lhasa to Nyingchi significantly, the report said.
By car, the journey takes five hours. With the new bullet train, it’ll take three and a half.
It’ll also reduce the travel time from Shannan to Nyingchi from six hours to around two hours, Xinhua reported.
The railway development cost $5.6 billion overall
The brand new railroad and Fuxing bullet trains weren’t cheap.
The whole project cost RMB 36.6 billion ($5.6 billion), according to a CNN report.
The Lhasa-Nyingchi railroad is part of China’s plan to expand its high-speed rail network
“The building of these new railways forms part of Xi Jinping’s grand plan of ‘integrating the vast national market,'” Olivia Cheung, research fellow at the China Institute of the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), told CNN in May.
“His scheme is grand in that it extends beyond just simply connecting existing towns, but existing towns with new mega-towns that are being constructed from scratch,” she added.
There were celebrations at the Lhasa Railway Station when Tibet’s first Fuxing bullet train made its debut on the railroad
The bullet trains are powered by both internal combustion and electric engines, and can run on non-electrified and electrified railroads, Xinhua reported.
Given that 90% of the railroad sits 3,000 metres above sea level, the mix of engine power will help the train travel through potentially harsh weather conditions, the report said.