The Qinghai-Tibet Railway made its way into Nagqu County, an
important center in the northern part of the Tibet
Autonomous Region, on Saturday. It is the area’s first railway
With an average altitude of 4,500 meters, Nagqu is located between
the Tanggula, Gangdise and Nyainqentanglha mountain ranges, all
sacred areas regarded by locals as “insurmountable even by
The county contains 34 million hectares of grassland on which some
7.7 million head of livestock graze. Eighty percent of the
area’s 387,000 people make their living by raising livestock.
“It’s been our long-cherished dream to have a railway in Nagqu
County,” said Duan Xiangzheng, a local official. He said the
railway will help promote the animal husbandry industry and improve
the people’s living standards.
The Qinghai-Tibet Railway will wind through Nagqu County,
connecting 11 townships and 11 freight or passenger stations.
Local governments in the area have been working with experts to map
out strategies for sustainable economic development and
environmental protection along the railway.
Northern Tibet’s abundant mineral resources are worth an estimated
6 trillion yuan (US$722 billion), about 60 percent of the total
mineral value in Tibet.
“Construction of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway will improve the local
people’s earnings and help them learn new work techniques and
modern technology,” said Duan.
Since the Qinghai-Tibet Railway broke ground three years ago, over
40,000 Nagqu locals have participated in the project. It has
brought them 23 million yuan (US$2.8 million) in additional
The Qinghai-Tibet Railway entered Tibet at Amdo County last June
and nearly half of the railway has now been completed, according to
Shen Yubin, an engineer working on the project.
With an investment of 26.2 billion yuan (US$3.2 billion), China
began building the line from Golmud City in Qinghai
Province to Lhasa in 2001. It will serve as a bridge connecting
Tibet -- long isolated by its rugged terrain and high altitude --
with the central plains.
The project is part of the central government’s campaign to develop
China’s western region, strengthen its economy and help the local
people to improve their living standards.
The 1,142-kilometer Qinghai-Tibet Railway is scheduled to be
completed in 2007.
(Xinhua News Agency October 10, 2004)