China announced on Saturday completion of the world's highest
railway, the Qinghai-Tibet
Railway, which stretches 1,956 kilometers from Xining to Lhasa
cities in western China.
The announcement was made at a ceremony held at the Lhasa
Railway Station Saturday morning to mark the country's success in
making the impossible possible, by building a railway line across
5,000-meter-high mountain ranges and 550-km-long frozen belt.
Chinese President Hu Jintao
praised, in a congratulatory letter, the landmark railway as an
"unprecedented triumph" in human history of railway
At Saturday's ceremony, Vice Premier Huang Ju
urged railway builders to continue their efforts in a bid to ensure
test runs can be conducted as planned in July next year and to
ensure the railway can "stand the tests of operation, time and
Tibet's regional capital basked in glory as merrymaking crowds
of railway builders, officials and ordinary citizens hailed in
Tibetan and Mandarin the completion of the railway that is soon to
become a more efficient and affordable means of transportation.
"In my younger days, I thought we would have to wait for 100
years for building a railway in my hometown," said Qamba Zoinzhu, a
58-year-old businessman in Lhasa, capital of the Tibet Autonomous
Construction of the 1,142-km-long Golmud-Lhasa section of the
railway, which runs across the Kunlun and Tanggula mountain ranges,
started in June 2001 and has cost 24 billion yuan (US$3 billion) to
build thus far.
The highest point of the railway is 5,072 meters above sea
level, at least 200 meters higher than the Peruvian railway in the
Andes, which was previously the world's most elevated track.
Sources from the Ministry of Railways say after the test runs
next year, the railway will link Lhasa with five major Chinese
cities -- Beijing, Shanghai, Xining, Chengdu and Guangzhou. It will
also carry 75 percent of all the inbound cargoes into Tibet,
cutting transportation costs and boosting local economy.
In five years, the railway will stretch further into Tibet,
extending from Lhasa to Xigaze and Nyingchi, according to the
October 15, 2005)