"After profound study and repeated evaluation, the Ministry of Railways (MOR) has submitted project proposal of the construction of Golmud-Lhasa Railway to the central government. Once the central government makes the decision, we will put all our efforts into the construction of it," said Ren Xigui, spokesman of the MOR at the press conference sponsored by the Information Office of the State Council today in Beijing.
According to Ren, MOR has been engaged in systematic studies on a railway to Tibet since 1994. In the past years, a lot of work has been done, including the geographic location, detailed programs, feasiblity studies as well as technological and economic studies. After collecting opinions from all walks of life, MOR has decided to build a railway to link Qinghai and Tibet. Now, the ministry is paying close attention to the surveying and designing work of the railway and organizing scientists to solve problems in power supply, safety and earthquake. The operation and management of the railway are also under careful considerations.
Building a railway into Tibet is of great significance not only to the development of local economy and tourism industry but also to the unity between ethnic groups, Ren added.
The spokesman also expounded on MOR's plans to build a high-speed railway between Beijing and Shanghai and Eurasia Continental Bridge in the next five year.
Ren said that MOR began studies on Beijing-Shanghai High-Speed Railway several years ago. The project proposal was submitted to the central government in 1997 and the evaluation work has just been finished. The technical staff are now making profound investigations to decide whether to employ the technology of Japan and France or that of Germany in the construction. This relies much on China's actual railway conditions. The railway will roughly cost 100 billion yuan and the MOR is now raising fund from various sources. It is expected that the railroad will open to traffic during the "10th Five-Year Plan" period, starting from 2001.
As to the Eurasia Continental Bridge, Ren pointed out, "The construction hasn't been finished yet."
The Eurasia Continental Bridge refers to railways linking China with the Netherlands in the western end. Now there has been three routes between the two countries: The first one starts from Lianyungang, Jiangsu Province, through Liangyungang-Lanzhou Railway, Lanzhou-Urumqi Railway, Ala Mountain mouth, Kazakhstan and Russia, and finally reaches Rotterdam. The second one is from Suifenhe through Siberia Railway. And the third one connects Hailar and Manzhouli with the Netherlands also through Siberia Railway. The three passageways are now available for transportation.
The fourth continental bridge, Ren said, will cover the Turpan-Kashi Railway in south Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and go through Uzbekistan and Kirghizstan.