A locomotive to be used on the world's highest railway, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, has been produced in Qingdao, east China's Shandong Province.
The locomotive, developed by the Nanche Sifang Locomotive Co. Ltd, will be put into full operation after trials.
Half of the 1,142-km railway, stretching from Gormo, in Qinghai Province, to Lhasa, in the Tibet Autonomous Region, will be laid on permafrost. Extreme cold, low oxygen levels and the fragile eco-environment not only posed great difficulties in the railway construction, but also in the manufacturing of locomotives.
The Ministry of Railways had listed the development of the new locomotive as a key project in the Tenth Five-Year Plan period (2001-2005) and asked Nanche Sifang Locomotive Co. to do the initial research.
The new locomotive is diesel driven and all the power and auxiliary systems hang under the train. To ensure normal operation in the high altitude and extreme cold, the locomotive incorporates special cold-resistant materials and an air conditioning system. The train was supplied with an oxygen system to provide sufficient oxygen in the cars.
An emergency clinic is also included to provide medical treatment for altitude sickness.
To protect the fragile ecological environment, the train is also equipped with a closed sewage and waste treatment system.
(Xinhua News Agency March 9, 2003)