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First Train from Lanzhou to Lhasa Runs on Qinghai-Tibet Railway
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The first passenger train from Lanzhou, capital of Gansu Province, began its 2,188-km journey for Lhasa, capital of Tibet Autonomous Region, on Sunday.


The train left Lanzhou Railway Station at 4:45 p.m. Sunday and will arrive in Lhasa at 10:33 p.m. Monday. The train consists of 16 carriages which can accommodate 772 passengers all together. This is the first train from Lanzhou to Lhasa to run on the Qinghai-Tibet railway, which went into operation on Saturday.


The train will leave Lanzhou for Lhasa every other day beginning Sunday, according to sources with the Lanzhou Railway Station.


All the 131 tickets on sale at Lanzhou Railway Station have been sold out, a booking clerk at the station told Xinhua.


Xu Licheng, a 53-year-old retired worker of Xinjiang oilfield, has traveled from his hometown to Lanzhou to catch the first train from Lanzhou to Lhasa.


"I feel excited to take the first train from Lanzhou to Lhasa, and I feel honored to witness the operation of the Qinghai-Tibet railway," Xu said. He arrived in Lanzhou on July 28, one day before the tickets were sold.


The Qinghai-Tibet Railway stretches 1,956 kilometers from Xining to Lhasa. Some 960 kilometers of its tracks are located 4, 000 meters above sea level and the highest point is 5,072 meters, at least 200 meters higher than the Peruvian railway in the Andes, which was formerly the world's most elevated track.


(Xinhua News Agency July 3, 2006)


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