By Friday, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, the world's highest railway, had carried 380,500 passengers to Lhasa since entering service on July 1.
Apart from one incident in which the dining carriage of a train derailed in a station, no serious traffic accidents, passenger injuries or deaths occurred in the first three months of operation, said Sun Yongfu, director of construction for the plateau railway.
The Qinghai-Tibet Railway, which starts from Xining, capital of northwest China's Qinghai Province, and ends in Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, is the first railway ever to go to Tibet. Before the plateau railway began service, people reached Tibet only via air or highway.
Some 550 kilometers of the 1,956 km history-making railway are built on frozen earth.
Close observation results indicate that 95 percent of the roadbeds built on frozen earth underwent minor changes in the July-September period when temperatures on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau are at their highest, said Sun, who was formerly Vice Minister of Railways.
According to Sun, the annual sinking rate for the railway's frozen earth roadbeds will be less than 2 centimeters.
(Xinhua News Agency September 29, 2006)