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Direct Train to Connect Beijing-Lhasa

It will take travelers only 48 hours by direct train trip from Beijing to Lhasa, capital of west China's Tibet Autonomous Region as of July 1 next year, a railway official said.

Travelers can enjoy the world-class tourist sites along the newly-built line during the 48-hour direct railway trip, including the Qinghai Lake," said Zhang Shuguang, director of the Transportation Bureau with China's Ministry of Railways.

The new railway line will be operational at the Beijing's West Railway Station from July 1, 2006, the official said, adding that key parts of the line, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, had been completed on Oct. 12 this year.

Qinghai-Tibet section of the railway is the world's highest railway, the official said, adding that some 960 kilometers of the tracks were laid at 4,000 meters above sea level, with the highest parts reaching 5,072 meters.

The railway is still the world's longest plateau railroad which extends 1,956 kilometers from Qinghai's provincial capital Xining to Lhasa in Tibet. The Golmud-Lhasa section, completed on Oct. 12 this year, zigzags 1,142 kilometers across the Kunlun and Tanggula mountain ranges.

"The Beijing-Lhasa train will run at a speed of 160 km per hour on the plain, but will slow down at 120 km per hour when it reaches the Qinghai-Tibet section" Zhang said.

According to the official, the trains running on the Qinghai-Tibet Railway are the most advanced ones in China. All the carriages of the trains are installed with oxygen-supplying equipments and every passenger will be provided with an oxygen mask.

"Passengers will not feel altitude reaction or sickness," he said.

In addition to Beijing, some other Chinese cities, including Shanghai, Guangzhou and Chengdu, will also launch direct railway passenger transportation to Lhasa as of July 1 next year, Zhang said.

(Xinhua News Agency December 12, 2005)

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