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Railway Minister Urges Efforts to Complete Qinghai-Tibet Railway
Chinese Railways Minister Liu Zhijun has called on construction workers to bear in mind the three objectives in building the Qinghai-Tibet railway, the highest railways in the world.

During an inspection tour of the construction tour, the minister said that to build a first-class railway, the running-time must be kept to a minimum, equipment must be well-maintained and highly automatic facilities must be adopted to replace manual work in the management of the railway.

Liu and a group of officials and experts traveled 1,100 kilometers for the tour from July 2 to 6. They assessed construction work and conducted field research on three major hurdles in construction: building on permafrost, health safety on the plateau and the fragile ecosystem.

The minister urged workers to spare no efforts in resolving the problems and assuring the safety of the railway, noting especially that bridges should be constructed to serve as routes rather than simply building roadbeds on permafrost in the case of technical uncertainties.

The 1,956-kilometer railway starts in Xining, capital of Qinghai Province in the east and ends in Lhasa, capital of Tibet in the west. A 960-kilometer section is over 4,000 meters above sea level, with the highest at an altitude of 5,072 meters. The 814-kilometer section between Xining and Golmud was put into operation in 1984, and construction of the remaining 1,142 kilometers began in June 2001 and is scheduled for completion in six years.

(Xinhua News Agency July 9, 2003)

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