Tibet plans to start building a branch line for the
Qinghai-Tibet Railway this year, which will link the region's
capital Lhasa with Xigaze, a major Tibetan city some 280 kilometers
to its southwest.
Jin Shixun, director of the regional development and reform
commission said Sunday that the new line will be the first feeder
line for the Qinghai-Tibet Railway.
Jin told a session of the regional legislative body that the
government is racing against time in its preparations so that the
construction work could be kicked off as soon as possible.
If everything goes well, the authorities hope that the
feasibility study could be completed by the end of January, and the
preliminary design by the end of May, while the actual construction
could be started within the year.
According to the current plan, the railway is expected to be
operational by 2010.
Tibet ended its history without railway in July 2006 with the
operation of the 1,956-km Qinghai-Tibet Railway. The railway has
prompted a huge surge in the number of tourists to Tibet, bringing
the region billions of yuan in tourism revenue.
Liu Zhijun, China's railway minister, said on Friday that the
railway had transported 1.18 million passengers and 1.16 million
tons of cargo since then.
(Xinhua News Agency January 15, 2007)