Chinese Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan said the operation of the
Qinghai-Tibet Railway should be further improved to ensure the
trains run safely and the environment is well protected on the
world's highest plateau.
Zeng made the remarks at the ninth meeting of the Qinghai-Tibet
Railway construction group held on March 13.
Safety measures and environmental protection work should be
strengthened along the railway, said Zeng, adding that there could
be more passenger and cargo trains when necessary in order to
improve service and transportation capacity.
Since going into operation in July 2006, the railway has greatly
improved communications and transport on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau
and boosted the development of Qinghai Province and Tibet
Autonomous Region, said Zeng.
The railway has proved to be reliable in seasonal weather
changes and the ecological environment along the railway has
remained stable, he added.
Zeng also required Qinghai and Tibet to consider China's West
Development Strategy and to view the opening of the railway as an
opportunity for industrial restructuring and infrastructure
development in the communications, transport and tourist
Every day, a total of eight passenger trains and two cargo
trains run in both directions on the railway, which stretches 1,956
kilometers from Xining, capital of Qinghai, to Lhasa, capital of
About 960 kilometers of the track is 4,000 meters above sea
level. It reaches its highest point at 5,072 meters. About 550
kilometers run over unstable permafrost which is prone to
Temperatures high up on the Qinghai-Tibet plateau can drop to
minus 45 degrees in the winter.
The railway had carried 1.66 million passengers and 1.36 million
tons of cargo by the end of February this year.
(Xinhua News Agency March 15, 2007)