BIZCHINA / Top Biz News

Qinghai-Tibet Railway begins operation
By Xin Dingding (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-07-01 09:20

At least 1,000 journalists from home and abroad have come to Qinghai and Tibet to cover the event along the rail line.

People can witness the ceremony and the whole day's trip live on television, radio and news websites.

The first train from Golmud to Lhasa will carry governmental officials and reporters, not ordinary passengers.

But in the evening, passenger trains will run from three cities  Beijing, Chengdu of Sichuan Province and Xining of Qinghai Province  to Lhasa. The first train will leave Lhasa on Sunday morning.

The trains running on the "roof of the world" will be driven by engines made by US-based General Electric (GE).

GE locomotives are chosen because of their great traction and brake powers, low power cost and high reliability, said Zhu Zhensheng, vice-director of the Ministry of Railways office in charge of the new line.

The GE locomotives have been used in Peruvian railways in the Andes at the altitude of 4,700 metres, the highest railways in the world before the Qinghai-Tibet Railway was completed.

Some 1,000 kilometres of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway's tracks are located at 4,000 metres above sea level.

The Tibet Autonomous Region's tourism administration estimated that an additional 3,000 to 4,000 tourists would arrive in Tibet daily once the Qinghai-Tibet Railway begins operation.

Local tourist destinations have taken measures to ensure precious cultural relics don't suffer from the increased numbers.

The Potala Palace in Lhasa will restrict the number of daily visitors to 1,800.

Liao Lisheng, an official with the Tibetan tourism administration, said that 960 out of the 1,800 tickets will be sold to travel agencies. Individual visitors can try their luck. But since reservations cannot be made, it is better to buy the tickets one day in advance.

The Potala Palace features the essence of ancient Tibetan architecture and art, and houses countless artifacts. Both the Potala Palace and Norbu Linkag, the summer palace of Dalai Lamas, are on the World Heritage List of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

Namco Lake, another famous tourist spot in Tibet, will give every tourist an eco-friendly bag to collect and remove rubbish. There will be no swimming, fishing or boats allowed on the lake.


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