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Railway line brings new life and opportunities to SW Tibet

By Luo Wangshu in Xigaze, Tibet (

Updated: 2015-08-14 16:45:45

Boost tourism

The railway has also boosted local tourism. As the home of Mount Qomolangma's base camp and the traditional seat of the Panchen Lama, Xigaze has its unique charm to attract tourists from China and overseas.

Yang Heng, 24, traveled from Daliang, China's northeast Liaoning province to Tibet by train. "I spent about three entire days on a train…I love the views. It is almost the same as the view at scenic sites, both making me feel so close to nature," Yang said.

His destination is the base camp of Mount Qomolangma in Xigaze. “First of all, I traveled to Lhasa by myself and met some outdoor enthusiasts there. I decided to join them for the adventure trip at the last minute. I did not really have a specific travel plan before,” Yang said. He worked as a staff member in a university and enjoyed his summer vacation by traveling to Tibet.

"Travel by train is less expensive," he said, adding that the Lhasa-Xigaze railway made his trip easier.

The Lhasa-Xigaze railway is the first extension of the 1956-km Qinghai-Tibet railway, the first railway in Tibet, which began operation in 2006. The new line plays an important role in the rail network in Tibet.

To the east, it connects the Qinghai-Tibet railway and also links Lhasa-Nyingchi Railway, a part of Sichuan-Lhasa railway, which is now under construction. To the west, it plans to link Jilong and Yadong pass neighboring Nepal.

Apart from the railway, road and aviation networks have also been improved in the past 50 years, as a small part of government investment spent on Tibet's transportation infrastructure.

Palden Nyima in Lhasa contributed to the story

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