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Preparation in works for highest railway
( 2001-06-19 08:04 ) (9 )

Myriad preparations are underway for the start of construction on the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, scheduled to begin officially on June 29.

Ceremonies marking the beginning of the gargantuan effort to bring the Tibet Autonomous Region into the train age will be held simultaneously in Beijing, Lhasa and Golmud in Qinghai.

The Ministry of Railways disclosed that the ten domestic contractors hired to build the wholly State-funded project are moving their work forces and equipment to the mountainous work sites where they will begin constructing the highest railroad in the world.

The project is expected to take six years to complete.

The railway will link Xining, capital of Qinghai Province, with Lhasa, capital of Tibet Autonomous Region. It will likely cover 1,956 kilometres. The already-existent northern section, running from Xining to Golmud, was finished in 1984.

There are long-term plans to extend the railway to Xigaze and Nyingchi in Tibet, as well as Yunnan Province after the main line is finished.

The State Council set up a committee to oversee construction of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway in late February this year. The Ministry of Railways' followed by installing a command headquarters for this project. Other government organizations related to the project have also been established both in Qinghai Province and the Tibet Autonomous Region.

The Ministry of Railways disclosed that a feasibility report was handed to the government at the end of April after over 1,700 engineers performed a survey along the railway line. Shop drawings for several of the most difficult tunnel projects have been approved by the government.

Experts predict the project will face three major challenges -- geological impact, frozen soil, and sheer cold and oxygen shortage caused by high altitude.

In response to concerns over the environmental impacts of the railway, a number of government departments were ordered to formulate protection plans to ensure ecological preservation during and after the construction process.

Glacier experts have conducted investigations in the area and others have studied railways built on frozen soil in Russia and Canada.

Sources have disclosed that magnetic materials and new technology will be used in the project.

Health protection measures for the high-altitude workers have been taken by the Ministry of Health. Health care experts will be on hand to deal with the lack of oxygen and high levels of ultraviolet radiation. Hospitals are being set up along the construction line, the Ministry of Railways said.

®MDNM£¿tagline>Xinhua contributed to the story




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