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Tibetans board bullet trains, welcome festival

China Daily | Updated: 2022-01-19 10:02
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A Fuxing bullet train runs on the Lhasa-Nyingchi railway during a trial operation in Shannan, Southwest China's Tibet autonomous region, June 16, 2021. [Photo/Xinhua]

LHASA-As high-altitude winds make for a brisk morning, people in the Tibet autonomous region board trains to return home, carrying heavy luggage and high anticipation. Their palpable delight marks the start of this year's Spring Festival travel rush in the plateau region.

At 8 am and 8:20 am on Monday, two advanced Fuxing bullet trains departed from the region's capital city of Lhasa, carrying 680 passengers to Shigatse and 219 to Nyingchi.

"I've been working in Lhasa for three years. This is the first time I have taken a bullet train back to my hometown," said Dondrup, who is from Nyingchi's Mirig township.

"For the past few years, I had to take the bus home, a very long and strenuous journey. Now, the train takes three and a half hours, which not only saves time but is also safer."

The opening of the railway from Lhasa to Nyingchi in June provided southeastern Tibet with access to rail services for the first time in the region's history.

With a designed speed of 160 kilometers per hour, the 435-kilometer railway is the first electrified railway operating in Tibet.

Pumo Anyi, a 23-year-old from Nyingchi's Puchu township, became a security inspector at the Nyingchi railway station after graduating from college.

She said that the opening of the railway brought many jobs to her village.

"More than 40 people in our village work at the Nyingchi and Lhokha railway stations, with monthly salaries ranging from 2,500 yuan to 3,200 yuan ($393 to $504)" Pumo Anyi said.

Since the railway opened six months ago, three trains, two of which are bullet trains, have linked Lhasa, Nyingchi, Lhokha and Shigatse. A train leaving Lhasa can arrive in Lhokha after 70 minutes, and in Nyingchi after 3 hours and 29 minutes.

The Lhasa-Nyingchi railway handled 621,000 passenger trips and carried over 7,900 metric tons of cargo last year, China Railway Qinghai-Tibet Group said.

Staff at the Lhasa railway station are strengthening their COVID-19 prevention and control work, and the station and trains are operating smoothly with nearly 500 cameras monitoring the whole railway line.

Station head Wang Fu said that the station is expected to handle 200,000 passenger trips during China's largest annual travel rush this year.


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