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Shanghai, Guangzhou connected with Lhasa by train

By Xin Dingding (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-09-19 08:57
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Passengers from Shanghai and Guangzhou will be able to travel directly to Lhasa by train starting next month.

From October 1, a train will leave Shanghai every two days, arriving in the capital of the Tibet Autonomous Region just over 50 hours later.

The Guangzhou-Lhasa service will start October 2, also every two days, taking approximately 57 hours.

So far, the railway has been running smoothly since it opened on July 1st.

"All in all, the past two months have been a good beginning for us," said Wang Yongping, Ministry of Railways spokesman.

Official statistics showed trains have carried nearly 450,000 passengers and shipped nearly 100,000 tons of cargo in and out of Tibet by yesterday.

The cargos sent to Tibet include food, coal, living necessities and building materials. Cargos leaving Tibet are mainly ores, including chrome, boron and irons. Volume is expected to hit 200,000 tons in total this year.

The ministry estimated that the railway would carry 75 per cent of the total 2.8 million tons of cargo in and out of Tibet by the year 2010.

The confidence comes from the fact that the current transportation cost by rail is far lower than that by road.

Wang believed that the Qinghai-Tibet railway would lower the prices of building materials like cement and living necessities.

It will also boost the development of pillar industries on the plateau such as tourism, the spokesman said.

"People's income will increase and their living standards will improve," Wang said.