With the completion of track-laying, the railway from Lhasa to Shigatse is expected to be open to traffic in 2014. It means that the world’s highest railway, Qinghai Tibet railway has extended further west to Shigatse, the city nearest to Mt. Everest. We will also expand our train tour service to Shigatse and Everest Base Camp.
The Lhasa-Shigatse Railway is 253 km, including 90 kilometers in Yarlung Zangbo Grand Canyon. It connects the top two tourist cities of Tibet, Lhasa and Shigatse. Lhasa, the capital and the spiritual center of Tibet, is home to many culturally significant Tibetan Buddhist sites, such as Potala Palace, Jokhang Temple and Norbulingka. As Tibet’s second largest city, Shigatse is famous forTashi Lhunpo monastery, the traditional seat of the Panchen Lama. Shigatse is located on the way from Lhasa to Kathmandu, and therefore it is very convenient to travel from Shigatse to other Tibetan areas.
The construction of this line was started in September 2010. By the end of 2012, the project had completed 82.3 kilometers track laying, 27.83 percent of the total construction. In May 2013, its longest tunnel, the 10.41 kilometers Penyinla Tunnel was completed. In September 2013, the railway spanned over the Yarlung Zangbo River for the first time. By November 2013, all the subgrade construction, culverts, tunnels and bridges had been finished.
During the construction, engineers designed route detour around nature reserves and drinking water sources to better protect the fragile plateau environment. The construction cost 13.3 billion Yuan (about 2.1 billion U.S. dollars). The extension line is capable of transporting 8.3 million tons of cargo every year, according to previous reports. Thirteen railway stations were built along the line. The average distance between each station is approximately 22.5 km. The trains are expected to run at a speed of over 120 km/h.
After the completion of the extension line, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway will further expand its influence in the region, improve the transportation in southwest Tibet, ameliorate the single highway-based transportation structure and promote the local economic development. Spanning 1,956 km from Xining to Lhasa, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway has carried over 13 million passengers to and from Tibet since its launch in July 2006. Its second extension from Lhasa to Nyingtri is under construction. The railway will probably be extended further to Nepal.
With the construction of these new extension lines, tourists can travel in Tibet more easily. The tour cost will also be greatly cut down. For instance, those who are just interested in visiting Mt. Everest can take a train from mainland China to Shigatse directly. Lots of time and money can be saved.
With rich experience in operating Qinghai Tibet Railway tour, , Happy Tibet Tours offers various train trips to Tibet from major cities of mainland China, including Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Xining.
There will be more extension of the Qinghai Tibet Railway to Nyingtri from Lhasa, and will possibly go to Nepal in a few coming years.
More New Flights to Different Regions of Tibet:
A very good news is that there is a daily flight from Chengdu to Kardze Tibetan prefecture which make our Kham trips more comfortable and meaningful that we can drive into Kham from Chengdu, the capital city of Sichuan and then fly back from kardze after the central Kham trip is finished.
There are also flights to Shiagtse from Chengdu, Flights to Ali from Lhasa, Flights to Nyingtri, flights to Chamdo, flights to Dartsedo, Flights to Nakqu will be coming soon.