The renovation of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway has been making progress, as work on the section between Xining and Golmud is expected to be finished by year's end, according to China Railway Qinghai-Tibet Group Co.
Fuxing high-speed trains will be operated on this 829-kilometer section upon its full completion. Travel times will be reduced from between 4.8 and 5.2 hours — two hours faster than the current fastest train, it said.
At 1,956 kilometers, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway is known as a plateau railway featuring the highest altitude and longest distance in the world. It starts from Xining, Qinghai province, and ends in Lhasa, Tibet autonomous region.
The Qinghai-Tibet Plateau used to be an isolated region because of transportation difficulties, high altitude, steep terrain and complex geographical conditions.
American traveler Paul Therou gave an assessment about railways on the plateau region in one of his diaries in the 20th century, noting that as long as the Kunlun Mountains exist, a railway would never reach Lhasa.
The construction of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway was started in 1958, and the section between Xining and Golmud was completed in 1984. The section between Golmud and Lhasa was completed and started operating in 2006.
In July, the company started the renovation of the railway to support electric, multiple-unit high-speed trains. The speed of passenger trains is expected to rise from 120 or 140 kilometers per hour to 160 km/h.
The Qinghai-Tibet Railway Co transported 803 million metric tons of goods and 265 million passenger visits between 2006 and 2022.