Headline News


Maiden voyage on Qinghai-Tibet Railway


07-01-2006 11:43

After five years of construction, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, the world's highest rail-link, begins operation. The first passenger train on the Railway set off this morning (Saturday). It's the first railway linking the Tibet Autonomous Region with the outside world. Chinese President Hu Jintao highly praised the move, saying the railway is important to economic and social development of the region.

A grand launching ceremony was held Saturday morning at the Golmud station, a start-off point of the landmark railway in northwest China's Qinghai Province, to mark the railway's opening to traffic. About 2,600 people from various circles along with leaders from the central government and local governments attended the ceremony. Some 100 exemplary workers who have made special contributions to the railway construction also attended the ceremony.

Chinese President Hu Jintao delivered an keynote speech at the ceremony. He said that the opening to traffic of the Qinghai-Tibet railway is another magnificent accomplishment achieved in the socialist modernization drive. He also noted that the railway is strictly protecting the environment along the railway.

Hu said: "The construction and operation of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway is of great significance for the economic and social development, improvement of the living standard and unity of people of different ethnic groups, and safeguard of the national security. The railway sector should pay great attention to the enviromental protection of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, and take strick measures to protect the ecologic enviroment along the Railway."

Following the ceremony, President Hu Jintao cut the ribbon for the launching of the railway. The first train, coded "Qing 1", left Golmum station for Lhasa, capital city of the Tibet Autonomous Region, at around 11 o'clock Saturday morning. The train carried about 600 passengers and is expected to arrive in Tibet's regional capital Lhasa around midnight. The train leaves Golmud at about 2,800 meters above sea level, winds through the towering Tanggula Mountain Pass at about 5,000 meters, and finally arrives in Lhasa at some 3,600 meters.

Minutes laters, the first train leaving Tibet also took off the Lhasa station.

The Qinghai-Tibet railway stretches almost 2,000 kilometers from Xining, capital of Qinghai Province, to Lhasa. Nearly 1,000 kilometers of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway's tracks are located at 4,000 meters above sea level.

The railway is the world's highest and longest plateau railroad and also the first railway connecting the Tibet Autonomous Region with the rest of China.


Editor:Wang Ping