|Qinghai-Tibet railway ready for operation on July 1(06/29/06)|
Qinghai-Tibet railway is ready for operation on July 1, said a senior official with the Ministry of Railways at a news conference in Beijing on June 29.
Zhu Zhensheng, vice director of an office in charge of the railway under the ministry, said the railway will go into operation one year ahead of the schedule with good construction, environment and safety conditions.
The Qinghai-Tibet railway stretches 1,956 km from Xining, capital of Qinghai Province, to Lhasa, capital of Tibet Autonomous Region. The section of 814 km from Xining to Golmud began operation in 1984.
Most parts of the 1,142-km new track from Golmud to Lhasa are located more than 4,000 meters above sea level, with the highest point at 5,072 meters.
In this regard, the railway is the highest in the world, said Zhu at the news conference held by the Information Office of the State Council.
According to Zhu, the construction of the railway has resolved three major difficulties -- frozen tundra, high altitude and plateau environmental protection.
The testing operations of freight trains and passenger trains have been smooth, which paves the way for the formal operation of the track, said Zhu.
In testing operations, the trains reached the designed speed of 100 km per hour when running across the frozen tundra and 120 km per hour in non-tundra area, he said.
Trains linking Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Lanzhou, Xining and Lhasa will operate in the early phase, and more trains will be added in the near future, said Zhu.