Friday, December 19, 2008

China's 'Sky Train’ chugging to Tibet – the world's highest railway

like an iron dragon soaring on the Roof of the World. It is rightly called the "Sky Train." The 1,142-kilometer railway, which took four years to complete, is the last section of the 1,956-km Qingzang (Qinghai-Tibet) Railway from Xining to Lhasa, respectively the capital of Qinghai and Tibet. The first section, from Xining to Golmud, has been in operation since 1984.

It is the world's highest railway. Most parts of the new track from Golmud to Lhasa are located more than 4,000 meters above sea level, with the highest points at 5,072 meters. Construction of the US$5.5 billion railway was difficult because of the formidable challenge of frozen tundra, thin air and environmental protection.

It's nothing short of a miracle that these problems were overcome. Now, Tibet, which sits on the roof of the world, is no longer an isolated Shangri-la. It is estimated that nearly 3,000 passengers will arrive in Lhasa each day by train equipped with sealed, oxygenated cars
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