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17:20 Jun 12 2009

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China sets out to build second railway to Tibet
17:19, June 12, 2009  

Across the Jinsha River

On 10th June, Diqing plateau became an ocean of joy. People of ethnic Tibetan, Lisu, Naxi, Bai and Yi gathered at the cargo terminal construction site of Shangri-La Town to hold a meeting, celebrating the commencement of China's second Tibet Railway —— Lijiang-Shangri-La railway.

The railway that will cover 23,870 square kilometers and serve 373,000 people (of which 83.56% are ethnic minorities) will extend from Diqing plateau. It will connect the Dali Railway and the Tibet Autonomous Region.

As an important part of "the western railway network" and Yunnan-Tibet Railway in China's medium and long-term railway net work plan, Lijiang-Shangri-La railway starts from Lixiang station of Dali Railway, crossing the Jinsha River northward, passing Xiao Zhongdian, where it finally arrives in Shangri-La. Lijiang-Shangri-La railway not only traverses the richest and most unique regions in Yunnan Province containing biotechnology, mining, electricity and water resources, but also the habitat for ethnic minorities like Tibetan, Naxi, Yi, Lisu, Pumi and Bai.

Luo Zhengfu, vice governor of Yunnan province said at the meeting, "Construction of the Lijiang- Shangri-La railway will have a significant influence on promoting economic and social development in the northwest area: it can help to ease the backwardness of the transportation situation in northwest Yunnan, optimize the inter-regional allocation of resources, promote the deep exploration of tourism, hydropower and mineral resources and maintain stability in Tibet."

Full use of electric traction along the entire railway line

Speeding up railway construction in Yunnan Province was an important measure to cope with the international financial crisis, to stimulate domestic demand and economic growth and to promote the long-term development of Yunnan province. Yunnan province will take Lijiang-Shangri-La railway as a new opportunity to further set off an upsurge of railway construction in the province. Projects like Kunming Hinge Expansion, Yu-Kun Railway Expansion, the South East Link Dianchi Lake, Yun-Gui Railway, Shanghai-Kunming Railway line will all be launched within the year as to ensure eight billion yuan railway construction investment.

According to the approval of National Development and Reform Commission, the 139-kilometer-long Lijiang-Shangri-La railway is a level 1 National Railway. Electric traction is employed the whole length of the line, and the designed speed of the line is 120 km per hour. Being a part of the Yunnan-Tibet Railway, Lijiang-Shangri-La railway connects cities like Dali and Kunming. After the completion of Lijiang-Shangri-La Railway, more than 600 kilometers of railway line will be linked.

Total investment of this project amounts to 9.2 billion yuan and the project capital is 4.6 billion yuan, accounting for 50% of the total investment. Among which, the Ministry of Railways arranges 3.22 billion yuan fund for railway construction, accounting for 70% of the capital, while the Yunnan Provincial Capital Budget arranges 1.38 billion yuan, accounting for 30% of the capital. The remaining 4.6 billion yuan is from bank loans. The whole project is scheduled to complete in 6 years.

By People's Daily Online

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http://english.people.com.cn/90001/90778/90857/90860/6677607.pdf