The Lhasa-Nyingchi Railway, the first bullet train line in southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region, saw a total of 106,000 passenger trips with a daily average of 3,500 during its first month of operation, according to a statement released by China State Railway Group earlier this week.
One of the recent passengers was Chinese President Xi Jinping, who took a train from Nyingchi to Lhasa during his visit to Tibet last week.
The 435-kilometer railway, linking the region’s capital Lhasa and Nyingchi, one of Tibet’s most popular tourist destinations, began operation on June 25, marking the launch of China’s first electrified railroad operating on the Roof of the World.
In a first in history, the trains pass through southeastern Tibet, shortening the journey between Lhasa and Nyingchi from over five hours to about 3.5 hours, half the time the journey takes by road, thereby benefiting local residents and travelers.
According to Lhasa railway authorities, passengers are mostly tourists, students commuting between home and school, as well as people visiting families, friends and traveling for work, and there is sufficient supply of tickets for trips between Lhasa, Shannan and Nyingchi to meet the travelers’ needs.
The operator conducts regular checks and maintenance for the Fuxing bullet trains, including the power engines and service facilities, such as oxygen equipment, seats and semiconductors. Supplementary services like translation, tour guidance and medical assistance are also provided on the trains.
The new railway, covering an area of 226,000 square kilometers, which is about 18.4 percent of the region’s entire land area, features 47 tunnels and 121 bridges. The trains have a top speed of 160 kilometers per hour, the fastest on the plateau region but slightly slower than some similar lines in the country due to the area’s high altitude.
SInoutheastern Tibetan areas, such as Nyingchi and Shannan, are situated along the Yarlung Tsangpo River – the longest and largest waterway on the highland, featuring quiet villages, valleys, lakes, waterfalls and other vast yet mysterious landscapes, as well as rich cultural legacy and many “firsts” in Tibetan history, such as the first palace, Yumbulagang Palace.