Plan envisions plenty of tunnels on Sichuan-Tibet rail line
A preliminary study on the Kangding-Nyingchi section of the Sichuan-Tibet Railway shows the section will include at least 10 rail tunnels each longer than 10 kilometers, Tibet Daily reported this week.
The newspaper quoted He Huawu, a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, as saying the current plan is that the total length of the rail tunnels in the Kangding-Nyingchi section would be 843 kilometers - which is longer than the Beijing-Zhengzhou high-speed railway.
The longest rail tunnel, extending 42.5 km, would be the longest in China, eclipsing one 32-km-long on the Qinghai-Tibet Railway. According to the plan, there would be six rail tunnels in the Kangding-Nyingchi section longer than 30 km.
He made the remarks when attending an academic seminar on key technologies for building high-speed railways in complicated mountainous areas that was held in Chengdu, Sichuan province, last Sunday.
China Railway Corp said on Friday the design plan is "not final", but just part of preliminary research on the construction of the Kangding-Nyingchi section, and it has not been approved by the authorities.
The Sichuan-Tibet line will be the second railway line connecting the Tibet autonomous region with the rest of the country, following the 1,956-km Qinghai-Tibet Railway, which opened in 2006.
Since the new line will have to go through intricate and difficult geological conditions, and its construction will have to overcome frozen earth, landslides and rock slides, experts have dubbed the Sichuan-Tibet Railway China's most challenging rail project.
Some easier parts of the line have been built in the past few years, but construction of the Kangding-Nyingchi section has yet to start due to the difficulties involved.
Previous reports have said trains on the Sichuan-Tibet line will travel at between 160 and 200 kilometers per hour. When the line is completed, the travel time by rail between Chengdu and Lhasa will be cut from 48 hours to about 13 hours.
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