pan-himalayan railroad

Chinese press is flooding with the news of China’s newest engineering feat – the completion of a railroad linking Lhasa (Tibet) with Eastern China. The country is celebrating this key achievement while the western press is once again applauding in awe and giving out mixed speculations. For example, this photo story contains some lines:

“There are fears the railway will speed up the immigration of ethnic Chinese into Tibet, threatening its distinct cultural and religious identity.”
“Tibetan groups and foreign critics say the railway’s real aim is political, as a symbol of China’s administrative and military control over a contested border region.”

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All I can say about such statements is that leading people from China will undoubtedly laugh down these types of comments made by western media companies. This task in itself is a great combination of hard work, intellect and brotherhood, which in itself is a sort of cultural unity; this railroad has a track length of 1142km, plus it is the world’s only track that is built at some point, up to an altitude of 5071m or higher, from the sea level.

The operation of this track could mean a lot for the neighbouring country of Nepal in economic terms. The distance between the Tibetan border and Kathmandu is a mere 100 kilometers at the nearest pass; and Tibet can be accessed from Nepal through a total of fourteen possible passes scattered along their mutual border. The point is, if Nepal somehow built and operated another high-quality railroad track up to the border of Tibet through any of these passes, then it is almost certain that China will build the continuing link up to the city of Lhasa.

For Nepal, this would provide a high level of freedom from its dependencies with India at times good and bad; not mentioning that this track could be a perpetual income source from the hundreds of Chinese tourists who are growing richer each day at home. Then there are visitors to Lhasa, who would willingly take some hours’ trip in order to discover Kathmandu…or those Nepalese who travel to China, they would find a cheaper solution…such examples are endless.

I know that this idea of a railroad from Kathmandu to Lhasa sounds like a magnificent dream for the Nepalese, but all in all it is a remote truth; once upon a time a Chinese guy had said, “If you want to grow rich, then build roads.”

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