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Nepal to Tibet Train

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Nepal to Tibet Train

China will extend the Shigatse-Gyirong railway (the extension line of Lhasa-Shigatse railway, which is the branch of Qinghai-Tibet railway opening in 2014) to Gyirong port, Gyirong county,which sits on the border of China and Nepal. The route is along the Jilong Zangbu River instead of the perilous Zhangmu port. It will stretch out for another 540 kilometers from Shigatse to Gyirong, the border of two countries, in 2020. It is scheduled to be completed in 2022.

This project is in line with the "Belt and Road" China's transportation development strategy. It greatly improves the tourism economy of Nepal and greatly increases the trade volume between China and Nepal. It will give Nepal the opportunity to benefit from China's fast-growing economy and will greatly enhance the desire of Chinese Buddhists to travel. This railway is the highest altitude in the world.

At that time, the vast number of Buddhists in South China can go to Nepal via Sichuan-Tibet railway, Yunnan-Tibet railway and Lhasa-Shigatse railway.

China-Nepal Railway

Route

Shigatse - Gyirong Port -Kathmandu

Route Choice

Along the Jilong Zangbu River instead of the Zhangmu port

Status

Planned to start in 2020

Significance of construction

The construction of China-Nepal Railway is of great significance for deepening Sino Nepal friendly strategic cooperation and partnership of development and prosperity, strengthening economic and trade exchanges between China and Nepal, thoroughly boosting the construction of “Belt and Road” and promoting the economic and social development of Tibet.

The Shigatse to Gyirong section of China-Nepal railway shares the same line with the Xinjiang-Tibet railway in China's medium and long term railway network planning. After implementation, it will form a railway channel along the western and southwestern part of China together with the Xinjiang-Tibet railway and Sichuan-Tibet railway, which will promote the integrate development of Tibet and the mainland, and lay the foundation for accelerating the construction of the interconnection network across Himalaya.

Revitalizing tourism in Nepal

Tourism is the pillar industry of Nepal's economy, and China is the second largest source of tourists in Nepal.

The land and air connectivity between China and Nepal helps to strength the border tourism. Public reporting that in 2013 the number of Chinese tourists to Nepal exceeded 100,000 for the first time, and in 2014, it showed a trend of gradual growth. The transportation capacity of the two existing road corridors between China and Nepal is poor, resulting in the trade volume between two countries has been maintained at more than US $1 billion for many years. Till 2013, the trade volume between two countries exceeded US $2 billion for the first time. It is no doubt that the trade volume will increase if China and Nepal realize railway connectivity.

At that time, the vast number of Buddhists in South China can go to Nepal via Sichuan-Tibet railway, Yunnan-Tibet railway and Lhasa-Shigatse railway.

Boost bilateral trade

China-Nepal railway will play a great important role in boosting trade and tourism between the two countries.

According to AFP( Agence France-Presse) , such a railway may reduce Nepal's dependence on India in transportation, cotton textile products, cement and other commodities. Many Nepalese feel uneasy about India's current leading role in its economy. As Nepal's largest trading partner, India accounts for 60% of Nepal's foreign trade.

"Once opened, the railway will not only reduce Nepal's dependence on India over the past 10 years, but also give Nepal the opportunity to benefit from China's fast-growing economy," said Singher, an economics professor at Tribhuvan University in Kathmandu.

Solve the crises

In 2015, India banned the oil transportation to Nepal, resulting in a sudden crisis in the economy and people's living of Nepal, which has long term relied on India. China was urgently requested to support its gasoline. However, the long time and low volume of road transportation made Nepal more eager to have the large transportation capacity of China-Nepal railway.

Route choice

It includes China section and Nepal section. China section is from Lhasa to Gyirong county, which accounts more than four fifth section in China. The Lhasa-Shigatse Railway, which opened in 2014, extends 540 kilometers from Shigatse to Gyirong port, Gyirong County , the border of China and Nepal, in 2020. The extension line of Lhasa- Shigatse is the Shigatse-Gyirong railway. Shigatse is 253 kilometers away from the border between China and Nepal in a straight line, but the curve distance is much longer and it's a detour.

Along the Jilong Zangbu river area: there is a large choice of terrain.

Zhangmu port, which does not go through the China-Nepal highway: the distance is shorter, but very dangerous.

The railway from Gyirong County in China to Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, will be built after 2020. That is a short section, however, to connect the three major cities of Nepal is a arduous task.

Due to the special geography, the maximum speed of China-Nepal railway is no more than 120km/h. However, it can be 160km/h after entering Nepal as the geological conditions in Nepal are better.

Wang Mengshu, an expert in tunnel engineering in China and academician of the Chinese Academy of engineering, said[2] that the construction of the railway must pass through the Himalayas, so a long tunnel through the Himalayas needs to be built. He also said that due to the special topography and great height changes of the Himalayas, the maximum speed of any train to Kathmandu can only reach 120km/h. According to Wang Mengshu, China has started the relevant preparations. At present, the Qinghai-Tibet railway finals Shigatse in the west, and the straight-line distance between Shigatse and the border between China and Nepal is 253 kilometers. However, only two highways are connecting China and Nepal, without any railways.

Many sections can be chosen to pass through Himalayan tunnel. Mt. Everest will not be considered as the border of Gyirong county is far away from Mt. Everest.

Background of the proposed project

China-Nepal railway, including China section and Nepal section, China section-the extension line Lhasa-Shigatse Railway, Shigatse-Gyirong railway extends to Gyirong port, Gyirong County, the border of China and Nepal, have been started and it is scheduled to be finished in 2020.

The railway from Gyirong port, in Gyirong County of China to Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, will be built later. That is a short section, and is considered to be completed within two years.

On August 27, 2006, when meeting with Nepal's Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sharma Olli, the president of Tibet Autonomous Region said that the Qinghai-Tibet railway will not only extend to the city of Shigatse, but also eventually reach the border between China and Nepal. The first branch line of the Qinghai-Tibet railway will start construction in 2007, leading to Shigatse, the second largest city in Tibet, and is estimated to be completed within three years. Shigatse is more than 400 kilometers away from the border of China and Nepal and will also be connected by railway. It will promote economic exchanges between Tibet and South Asian countries, he said. "In such a remote place as Tibet, we hope to build a channel to South Asia, because bilateral economic and trade exchanges have great potential." Olli said that the Nepalese government also has the same will, with the hope that the railway can reach the border between China and Nepal, and work together with China to make it successfully.

Attention of Nepal

On April 1 2015, President of the Tibet Autonomous Region Government of China, told visiting Nepalese president Ram Baran Yadav on Wednesday (April 1) that the Qinghai-Tibet railway will stretch out for another 540 kilometers from Shigatse to Gyirong port, the border of two countries, in 2020. At the end of March, Yadav attended the 2015 Boao Forum for Asia in south China’s Hainan Province, during which China launched the "Best and Road" top-level plan. The plan pointed out that it will promote the border trade and tourism cultural cooperation between Tibet and Nepal. Later among March 29 to April 1, Yadav and his delegation visited Tibet. This is President Yadav's second visit to Tibet after his first visit five years ago. One of the important goals of Yadav's visit to China is to promote the construction of land and air transportation between China and Nepal. He hopes the two countries could further promote air and land connectivity in the near future. According to website www.tibet.cn, Yadav said in his visit that Tibet Autonomous Region is an important channel for Nepal and China. Strengthening the connectivity of air, road, port, especially railway between the two countries, plays a huge role in sharing opportunities and creating prosperity together, and Nepal is full of confidence in the great potential and bright future of Nepal and Tibet trade cooperation. Nepal welcomes and thanks Tibet Autonomous Region for Nepal Help from the improvement of people's lives in the northern border area. He also said that Nepal firmly supports and is willing to take part in the "Belt and Road" construction.

Desire of Nepal

In 2015, India banned the oil transportation to Nepal, resulting in a sudden crisis in the economy and people's living of Nepal, which has long term relied on India. China was urgently requested to support its gasoline. However, the long time and low volume of road transportation made Nepal more eager to have the large transportation capacity of China-Nepal railway.

Agreement Signature

In March 2016, the two prime ministers of China and Nepal held talks. Nepal requested China to extend the railway directly from Shigatse in Tibet, to Gyirong, the border cities of the two countries, in 2020, and then connect the three major cities of Nepal. China adopts the proposal of China-Nepal railway.

Program Schedule

Since 2017, the National Development and Reform Commission, the State Railway Administration, the State Railway Group and other relevant parties have actively promoted the preliminary research work of China-Nepal railway, and carried out a number of special studies in engineering technology, geology, etc.

In December 2018, the pre feasibility study plan of China-Nepal railway passed the joint review by the government departments of both sides.

On November 21, 2019, the kick-off meeting for the feasibility study of the Shigatse-Gyirong section of China-Nepal railway was held.

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