Tibet – Nepal Highway

Nepal and Tibet in China are neighbors bordering each other, both famous for the beautiful natural scenery and profound Buddhism culture. However, blocked by the high Himalayas Mountains, there are only two highways connecting two places. Thus, China – Nepal Railway Line emerges as the time requires. China-Nepal Railway is a planned railway between China and Nepal. The railway will link Kathmandu with Shigatse of Tibet, crossing China-Nepal Border at Gyirong. It will make the trip to and fro Nepal and China by train possible for both Buddhists and tourists.

Basic Information

Chinese Name 中尼铁路
English Name China-Nepal Railway
Route Lhasa-Shigatse-Gyirong Port-Kathmandu
Railway Type International Railway
Constitution China Section(Shigatse-Gyirong Railway, about 540 kilometers) and Nepal Section(Gyirong-Kathmandu Railway, about 72 kilometers)
Estimated Time of Completion Make the Lhasa-Shigatse railway extend to Gyirong in 2020, complete Gyirong-Kathmandu railway in two years(2020-2022).
Design Speed 120-160 km/h

Construction Plan

China-Nepal railway project includes the China section and the Nepal section. The China section, from Lhasa to Gyirong County, is an extension of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway network, with a distance of more than 700 kilometers, accounting for 4/5 of total railway, expected to be completed in 2022. After 2020, China and Nepal will build another railway from Gyirong County in China to Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal.

The Lari(Lhasa-Shigatse) Railway, which opened in 2014, will extend 540 kilometers from Shigatse to China-Nepal border, Gyirong port. The extension line of the Lhasa-Shigatse Railway is the Shigatse-Gyirong Railway. Shigatse is 253 kilometers away from the border with Nepal, but the curve distance is much longer. After 2020, a railway from Gyirong County in China to Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, will begin to construct. This section is short, but the task that links up Nepal’s three major cities is challenging. Because of its special geography, the top speed of the China-Nepal railway is no more than 120 km/h, but the geological conditions in Nepal are better, the speed an hour can reach 160 km/h.

China-Nepal Railway Running Route

Shigatse-Gyirong Railway

Lhasa-Shigatse Railway will be extended to the Gyirong port in Gyrong County on the China-Nepal border. The railway has begun to construct and will be completed by 2020. Within China, the railway will mostly follow the route of China National Highway 318 after leaving Shigatse, passing through Lhatse, Sa’gyaDinggyeTingri, and Nyalam. After reaching Nyalam, the railway will follow Highway 219 to Gyirong.

Gyirong – Katmandu Railway

The Nepal section is considered one of the post challenging railway projects due to topographical issues of the Himalayas, So a long tunnel through the Himalayas needs to be built. There will be four stations along the line, with the terminal at Sankhu in Kathmandu. A further extension to Pokhara and Lumbini is planned. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2020 and is expected to be completed within two years.

Significance of Building China-Nepal Railway

This project is in line with Belt and Road’s strategy for China’s transportation development, greatly enhancing the tourism economy of  Nepal, a Buddhist country, and greatly increasing the trade volume between China and Nepal, which will give Nepal an opportunity to benefit from China’s rapid economic development. It will greatly improve the tourist desire of Chinese Buddhists. China-Nepal railway is the highest elevation in the world.

1. Promoting tourism in Nepal

Tourism is Nepal’s economic pillar industry, China is Nepal’s second largest source of tourists. Land and air links between China and Nepal help to enhance tourism along the border. However, the two existing roads between China and Nepal have poor transport capacity, resulting in the trade volume between China and Nepal has not been growing for many years. If the railway exchanges between China and Nepal are available, the trade volume will undoubtedly be increased. At that time, the vast number of Buddhists in South China can travel to Nepal via the Sichuan-Tibet Railway, the Yunnan-Tibet Railway and the Lhasa-Shigatse Railway.

2. Improve Mutual Trade

The railway will play a very important role in boosting trade and tourism between the two countries. Such a railway could reduce Nepal’s reliance on India for a variety of goods such as vehicles, cotton products and cement. Except the Indian transportation line, Nepal will have another line to get what they need such as oil from China through Lhasa-Katmandu Railway.

Scenic Spots in Lhasa and Shigatse

Lhasa and Shigatse are two popular tourists cities in Tibet. Lhasa is well-known for its fascinating landscapes, mysterious thousand-year-old history, splendid Tibetan culture. The magnificent palaces and temples are the outstanding highlights, such as the famous Polata Palace, Jokhang Temple, Barkhor Street, Drepung Monastery, Sera Monastery, and Norbulingka, which reveals the brilliant attainments in architecture and Buddhism culture. The miraculous Namtso Lake is a must site for most tourists. In Shigatse, the second largest city in Tibet, there are clear lakes, ancient temples,  beautiful grasslands. Tourists can be washed by the unique culture and customs. There are famous attractions, such as Sakya Monastery, Mt. Everest Tashilhunpo Monastery, and Natang Monastery. More Information about Lhasa Tour and Shigatse Tour.