Lhasa – Nyingchi Railway

The Lhasa-Nyingchi Railway is the proposed section of the Sichuan Tibet railway, which will soon become the second railway to Tibet from mainland China. Built in four sections, Lhasa to Nyingchi, Chengdu to Ya’an, Ya’an to Kangding, and Kangding to Nyingchi, the Sichuan Tibet Railway is already under construction. Once completed, it will shorten the time from mainland China to Lhasa to around 7-8 hours. The Nyingchi to Lhasa segment was approved on 31 October 2014 and is currently under construction. The 434 km (270 mi) segment has a design speed of 160 km/h; and, 32 km (20 mi) shared with the Lhasa–Xigazê railway from Lhasa to Xierong will be electrified. Lhasa-Nyingchi Railway belongs to a trunk railway, which is the common section of the Sichuan-Tibet Railway, the Yunnan-Tibet Railway and the Gan-Tibet Railway and is also a branch line project of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway. On December 19, 2014, the dominant project of the Bayu Yarlung Zangbo River Bridge(巴玉雅鲁藏布江大桥) started. The construction of the whole line started on June 29, 2015. The original plan was completed in 2021 and will be completed one year ahead of schedule.

Basic Information

  • Name: Nyingchi-Lhasa Railway(拉林铁路)
  • Duration: About 2 to 3 hours
  • Distance: 435 kilometers (270 miles)
  • Elevation: 2,800-3,700 meters (9,186-12,139 ft)
  • Designed Operating Speed: 160 km/h
  • Starting and terminal: Lhasa Railway Station-Nyingchi Railway Station
  • Station: 34, for the convenience of the people
  • Construction period: at the end of 2014-2021(will be completed one year in advance)
  • Location: Southeastern Qinghai-Tibet Plateau, crossing fault zone


In 2014, the Nyingchi Railway began to be built and will be operated to run in 2020 as predicted and will be completed one year in advance.  Once completed, the travel time will be shortened to two- three hours. With the opening of several railway stations in Shannan, passengers will be easy to take a tour in Shannan area. Lhasa Shigatse Train will share about 33 kilometers with Lhasa Nyingchi rail, two lines will meet at Xierong Railway Station.

Along Nyingchi Railway, there are 47 tunnels, 118 bridges, which need the tremendous  technology support. Landmark projects are the 17,310 meters long Dagala Tunnel and the first coating-free and weather-proof steel bridge: Zangmu Grand Bridge. The construction condition of Lhasa-Nyingchi Railway is incredibly difficult. The construction crew have to build rails in cold and remote areas, where it is not easy to enter into,  let alone the high altitude sickness. What is very worrying are the complicated geological structure, landslides, collapses, flood damage, icing disaster, earthquakes and mollisols. Of course, the Lhasa-Nyingchi Railway is one of China’s most expensive railways.

Construction Significance

  • As the branch line of Qinghai Tibet Railway and important joint parts of Sichuan Tibet Railway, Yunnan Tibet Railway and Gansu Tibet Railway, this line is planned to be the first railway reaching Nyingchi and will end history of no railway available in southeast Tibet.
  • As the most important part of the route to Tibet, connecting the fast-tracking channels between Tibet and China’s most developed Greater South China region is conducive to faster development of Tibet’s development level, and is also conducive to strengthening relationship between Tibet and mainland and strengthening ethnic exchanges and ethnic unity.
  • The southeastern end is close to the McMahon Line for nearly 20 kilometers. As the most important part of the route to Tibet, it is conducive to the transportation of national defense materials.
  • The nine counties and cities that cross are the most densely populated areas in Tibet, and the region is rich in minerals. But because of the laggard traffic infrastructure, these minerals have not been developed on a large scale. The construction of the Lhasa-Nyingchi Railway is the most important component of the routes to Tibet. It will build a large-scale and fast-track access to Tibet in the developed Greater South China region and expand various related capabilities.
  • Develop the connection between Lhasa City – Shannan City – Nyingchi City, build a three-hour economic circle in Lhasa, and improve the central position of Lhasa.