Xinjiang – Tibet Railway

Xinjiang-Tibet Railway(or Xinzang railway, Xinjiang–Xizang railway) is a proposed railway that connected Hotan, Xinjiang and Shigatse, Tibet. The Xinjiang-Tibet Railway, which includes the Riye Railway(Shigatse-Yecheng) and the Lhasa-Shigatse Railway, is an important transportation link between Xinjiang and Tibet, starting from Yecheng County, Xinjiang to Shigatse and Lhasa, Tibet. It is an important part of Xinjiang Railway and Tibet Railway Network. It is one of the five planned railways to Tibet, the other four are Qingzang Railway(Qinghai-Tibet), Chuanzang Railway(Sichuan-Tibet), Dianzang Railway(Yunnan-Tibet) and Ganzang Railway(Gansu-Tibet). At present, the route is still in the stage of planning and surveying. In the future, the railway will play an important role in promoting economic development and communication between the two places. The railway is a new way because of the shortage of highway transportation, and the utilization ratio of the Xinjiang-Tibet highway is low.

Basic Information

Chinese Name 新藏铁路
English Name Xinjiang-Tibet Railway
Beginning and Ending Yecheng County, Xijiang-Lhasa, Tibet
Route Yecheng, Ngari, Shigatse, Lhasa
Constitution Riye(日叶) Railway(Shigatse-Yecheng), Lari(拉日) Railway(Lhasa-Shigatse)
Length About 2010 kilometers
Status In Planning and inspection Stage
Supporting Highway Xinjiang-Tibet Highway
Technical Difficulty Difficult

Road Condition

The Xinjiang-Tibet railway to be built in the future starts from Hetan city in Xinjiang, passes through Ngari in Tibet, and finally reaches Shigatse City, Tibet, and connects with the Lhasa-Shigatse Railway. The total length of the railway is estimated at more than 2000 kilometers long, through the world-famous Kunlun Mountains, Karakoram Mountains, Gangdise Mountains, Himalayas. It is expected that the entire line of the Xinjing-Tibet Railway will cross more than a dozen places of ice, dozens of glaciers, and along the way lies more than a thousand kilometers of desert and Gobi, permafrost and perennial snow-covered mountains, untraversed Qiangtang grasslands and uninhabited areas. The elevation of the whole line is expected to be above 4500 meters. The winter temperature along the railway can reach minus 40℃, and the oxygen content is only 44% of inland areas.

Scenery along the Railway

1. 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 TempleBarkhor StreetDrepung MonasterySera 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 MonasteryMt. Everest Tashilhunpo Monastery, and Natang Monastery. More Information about Lhasa Tour and Shigatse Tour.

2. Summer is the most attractive season on the Qiangtang prairie. Green pastures, dark-blue lakes, winding rivers, silvery snow mountains, herds of wild animals and scattered plateau nomads make up the primeval and natural scenery of the land.

3. The railway will pass through Namtso Lake(4718 meters), Siling Lake(4530 meters), Tangra Yumco(4535 meters), Lake Manasarovar(4588 meters), Yamdrok Lake(4441 meters) and other lakes. There are also Ruins of Guge dynasty with profound history and the holy mountain Kangrinboqe, etc.

Significance of Xinjiang-Tibet Railway

Although the construction of the Xinjiang-Tibet Railway is difficult and requires more funds, in the long run, it is necessary to build it. Once the Xinjiang-Tibet Railway is completed, it will become an important transportation link between Xinjiang and Tibet and the railway artery in northwest and southwest China. It will play an important role in strengthening economic, cultural, tourism and other exchanges between Xinjiang and Tibet. At the same time, it is of great significance to realize leapfrog development and long-term peace and stability in the Ngari Prefecture of Tibet. Xinjiang-Tibet railway also has important national defense significance. The Xinjiang-Tibet railway plays an irreplaceable role in strengthening the peace and stability of the frontier area and undertaking important national defense transportation in wartime. The Railway may be the ultimate work in China railway.

Plateau Railway System in China

By 2015, Qinghai-Tibet Railway and Lhasa-Shigatse Railway has been constructed, while the Lhasa-Nyingchi Railway(a section of the south line of Sichuan-Tibet Railway) is under construction. By 2020, the railway between Shigatse and Gyirong and the railway from Shigatse to Yadong port will be built. In the next 35 years, Sichuan-Tibet Railway, Yunnan-Tibet Railway, Gansu-Tibet Railway and Xinjiang-Tibet Railway will be built in succession. At that time, five railways to Tibet, namely Qingzang, Chuanzang, Ganzang, Xinzang and Dianzang, will eventually form the “one vertical and one horizontal” plateau railway layout.