The Qinghai-Tibet Railway completes seamless track replacement project

The seamless track replacement of the last 2-kilometer within the part between  Kaixinling and Amdo, Golmud-Lhasa section of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, was completed on the 12th of September, which marked the full completion of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway seamless track replacement project that lasted 7 years.

The railway on the plateau of the highest altitude in the world has achieved that "one single track goes through thousands of miles".   

The Qinghai-Tibet Railway seamless track replacement project lasted 7 years with a total investment of close to 1.298 billion yuan.  During the period, 82,021 common rails have been replaced, amounting 1,111 kilometers and weighing 127,700 tons. 390,000 workers engaged in the project and up to over 600 workers worked on the sites every single day, according to the Qinghai-Tibet Railway Company.  

Before replacing the railway track, the Golmud-Lhasa section of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway used 25-meter-long common rails. There is a gap between the steel rails in order to avoid thermal expansion and contraction. The “bang” sound that passengers could hear was just the clash generated by the train wheels and the steel rail  joints. This kind of clash not only cause damage to the steel railheads and the wheels it also makes it harder for maintaining the railroad, at the same time  constrains the speed of the trains in and out of Tibet and thus influence the comfort and ease of passengers. 

In order to resolve this problem, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway Company has carried out the steel rail replacement project since 2010, along the Golmud-Lhasa section of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway. The 25-meter common steel-rail have been replaced with 500-meter long rails. The rail replacement project has taken the world leading movable gas pressure welding technology, removed the gap between the  rail joints by flaw detection and sanding technologies, and welded into a seamless track.  

The Qinghai-Tibet Railway has been safely running for 10 years, since its inauguration on July 1st of 2006.  According to statistics, by the end of May 2016, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway Company had carried 115 million people and 448 million tons of freight.