Numbers tell story: 10 Year Anniversary of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway

This July 1st is the 10 year anniversary of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway. The plateau railway, built at the world’s highest altitude, with the world’s longest distance, has achieved a record in railway construction. The people of Qinghai and Tibet call the railway “The Road to Paradise.”

For the anniversary, the reporter gathered data from the railway in 10 areas: economy, per capita income, ecology, tourism, and more, to showcase how the railway is not simply an economic corridor, a happiness corridor, but an ecological corridor. 

As of the end of May, after ten years of operation, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway has delivered a total of 115 million passengers and 448 million tons of freight. The passenger and freight transport volume each grew 15.3% and 6.6%, transporting a total of 18 million passengers in and out of Tibet; and moving 31.9million tons of goods.

After the railway went into operation, the GDP in Tibet grew from 24.8 billion yuan to 102.6 billion yuan, maintaining an annual growth rate of 10%, whereas the GDP of Qinghai Province grew from 64.1 billion yuan to 241.7billion yuan.

In 2015, Tibet welcomed a total of 20.18 million domestic and international tourists, with tourism revenue reaching 28.2 billion yuan, which is 11 times and 15 times more than before the railway. Also in 2015, Qinghai Province welcomed 23.1 million tourists from within China and abroad, earning 24.8 billion yuan in tourism revenue, which are 3.6 and 7.3 times more than before the railway.

The Qinghai-Tibet Railway has accelerated the prosperity of the Tibet people. As of the end of 2015, the per capita disposable income reached 8244 yuan for farmers and shepherds, 4 times more than before the railway; while the per capita disposable income for Tibet residents living in towns and cities increased to 25457 yuan, a three-fold increase.

The Qinghai-Tibet Railway has added 33 ecological channels for wild life. Since 2011, the wild animals have used the channels at a 100% rate, up from the initial usage rate of 56.6% in 2004, ensuring thriving wild life in Tibet.

Fifteen waste water treatment stations were added along the Lhasa portion of the railway, focusing on waste water treatment for Lhasa, Nagqu, Amdo, Tuotuo River, and other regions, producing water at a level-two drinking standard.  

The Qinghai-Tibet Railway has set up 52 wind-monitoring stations along its route, transmitting information about strong winds in real-time to control stations via the internet. At Mt. Tanggula and 32 other stations, there are automatic snow-melting equipment installed along track turnouts, ensuring the smooth operation of trains during severe weather.

Control of transportation on the entire railway has achieved remote-access, information-based access, and smart access.

The Qinghai-Tibet Railway uses multiple methods to prevent and control sand; currently, vegetation is planted on 708 km of the railway, creating a green miracle on the plateau.

The railway’s total length of 1142 km makes it the highest altitude and longest railway in the world built on a frozen plateau. There are 550 km of the railway at 4000 meters altitude, which was constructed through soil that was frozen solid for decades. The train travels as fast as 100 km/hr, achieving many world and industry records.

There are 72 contingency plans and 12 medical stations for operation on the railway. The Qinghai-Tibet Railway Company has created 75 emergency action plans for potential train accidents, natural disasters, traffic safety issues, public health issues, etc. There are medical stations available in 12 cars along the Golmud-Lhasa portion of the railway, as well as two medical professionals onboard every train entering Tibet.