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Qinghai-Tibet railway transports 73 mln passengers

2014-07-02 16:41 Xinhua Web Editor: Qin Dexing

More than 73 million people have travelled on the Qinghai-Tibet railway, the world's highest plateau rail track, since the route opened in July 2006, its operator said on Tuesday.

The railway, spanning 1,956 km from Xining in the northwestern province of Qinghai, to Lhasa, regional capital of Tibet, has carried 73.79 million passengers, said Jiang Zehai, deputy general manager of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway Company.

"Over the past eight years, passengers on the rail link have increased on average 15.5 percent annually," he said, adding that more than 1 million passengers left Lhasa railway station in 2013, setting a new record.

Meanwhile, latest statistics showed that the route has also transported 355.9 million tonnes of cargo.

The railway has helped boost the local tourism industry. According to the regional tourism bureau, the autonomous region attracted 12.9 million tourists from home and abroad in 2013, while the figure was only 1.8 million in 2005, a year before the rail link opened.

Tourism revenues grew to 16.5 billion yuan (about 2.7 billion U.S. dollars) in 2013 from 1.94 billion yuan in 2005.

"The Qinghai-Tibet railway has gathered experience for the future construction of China's plateau railway, such as technologies in running on frozen land, operating the train in an extremely cold environment, and protecting the surrounding environment," Jiang said.

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