this new TGV line passes more than 5,000 meters above sea level

A few weeks ago, China inaugurated the very first high-speed railway in Tibet. This means that trains have to run at such an altitude that the cabins need extra oxygen.

Stimulate tourism, but not only

435 kilometers long, the Tibet’s first high-speed railway has been in service since June 25, 2021, as explained in a CNN article. This line connects the Tibetan capital Lhasa with Linzhi and crosses a hostile and beautiful environment with peaks of more than 8,000 meters and very narrow valleys. The China Railway (CR) service includes two Fuxings: the CR400AF-Z and the CR400AF-BZ. They are simply the fastest conventional high-speed trains in the world in regular service (350 km/h). Yet these machines circulate on only 160 km/h in the case of this line, for obvious security reasons. The line has nine stations, which trains can connect to in less than 3.5 hours.

With this project, China continues to open up the autonomous region of Tibet. This is about accelerating their integration and thus reducing the demands on independence a little more. It is, of course, also a matter of stimulating the tourism sector. The government is also very active in this area and communicates about the quality of landscapes. For example, the Yarlung Tsangpo River Valley in the southeastern Tibetan Plateau contains many lakes and waterfalls, as well as traditional villages.

train Tibet
Credits: video recording / CNN

Very impressive data

It should be noted that the construction of this line, which began six years ago, was a real technical challenge. Have no less than 130,000 workers 47 tunnels dug and 121 bridges built, so many buildings represent about 75% of the journey. In particular, let’s mention Zangmu Bridge, which is none other than the widest and tallest arch bridge in the world. You should also know that the Lhasa-Linzhi Line de highest electrified train line in the world, the highest point of which is a pass 5100 meters above sea level. In addition, 90% of the journey is made at an altitude of more than 3,000 meters.

At such a height, the China Railway had no choice but to equip the cabins with an oxygen supply. The target ? To maintain a stable percentage of 23.6%ie slightly more than the usual 21% at sea level. reinforcement with UV filter because the radiation on the Tibetan plateau is very intense. Finally, if the line is 100% electric, the system also includes an internal combustion engine if necessary.