The Lhasa-Nyingchi Railway belongs to the west line of Sichuan-Tibet Railway, which will be the second railway in China connecting Tibet and the rest of the country once it is completed. The Lhasa-Nyingchi Railway is now under the construction and is expected to be put into operation in 2021.
According to the designed route, the Lhasa-Nyingchi Railway starts from Shelrong Railway Station, and then stretches southward by passing through the stretching branches of Gangdese Mountains and crossing the Yarlung Zangbo River valley. After passing through the Yarlung Zangbo River in Konka, the railway runs down the valley and then stretches eastward along the following route: Zhanang County- Naidong District - Sangri County - Gyaca County - Nang County - Milin County. Finally, the railway runs along the Niyang River to Nyingchi. It is almost parallel to the southern line of the Lhasa-Nyingchi Highway.
The Lhasa-Nyingchi Railway is an important part of both Sichuan-Tibet Riailway and Yunnan-Tibet Railway. Construction of the railway began in December 2014 and the railway is expected to be put into service in 2021. Once the railway is completed, it will greatly shorten the time it takes to get from Lhasa to Ningchi to around 3 hours, which is 4 hours shorter than it takes to get from Lhasa to Ningchi via the north line of the Lhasa-Nyingchi Highway.
The section is designed to have 38 stations at the major towns along the route. 4 out of the 38 stations are old stations between Lhasa and Shelrong, and the other 34 are newly-built stations between Shelrong and Nyingchi, among which 9 stations are intermediate stations, including Konka Station, Zhanang Station, Zetang Station, Sangri Station, Gyaca Station, Nang Station, Milin Station, Chaoyang Station, and Nyingchi Station, and the other 25 are siding stations.
The planning route of Lhasa-Nyingchi Railway is almost parallel to the Yarlung Zangbo River. 16 bridges across the Yarlung Zangbo River need to be built for the railway, and the Mingze Bridge is the first and the longest bridge of them. The bridge is located in Sangri County, Shannan City. As a key project to the Lhasa-Nyingchi Railway, it covers a total length of 3,376 meters and has a total of 105 piers, among which 44 piers are situated in the Yarlung Zangbo River.
Lhasa-Nyingchi is a ring tour route. When the railway is put into operation, tourists are suggested to travel between Linzhi and Lhasa by taking the transportation mean of “one-way railway + one-way highway”. For example, you can take trains to Ningchi from Lhasa at first, and then go back to Lhasa from Ningchi via the highway. In this way, you are not only able to save time on the roads and see more different scenery, but can also avoid of going back along the same route. If time is limited, you can also choose to go back and forth by railways.