The International Information Center for Structural Engineers

Friday, 01 May 2015 03:29cat

China Considering Railway Under Mount Everest

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China is considering an extension of a railway line that will link the country of Nepal via a tunnel under Mount Everest. This is according to Chinese state media. There is serious skepticism as to whether the project will ever get off the ground, as this is just the latest proposal in a series of ambitious rail schemes Beijing is examining. The project is expected to be completed by 2020 and would forge a crucial trade link between China and India.

The challenging Himalayan terrain, with its remarkable changes in elevation, would cause the maximum speed of any train to Kathmandu to be 75 mph. The line would also involve some very long tunnels through Qomolangma (Mount Everest).

Another ambitious rail project that China is reportedly considering is a high-speed railway line to the United States that would run for 8,080 miles. Roughly 1,865 miles further than the Trans-Siberian railway. This transcontinental railway would include 125 miles of undersea tunnel, which would be the world’s longest, crossing the Bering Strait between Russia and Alaska.

The Chinese presence is growing in Nepal as substantial funding from Beijing is slated to provide massive hydroelectric projects, airports and a pilgrimage center at Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha. Indian analysts say Beijing’s influence is a concern.

“The Chinese are giving it a hard try, but the ties with India are very strong,” said G Parthasarathy, a retired senior Indian diplomat and commentator. “There’s a natural geography and history to our relationship (with Nepal). Yes, they can build a few roads, but they can’t employ five million Nepalese. And, how many Nepalis are migrating to China? Then there are affinities and culture too.”

“We are much concerned about the Chinese relationship with Pakistan, than with Nepal,” continued Parthasarathy.

China’s consideration of an expansion of the rail network in Tibet has come under criticism from rights groups including the International Campaign for Tibet (ITC), which has warned of the project’s “dangerous implications for regional security and the fragile ecosystem of the world’s highest and largest plateau”.


Source  The Guardian

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