On Friday, Tibet's first electric railway line will be opened near the Indian border.

Yarlung Zangbo grand canyon

On Friday, China will launch its first electric train service in Tibet, connecting the capital Lhasa and Nyingchi, a town near the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh, a week before the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) celebrates its 100th anniversary on July 1.

The opening of the new line is a significant step forward in Beijing's long-term plan to develop infrastructure in the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) and link distant border districts and Lhasa to the rest of China.

The railway line's endpoint is most likely to be at Bayi town, close to the Indian border.

The train service in Tibet will be the quickest, at a speed of 160 kilometers per hour.

Tibet Railway Construction, a subsidiary of China State Railway Group, which built the 435-kilometer rail route, claims it travels through 47 tunnels and 120 bridges.

The railway line that connects Lhasa with Nyingchi in southeastern Tibet began construction in 2014.

According to government figures, 31.2 billion yuan ($4.8 billion) was invested in the project till the end of last year.

Nyingchi, like the rest of TAR, has been quickly constructing infrastructure. Foreign media and diplomats are not allowed to visit.

The Chinese government is constructing the Ya'an-Nyingchi segment of the Sichuan-Tibet railway, which will be 1,011 kilometers long and have 26 stops when finished, bringing the railway to the Indian border.

Its completion and opening, according to official media, is a realization of  “everyone’s dream of ‘getting on a train to Nyingchi’, and it is of great significance to help rural revitalization and promote the high-quality development of Tibet”.

According to the Xinhua news agency, it was the "second significant passageway" to Medog county, which borders Arunachal, linking Pad township in Nyingchi to Baibung in Medog county.

China's official planning agency, the National Development and Reform Commission, announced earlier this year that it will increase the development of railway projects that are critical for border defence.

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