China has launched the first fully electrified bullet train in Tibet’s Himalayan region, linking the provincial capital of Lhasa to Nyingchi, near the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh.

The 435.5km Lhasa-Nyingchi section of the Sichuan-Tibet Railway marked the start of high-speed train services to all mainland provincial-level regions.

Lhasa-Nyingchi Railway chief engineer Liu Yuxiang was quoted by CCTV as saying: “The electricity transmission process has been completed and tested.”

Fuxing high-speed trains, powered by both electricity and internal combustion, will operate on the Lhasa-Nyingchi section, with nine station stops.

Capable of handling passenger and freight transportation, the electrified railway can run at a speed of 160km/h, reported Xinhua.

It is expected to shorten the journey from Lhasa to Nyingchi from five hours to 3.5 hours.

The railway will also reduce the travel time from Shannan to Nyingchi to nearly two hours instead of six hours.

Nearly 75% of the entire railway line will travel through tunnels and bridges, including 121 bridges and 47 tunnels. In November 2020, rail officials were instructed to commence the construction of the new railway project, linking Sichuan Province and Nyingchi, Tibet.

Chinese President Xi Jinping had said that this new rail project would be crucial for bringing border stability.

The rail line will reduce the travel time from Chengdu to Lhasa from 48 hours to 13 hours.

After the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, Sichuan-Tibet Railway will be the second railway into Tibet, covering the south-east of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.

This March, China State Railway Group reportedly announced plans to operate bullet trains to Tibet before July.