China looks at rail tunnel under Mount Everest

China Tibet railway

China is considering one of the most ambitious projects in history – a railway tunnel under Mount Everest.

A railway between China and Nepal is under consideration according to Chinese state media today (Thursday).

The Qinghai-Tibet railway already links the rest of China with the Tibetan capital Lhasa and an extension running as far as the international border is already being planned “at Nepal’s request”, said the China Daily newspaper quoting an expert at the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

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Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi visited Kathmandu in December and, according to Nepalese reports, said the line could eventually be extended to the Nepalese capital and further.

Such a plan could see a tunnel being built under Mount Everest, the report said.

“The line will probably have to go through Qomolangma [Tibetan name for Everest] so that workers may have to dig some very long tunnels,” engineering expert Wang Mengshu told the newspaper.

He said that, due to the Himalayan terrain with its changes in elevation, trains on any line to Kathmandu would probably have a maximum speed of 120 km/h.

The proposal underscores China’s influence in the Himalayan nation, where Beijing has for years been building roads and investing billions of dollars in hydropower and telecommunications.

 

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