Qinghai-Tibet Railway, the world's highest and longest plateau railroad, went into trial operation one year ahead of the schedule on July 1. The 1956-kilometer railway, which starts from Xining, capital of northwest China's Qinghai Province, and ends in Lhasa, capital of southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, is the first direct rail link to Tibet. Linking Tibet to China's extensive rail network, the line greatly shortened the land journeys from Lhasa to other Chinese cities, such as Beijing, Xining, Lanzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
Aimed at boosting economic development in Tibet and bringing practical benefits to local people, the construction of the railway has successfully overcome three major difficulties - frozen tundra, high altitude and plateau environmental protection. In the first 100 days of operation from July 1 to October 8, nearly 300,000 passengers and 300,000 tons of cargo moved in and out of Tibet by rail.