China has announced the completion of the first railway line to Tibet - one of the world's highest train routes.And something I wouldn't have known without Wikipedia: Those sealed carriages the passengers will need? Made in Canada, baby!
The pan-Himalayan line climbs 5,072m (16,640ft) above sea level and runs across Tibet's snow-covered plateau - dubbed the roof of the world.
Trains travelling on the line will have to have carriages that are sealed like aircraft to protect passengers from altitude sickness.
The line is expected to take its first passengers next year.
Bombardier Transportation is to provide 361 high-altitude passenger carriages with special enriched-oxygen and UV-protection systems, to be delivered between December 2005 and May 2006. Of these, 53 will be luxury sleeper carriages for tourist service. When signalling and track testing is complete, trains travelling in the frozen earth areas are expected to attain maximum speeds of 100 kilometres per hour. On the non-frozen earth areas, speeds are expected to reach 120 kilometres per hour.In the Tibet Autonomous Regions, ethnic Tibetans make up about half of the population, with Han Chinese making up about a third. With the rail now completed, we can expect those numbers to change quickly. Look at Xinjiang for an example - Uighurs and Han are now even, thanks to China's investments in the west.
Good to know that Canadian capital can be counted on to help cultural repression.