Construction of the 13,195-meter extra-long Altun Mountain Tunnel has ended, marking the completion of the Golmud-Korla railway, China's first railway artery linking the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region and Qinghai Province.
Contracted by China Railway Construction Corporation Limited, the railway is a Class I national railway that can carry both passengers and cargoes and is a part of the country's integrated transportation system plan under the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-15).
Starting from Golmud in Qinghai, the line passes several places in western Inner Mongolia, calls at Xinjiang's stations in Milan, Ruoqiang and Yuli and terminates at Korla.
The railway is the first of its kind to run through the Altun Mountain in China. It also goes through the Qaidam and Tarim basins.
The Altun Mountain Tunnel was one of the most difficult sections to build. It took builders four years to conquer hardships like rock bursts, water inrush, bedding slide, plastic deformation and unstable surrounding rock.
As the railway also passes many environmental sensitive spots including the world's largest original populus euphratica forest conservation area, the national wild camel natural reserve and the Taitema Lake wetland, the design team took protective measures like changing the route to reduce negative environmental impacts.
To guarantee a safe and reliable railway operation, steps were taken to prevent and stabilize the sand.
A locomotive at work on a construction site of the Golmud-Korla railway [Photo/sasac.gov.cn]
(Executive editor: Wang Ruoting)