China schemes to dig railway tunnel under Everest

Delhi: China is planning to burrow deep below Mount Everest to build a new rail link to Nepal, which could one day make train travel between Calcutta and Beijing a possibility.

A railway line already runs from Xining in central China as far as Tibet. But Chinese officials said that Nepal had asked for the route to be extended up to the border and on to Kathmandu.

Reports in Kathmandu suggested the proposed line could then continue to Lumbini, a World Heritage Site, passing under Everest to get there.

“The line will probably have to go through Everest, so workers may have to dig some very long tunnels”, said Wang Mengshu, a railways expert at the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

He told The China Daily that preparatory work was under way at Nepal’s request. But he said that, because of the challenging Himalayan terrain, trains on any line to Kathmandu would probably have a maximum speed of 80 kilometres per hour.

The proposal underscores China’s influence in Nepal, where Beijing has for some years been building roads and investing billions of pounds in hydropower and telecommunications.

Full article: China schemes to dig railway tunnel under Everest (The Age)

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