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Not content with simply tarmacking their way across Tibet, the Chinese then decided it would be an excellent thing to have a railway linking Xining in Qinghai to Lhasa, at a stroke providing rail links from all of China's major cities direct to the Tibetan Capital. Here's the Qinghai-Tibet Railway at Amdo:

The Qinghai-Tibet Railway at Amdo

A little further south we have this nice view of a suitably long train on what has been declared the "world's highest railway":

A train on the Qinghai-Tibet Railway

The Qinghai-Tibet Railway boasts an extension of 1,972km between Xining and Lhasa - much of it at an altitude of more than 4,000 metres (rising to a record-breaking 5,072 metres at the Tanggula Pass) - 675 bridges, the 3,345 metre-long Yangbajing tunnel and the showcase Lhasa River Bridge (official photos of its completion in May 2005 here):

The Lhasa River Bridge under construction

A closer view of the Lhasa River Bridge

The completed line was inaugurated on 1 July 2006 to much fanfaring from the Chinese and much protesting from tree-huggers concerned at its effect on the environment. Pro-Tibetan groups, meanwhile, cite it as another example of an infrastructure aimed at more efficient exploitation and control of Tibet.

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