A high-speed railway is being planned to connect China and Nepal, but there’s kind of a big obstacle in the way: Mount Everest. So China plans to build the railway right under the world’s tallest mountain.
Citing an official government report, the Singapore United Morning Post is reporting that the Chinese and Nepalese governments are collaborating on building a tunnel beneath Everest. When asked about such an undertaking, tunnel expert Wang Mengshu of the Chinese Academy of Engineering said that the project will require “some really long tunnels”.
Wang also pointed out that due to the fragile nature of the Himalayan mountains, the fastest a train can travel through a tunnel underneath it is 120 kilometers per hour.
With Tibet already connected with the rest of China’s railway system, the project will extend the Qinghai-Tibet railway another 540 kilometers to the border of Nepal. The formal announcement was made last December during Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi visit to Kathmandu, Nepal.
Expected to be finished by 2020, the project will significantly increase Chinese influence in Nepal, which has already invested one billion (US) into local water conservation and telecommunication projects. Apparently, the move to connect the railway lines of China and Nepal were “at Nepal’s request”.
The project is also expected to exacerbate friction between China and India.The project is also expected to exacerbate friction between China and India. A border dispute caused a brief armed conflict between the two neighbors in 1962, while this new development is raising Indian suspicions that China is trying to gain better access to its markets.
A number of high-speed railway projects that beggar the imagination have been associated with China. A plan to link Liaodong Peninsula with Shangdong Province by digging a tunnel underneath the Bohai Sea has recently been approved. According to Wang, all of the technological problems have been accounted for as Chinese engineers have spent 20 years researching the project.
Other high-profile future projects include a Beijing-Seoul railway line that passes through the heart of North Korea, a 7,000 kilometer railway line between Beijing and Moscow, and even one that links China with India.