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China pours $49bn into Tibetan railway in development push

Beijing bolsters links to restive region with a project pricier than Three Gorges Dam

China has completed this segment of the railroad, between the Sichuan Province cities of Chengdu and Ya'an. (Photo courtesy of a local government website)

BEIJING -- China has begun construction of a rail line that would greatly improve access to Tibet at a cost of 319.8 billion yuan ($49.4 billion), as Beijing seeks to tighten its grip on the region and tap the abundant natural resources.

The envisioned 1,800 km railway will connect Lhasa in the Tibet Autonomous Region to the Sichuan Province capital, Chengdu. Service is slated to start around 2030. 

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