China Nepal Railway Introduction and Possible Route

14 December 2022 Last updated at 11:44

The China Nepal Railway is a long-awaited international railway directly connecting Tibet in China and Nepal. As planned, the railway will start from Lhasa, go westward to Shigatse, Gyirong Port in border area, and extend to Kathmandu in Nepal.

According to reports, the scheduled railway route includes two sections: Lhasa - Gyirong and Gyirong to Kathmandu in Nepal. More specifically, sections in China consist of Lhasa-Shigatse Railway, the branch line of Qinghai-Tibet Railway, which was started in 2010 and was completed in 2014, and the Shigatse to Gyirong Railway, which is in the phase of study and research. As to the further development, the authority of Nepal emphasized the hope to link the three main cities in Nepal, Kathmandu, Pokhara and Chitwan with this international line many times.

News said that the running speed of China Nepal Train will be 120-160 kilometer per hours depending on complicated road conditions in two countries, officers from China estimated. The operation speed of 160 kilometer per hours maybe is achievable in Nepal but rather tough in Tibet area.

Note: The Gyirong Port is located in Gyirong County of Tibet bordering between China and Nepal. It is one of the main foreign channels for Tibet and key joint of South Asia Trade Road.

Why China Build China Nepal Railway?

Building the China Nepal Railway benefits both sides. Aimed at economic development and cargo transport in both countries, the Nepal party repeatedly advocates for the implement of this line as soon as possible. For China, many buddhists in Tibet and other regions seek for more profound buddhism study and communication. And the cross-border tourism is in great demand in China. Considering comprehensive reasons, China responds the request from Nepal actively and affirmably in friendship way. The railway also echoes China’s “One Belt and One Road” transportation strategy, which stands for the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st century Maritime Silk Road proposed by PRC’s President Xi Jingping.

Latest News and Development History

1. On February 11, 2020, the official released the three winning bidders of China Nepal Railwat prospective design.

2. On November 21, 2019, China National Development and Reform Mission, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, State Railway Administration and related Tibet authorities had a kick-off meeting for China Nepal Railway after field study.

3.On May 5 2017, the Investigation Report of Feasibility of China Nepal Railway and The Belt and road China and Nepal Co-building pointed out the urgency of its construction.

4.In the executive meeting on June 2016, China Ministry of Transport and National Development and Reform Commission approved the China Nepal Railway to be a key project and will start its construction during the 13th Five-Year Plan.

5.On May and August 2016, National Railway Administration and China Railway Corporation organized research groups to Tibet to do spot surveys along the whole line respectively. Then the China Railway No.1 Bureau initially identified the rough route of Shigatse to Gyirong section. More details are introduced in the relevant project feasibility study report.

6.On March 2016, China and Nepal signed 10 accords in areas ranging from tourism to trade, including the international railway project.

7.On August 2006, Tibet Autonomous Region President Qiangba Puncog expressed the future plan of Qinghai Tibet way to Shigatse and Nepal when meeting the vice-premier Cardega prasad sharma oli at that time.

China Nepal Railway
China Nepal Think Tank Dialogue in 2016

Current Transportation

Currently, there are only highway and flight transport available for Nepal tour from Tibet, without any trains to take. When tourists plan to travel between Tibet and Nepal, you can choose corresponding way based on your itinerary.

Option 1: Lhasa Kathmandu Flights

Taking Lhasa Kathmandu Flight is the most convenient and fast way to travel between China and Nepal. At present, there are 1~2 daily flights connecting Lhasa and Kathmandu operated by Sichuan Airlines and other airline company.

Sichuan Airlines operates the only non-stop flight between Lhasa and Kathmandu every other day. On each Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, Flight 3U8719 takes off from Lhasa Gonggar Airport at 10:55 and lands at Kathmandu Airport at 10:30, after nearly 2 hours' flying. Other connecting flights need extra transfer and takes more than 20 hours in total.

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Option 2: Overland Driving via Gyirong Port

Since 30th, August, 2017, Gyirong Port (Rasuwa Port on Nepal side) has been reopened to foreign travelers, which means that travelers can travel between Tibet and Nepal directly by land. In the driving journey, you can enjoy the wonderful plateau view in Tibet and Nepal. Please note that in the road from Gyirong Port to Kathmandu is not in very good condition – narrow and winding. Especially in the rainy season (June ~ September), the heavy rain might cause the landslide, and traffic jams always take place. So you are suggested not have an overland driving journey in the summer.

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