Once the railroad, which will be 85 percent underground, is completed, a train from Kerung running at the speed of 120 km per hour will reach Kathmandu in less than an hour.
KATHMANDU, Nov 10: A preliminary study of a crossborder 100-km railway connecting Kathmandu and Tibet's Kerung has put the total cost of the project at around Rs 275 billion.
A Chinese delegation including experts on high-altitude railway technology and Nepali engineers jointly concluded that the railway will be underground and cost around Rs 275 billion, according to government officials.
The Chinese 23-member delegation led by Zheng Jian, deputy administrator (vice minister), of China's National Railway Administration wrapped up its five-day study on Friday.
About 85 percent of the railroad will be underground and will pass beneath the hills from Kerung, which lies at the altitude of 4000 meters, to Kathmandu (1400 meters).
"This was a basic research of the topology and geography. Both sides will later reach an agreement for carrying out a feasibility study," said Ananta Acharya, director general of the Department of Railway.
This study is part the project of One Belt One Road (OBOR) agreement which government of Nepal signed with China in May. Acharya added, "The Chinese team is excited to proceed with the project and we have expressed our commitment to take the project ahead," added Acharya. The project cost is a little over the cost of Budhigandaki Hydropower Project, which is around Rs 260 billion.
Once the railroad is completed, a train from Kerung running at the speed of 120 km per hour will reach Kathmandu in less than an hour, according to Acharya. The proposal is to build an electric line as diesel power will be less efficient at high altitudes, he added.
"There are also challenges of high altitude, difficult geography and also maintaining gradient for the smooth movement of the railway," said Acharya.
During his China visit in September Foreign Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara had requested Chinese authorities for conducting a detailed project survey, design and feasibility study to construct the railroad.