BEIJING, Aug. 15 (Xinhua) -- The first batch of Chinese-made high-power diesel locomotives are expected to debut on southwest China's Qinghai-Tibet Plateau as the second railway line in the Tibet Autonomous Region opens Friday.
The Lhasa-Xigaze railway, an extension of the Qinghai-Tibet railway, the world's highest, will use the HX-N3 diesel locomotives for both freight and passenger transport, said Qu Tianwei, chief engineer of Dalian Locomotive under the China CNR Corp, one of the world's largest rolling stock manufacturers.
The 253-km railroad, which links the regional capital Lhasa and Xigaze, the second-largest city in the region, is built at an altitude of over 4,000 meters.
As scheduled, the first passenger train pulled by the HX-N3 locomotive will leave Lhasa at 9 a.m. on Saturday for Xigaze. It reduces the travel time between the two cities from the current four hours by highway to around two hours.
"They will be the first Chinese-made locomotives that can be used in a high elevation environment," said Qu.
Currently, 78 NJ2 locomotives made by U.S. GE Transportation are used on the Golmud-Lhasa section of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, which runs from Xining, capital of Qinghai Province to Lhasa.
Qu said engineers devoted more than one year in upgrading the HX-N3 locomotive used in Northwest China to adapt to high elevation environment on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau.