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Qinghai-Tibet railway begins operation

The Qinghai-Tibet Railway, the world's highest, began operation on last Saturday. The first train left Golmud, the second largest city of Qinghai in northwest China, for Lhasa, in the Tibet Autonomous Region.

The train leaves Golmud at about 2,800 metres above sea level, winds through the towering Tanggula Mountain Pass at 5,072 metres, and finally arrives in Lhasa at 3,650 metres. 

The trains running on the "roof of the world" will be driven by engines made by US-based General Electric (GE).

The Tibet Autonomous Region's tourism administration estimated that an additional 3,000 to 4,000 tourists would arrive in Tibet daily once the Qinghai-Tibet Railway begins operation.

Local tourist destinations have taken measures to ensure precious cultural relics don't suffer from the increased numbers. The Potala Palace in Lhasa will restrict the number of daily visitors to 1,800. Namco Lake, another famous tourist spot in Tibet, will give every tourist an eco-friendly bag to collect and remove rubbish. There will be no swimming, fishing or boats allowed on the lake.

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