China has begun work on a 1,213km railway that will link the two western regions of Qinghai and Xinjiang. The project is expected to cost $6.2bn.Â
Both provinces are sparsely populated by Chinese standards, but Sun Faping, the deputy head of the Qinghai provincial academy of social sciences, said the line was important owing to the oil and mineral resources in the area.Â
The railway will reduce the travel time between Golmud in Qinghai and Korla in Xinjiang from 26 hours to 12.Â Â
The railway is scheduled for completion in five years.