KATHMANDU: Nepal and China is scheduled to discuss a feasibility study for the Kathmandu-Pokhara-Lumbini railway for the first time at bilateral talks in Kathmandu on Tuesday.

A 23-member Chinese team is arriving in Kathmandu on Monday to hold talks with a Nepali team led by Devendra Kari, secretary at the Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport.

“Besides discussing the modality of preparing the detailed project report for the Kathmandu-Kerung railway, the delegates will also discuss ways to conduct the feasibility study for the Kathmandu-Pokhara-Lumbini railway,” said Balram Mishra, director-general of the Department of Railways.

During the recent state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping, China had agreed to extend a grant for the feasibility study of the Kathmandu-Kerung line. A memorandum of understanding was signed between Nepal’s Ministry of Physical Infrastructure and Transport and the Chinese Ministry of Transport for a feasibility study of the cross-border railway. The Chinese side has already conducted pre-feasibility studies for both railway lines.

Officials said that during the fourth meeting of the Nepal-China Railway Technical Exchange and Negotiations, held in China in the third week of June, Chinese officials had expressed their desire to conduct the feasibility study for the Kathmandu-Pokhara-Lumbini railway and had shared the technical report carried out by two Chinese consulting firms.

The meeting is expected to finalise the date for the Kathmandu-Kerung detailed project report and the feasibility study for Kathmandu-Pokhara and Kathmandu-Lumbini railways. The Chinese team will conduct a field visit to Pokhara towards this end.

According to the pre-feasibility study for the Kathmandu-Pokhara railway, the total length of the railway line would be 187 kilometres, with 44 tunnels running 107.277 kilometres. The line will have 42 bridges amounting to a length of 33.039 kilometres. The proposed railway will have 12 stations.

The Kathmandu-Lumbini line that will be diverted from Kurintar will be 152 kilometres long. According to the pre-feasibility study, the proposed railway line will have six tunnels with a total length of 24.417 kilometres. It will have 16 bridges amounting to a total length of 15.938 kilometres. The proposed line will have 11 stations.