I read a fascinating story about the Beijing-Lhasa Tibet Railway, a monumental engineering feat by any accounting.
The article by correspondent Pankaj Mishra, The Train to Tibet, appears in the April 16 New Yorker. (The text of the article is not available online).
As an armchair railway buff, I was struck by the engineering difficulty of constructing track on the fast-melting permafrost (global warming), the systems to deliver oxygen-rich air to passengers at 16,400 feet, and the political side of the railway that we do not hear so much about. The railway serves as a delivery system for trainloads of Han Chinese, who already dominate the Tibetans, now a minority, living in their own capital of Lhasa. Many also view the railway as a British-style colonial device for plundering rich mineral resources and diverting them to Beijing.