Train Travel Information & Rail Travel Guide


Train Travel News

Getting the poor on track... Sabbath rail for Tel Aviv?... China's rail ambitions... more

More News ►

Train Travel Deals

Denver ski train $29... 50% BOGO SE Asia... 25% off Machu Picchu... more

More Deals ►

Destinations by Rail

Catch a day at Coney... Make magic in Mayo... Welcome to Milwaukee... more

More Destinations ►

Rail Journeys

Slow train to Mandalay... Wales on rails... LA to Seattle for 97 bucks... more

More Journeys ►

Day Trips

Disney back on track... Pedaling the rails... Going solar Downunder... more

More Day Trips ►

 

Qinghai–Tibet Railway

Catch China's "sky train" to the roof of the world

Rail attendent on boarding platform

Across the Tibetan Plateau, the world's highest railway makes its way between Xining and the sacred city of Lahasa. Photo: Rail attendent on boarding platform. © B_cool

The People's Republic of China has realised its long-held dream of extending rail service across "the roof of the world." The landmark Qinghai-Tibet (Qingzang) Railway crosses the Tibetan Plateau connecting China's cities to Lhasa; the cultural and spiritual heart of the Tibet Autonomous Region.
Some fifty years in the making, the railway's first leg, between Xining and Golmud, was completed over twenty years ago. But it has been construction of the final stretch, extending from Golmud to Lahasa, which has presented the project's most daunting challenges.
The "Sky Train" is a marvel of modern engineering. Much of the rail bed crosses fragile perma frost. At altitudes exceeding 3-mi/5-km, Tibet's first railway counts the world's loftiest train depot and highest rail tunnel among its superlatives.
Completion of the 4.2 billion (USD) project has vast implications for the social and economic fabric of northwest China. The new train penetrates geographic barriers that have long impeded access to this remote region. Tourism is chief among targeted growth areas with the number of visitors expected to redouble over several of the coming decades.
Travel aboard the so-called "Lhasa Express" is a rarified experience. The exotic high country route offers captivating panoramas of the snow-capped Kunlun Range, the salt waters of Quinghai and Namtso Lakes and sprawling tundra grasslands where yak and chiru graze and rare snow lotus bloom.
At Lhasa, tourists flock to the red and white palaces of the world-famous Potala and Buddhist pilgrims converge on the great Gelugpa monasteries of Sera and Drepung and on the sacred Jokhang Temple in the heart of the bustling Barkhor District.
Onboard accommodations range from spartan "hard seats" to soft, cushioned sleepers. Amenities range from flat screen TVs in first class to special sightseeing platform cars accessible to all. Advanced oxygen controls counter the sometimes stressful effects of the thin mountain air.
Daily trains to and from Lahasa make same-day connections with Golmud, overnight links with Xining and Xian and provide two-night service between Tibet and Beijing. Passengers must secure Tibet entry permits prior to arriving in China. High-altitude travel waivers are required before boarding.
Meanwhile planners are looking ahead. By 2017, service is anticipated to extend beyond Lahasa, to Linzhi in the East and to Xigatse, Tibet's second city. A new deluxe five-star tour train which will cater to a mere 100 passengers. Among its features wil be unique transparent coaches affording 360° views.

Share this page:

comments powered by Disqus
 

 

 
acp rail international
 
Follow TrainTraveling,com on Facebook
 
Follow TrainTraveling,com on Twitter
 
Follow TrainTraveling,com on Pinterest
 

 

Sections

 

Affiliated Sites

About Us