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Tibet Train Brief

Tibet Train, also called “the world’s highest railway”, “Lhasa Express”, “Sky Train”, and “Rock to the roof of the world”. No matter what it is called, the Qinghai Railway is truly an engineering wonder across the world. It climbs 5,000m-high mountains, bridges 12km-wide valleys and extends 1,956 kilometers from Xining, capital of Qinghai Province, to Lhasa. Nearly half of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway lies over 4,000 m above sea level and about 550 kilometers of this railway is laid on frozen earth. The highest point is Tanggula Mountain Pass Station (5072 meters above sea level), which is also the highest station in the world.

Why Is Qinghai – Tibet Railway an Engineering Marvel?

The Qinghai-Tibet Railway is an engineering marvel since its builders conquer so many tough technical and health problems like harsh weather, harsh terrain, frozen earth, oxygen shortage, and high-altitude sickness, etc. Even the best Swiss tunneling engineers concluded that it was impossible to bore through the rock and ice of the Kunlun mountain range. But Chinses built this railway without the loss of a single life.

Construction of the Tibet Train

Construction of this railway was divided into two phases. The 815 km (506 mi) section between Xining and Golmud was completed by 1984. The 1,142 km (710 mi) section between Golmud and Lhasa was completed on 12 October 2005. It opened to regular trial service on 1 July 2006. Sceneries along the Qinghai-Tibet railway are amazingly beautiful, vast grasslands dotted with yaks and sheep, turquoise alpine holy lakes, shining snow-capped mountains and much more.  

Qinghai-Tibet Railway Maps and Routes

Currently, there are 8 major Chinese cities operates trains to Lhasa. They are Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Lanzhou, and Xining. And the following picture is the map of Tibet trains from 8 cities.

Qinghai Tibet Railway
Qinghai Tibet Railway

Every route has its benefits and drawbacks. Among these routes, we highly recommend you to start your train journey from Xining, in Qinghai Province, as Xining to Lhasa train is the quickest and most convenient one among all routes. Not only that, it covers many spectacular natural sceneries of Qinghai – Tibet plateau.

Onboard Experience (Cabins, Dinning, Seat)

Generally speaking, all trains running towards to Tibet are equipped with a sleeper cabin, dining car, toilet, oxygen supply system, etc. Sleeper cabin is always divided into two kinds: soft sleeper cabins and hard sleeper cabins. Tourists can choose either of them to spend their train journey. The only dining car on board offers passengers three meals and various snacks and drinks. At the end of each car, there is a washroom, with toilets in either western style or Chinses style. As the train climb on the area where is above 4000m, the Oxygen supplement system will open to supply oxygen to passengers to release their altitude sickness.
Other than the facilities we talked above, there are many other public facilities like power outlets, luggage space, and medical service on the train to Lhasa. All of these convenient facilities will bring passengers a comfortable and unique train journey.

Tibet Train Schedules and Tickets

Every day, there are 5 – 6 trains depart from the major Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Xining, Xi’an, Chongqing and Lanzhou. And the train fares are largely depending on the routes and season you choose. Generally speaking, the farther you travel, the more you pay. And the tickets price might be more expensive at peak times (summer and autumn). Before heading there, remember to check the detailed Tibet train schedule or timetable so that you can choose your favorite route.

Scenes Along the Tibet Railway

There’s no word can be used to describe the beautiful sceneries along the Qinghai – Tibet Railway. You can see snowcapped mountains reaches to the sky, and fields of long grass covered the earth. Rivers twine the vast green files just like the blue color satin ribbon. Flocks of wild birds and a group of mighty eagles soaring in the blue sky. Beyond that, there are many other beautiful idyllic sceneries along the road to be found.

Qinghai-Tibet Railway - Scenes Along the Tibet Railway
Qinghai-Tibet Railway - Scenes Along the Tibet Railway

Related Articles
Tibet Train Scenery Guide A sliding introduction and illustration of the scenic places the railway passes, tells what good scenic spot travllers can see on the train.
Tibet Train Tour Scenery Album All the pictures take on the Tibet train tours, some pictures are taken in summer, and some pictures are taken in winter.
Tibet Train Maps And Routes All the Tibet train tours’ maps and routes from Xining, Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Lanzhou, Guangzhou and Chongqing.
Tibet Train Altitude Concerns Compared with arriving Lhasa by air, train travel is safer in terms of acclimatization. However, it is inevitable to talk about the altitude sickness when introducing the Qinghai-Tibet railway, for most of time it runs above 3500 meters.
Tibet Train Dining & Drinking Meals on board the train are not included in the ticket price. The train has a dining car and offers passengers 3 meals a day. Dining car is the best location for day-time sightseeing thanks to its big window.
Tibet Train Tickets and Cabins There are three classes of train tickets onboard of all trains within China, not exceptional for trains to Tibet, namely soft sleeper train ticket, hard sleeper train ticket and seat train ticket. Generally, the trains to Tibet have 15 cars except the locomotive.
Travelers' Questions Might Help

The questions raised by our past customers can help you get a more clear picture about tours to Tibet, read them or tell us your own questions via the form on the right side, our specialists will reply you within 24 hours.

user portrait Mr. Ju*** from: 4 Days Lhasa Holy Landmarks Express

Hi, I plan to arrive in Lhasa on the 9th of March in 2020 by train and would like to do a 4 day tour. Unfortunately there are no tours scheduled between January and April, will there be tours added or are there not any planned?

Kind regards

Julian Franz

Answered by Helen

Hello Mr. Ju***,

    Thanks very much for your inquiry. We currently have no group tour in February and March, if you would like to travel Tibet in these months, we are able to arrange a private tour for you. While there are several confirmed departure date for the group tour in January and April, if your time is flexible, you may consider joining a group tour in April. I will send detailed itinerary to your email, please check it. Warm regards.

Email to Helen about any question or tell us your own questions via the form on the right side

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