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Train Brief

The Qinghai - Tibet railway is a high-altitude railway that connects Xining, Qinghai Province, to Lhasa, Tibet Autonomous Region, in People's Republic of China.

The total length of Qingzang railway is 1956 km (1215 mi). Construction of the 815 km (506 mi) section between Xining and Golmud was completed by 1984. The 1142 km (709 mi) section between Golmud and Lhasa was inaugurated on 1 July 2006 by President Hu Jintao: the first two passenger trains were "Qing 1" (Q1) from Golmud to Lhasa, and "Zang 2" (Z2) from Lhasa. This railway is the first to connect China proper with the Tibet Autonomous Region, which, due to its altitude and terrain, is the last province-level entity in mainland China to have a conventional railway. Testing of the line and equipment started on 1 May 2006. Passenger trains run from Beijing, Chengdu, Chongqing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Xining and Lanzhou.

The line includes the Tanggula Pass, which, at 5,072 m (16,640 feet) above sea level, is the world's highest rail track. The 1,338 m Fenghuoshan tunnel is the highest rail tunnel in the world at 4,905 m above sea level. The 4,010-m Guanjiao tunnel is the longest tunnel from Xining to Golmud and the 3,345-m Yangbajing tunnel is the longest tunnel from Golmud to Lhasa. More than 960 km, or over 80% of the Golmud-Lhasa section, is at an altitude of more than 4,000 m. There are 675 bridges, totaling 159.88 km, and about 550 km of the railway is laid on permafrost.

The trains are specially built for high altitude environment. The diesel locomotives used on Golmud-Lhasa section were made by GE in Pennsylvania, and the passenger carriages are Chinese-made 25T carriages: on train T27/T28, between Beijing West and Lhasa, BSP carriages are from Bombardier. Carriages used on the Golmud-Lhasa section are either deep green/yellow or deep red/yellow. Signs in the carriages are in Tibetan, Simplified Chinese and English. The operational speed is 120 km/h, 100 km/h over sections laid on permafrost.

The 1,142-km Qinghai - Tibet railway from Golmud to Lhasa was completed on 12 October 2005. It opened to regular trial service on 1 July 2006.

Apart from hard seat tickets, there is an extra charge for forward-facing seats and berths. Compared with standard pricing for the same class, the soft seat, hard sleeper and soft sleeper tickets have an added charge of 0.09, 0.10 or 0.16 Yuan per kilometer per person respectively.

A Passenger Health Registration Card is required to take the train between Golmud to Lhasa. The card can be obtained when purchasing the ticket. Passengers must read the health notice for high-altitude travel and sign the agreement on the card to take the train. On 28 August 2006 a 75-year-old Hong Kong man was reported to be the first passenger to die on the train, after he had suffered heart problems in Lhasa but insisted on travelling to Xining.

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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. St*** from: Kailash Circuit ( 18 Days )

ello, we are willing to organized a tour of Kailash from Lhassa for a group of 4 persons (3 french and 1 from Kazakstan) around end of august. Could you provide a private tour for 4 persons ? and for what price ?

Thank you very much

St***

Answered by Helen

Dear St***, 

Greetings from Helen at Budget Tibet Tour, thanks for visiting our website and sending your inquiry. I do not know if your friend who hold Kazakstan can apply China visa, as it is quite strict for them to get China visa, and almost the embassy would turn them down. So please tell your friend about it. No offence, and we had Kazakstan clients before but failed to get China visa so cannot come to join in the tour. If there are 3 or 4 of you, and I just wonder whether it will be OK for you to join in a group tour, and we have the group tour on 12th Sept, which I can provide you some discount if all of you would like to join in, and also our group size is 4 to 12 people, so not large group.  I will provide you the private tour quote too with 3 people and 4 people and also you can start it in Aug or Sept any time you want. And 30th Aug. will be Tibet Shoton festival which will last about 1 week in Lhasa, and the highlight will be the first day in Drepung Monastry for Thangka Buddha Show there. Best regards.

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

user portrait Ms. jo*** from: 10 Days Tibet Mt. Everest Base Camp plus Namtso Lake Group Tour

hi

I am interested in your 10D Tibet Mt. Everest Base Camp plus Namtso Lake Group Tour for the departure date on 20 May. However I may likely book the flight arriving Lhasa on 17 May. is it possible to arrange the Tibet tour permit from 17 May before start of tour?

as my flight will be arriving at around 6pm after the free airport pick up time, can I take the airport shuttle bus by myself to my accommodation without a guide? how do I arrange pick up from my own-arranged hotel to the hotel booked by this tour on day 1 of itinerary?

also I am booking for one pax only and will like to share room. currently only one pax has booked. may I know if there is a minimum group size for the tour to be confirmed? or will it be last minute cancelled if the tour booking does not meet the minimum pax requirement.?

Answered by Helen

Dear Ms. jo***,

Thanks very much for your inquiry, and we currently have one departure date on 20th of May, you are quite welcome to join us! I was wondering whether you could fly to Lhasa on 20th or not. Well, you can also arrive in Lhasa on 17th, but there is extra fee. When you arrive in Lhasa at 6pm of 17th, you'll miss our free pick up on 20th, please note that you can't take bus or taxi from airport to hotel by yourself, because when you enter Lhasa, you must be escorted with a guide according to the policy (there will be policeman check-point on the way from airport to downtown), so the guide will pick you up at the airport and help you pass the check-point, and there is extra pick up fee. There is one tourist who has booked this tour, but he will stay in a single room. We will try our best to find a roommate for you, but if we fail, I was wondering whether you mind staying in guesthouse (dorm-bed, public bathroom, with breakfast), which can avoid single room supplement fee for you. The minimum group size is two persons, now there is one tourist has booked this tour, if you book this tour, there are two persons together, we won't cancel it. I will send detailed itinerary to you by 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

user portrait Mr. Ro*** from: Mount Kailash Tour Cost

Hi ,

Can I get information to do the Inner Kora Darshan of Mount Kailash. I am planning to start my tour from Lhasa. Appreciate if you could provide details//// Tour Operators . Please note I will flying from Canada to Lhasa and I do have a mutiple Chinese Visa.

Answered by Helen

Dear Mr. Ro***, 

Greetings from Helen at Budget Tibet Tour, thanks for visiting our website and sending your inquiry. Normally people are not allowed to take the Inner Kora unless they finish the 13 circles outside kora, so at present we never managed it successful for the inner Kora tour there. And we only have the 15 days Tibet Mount Kailash Trekking plus Mt. Everest Base Camp tour available every month from April to Oct. Please kindly let me know when you would like to do this tour? So I can recommend you the proper date. Your visa will be No problem for us to apply Tibet permit. I will send you more details by email. Best regards.


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

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7 Days Lhasa to Kathmandu Tour via Everest Base Camp