Tibet Train information
“The train journey has become very popular because it is not an expensive travel style to enter Tibet” travelling on a train on the world’s highest railway offers travelers a remarkable experience that they will never gain in other transportation. The astounding landscapes mixed with majestic snow capped mountains and expansive alpine plateaus are simply unrivaled. In addition, nine scenery view stations along the route will offer travelers several great chances to capture the scenery with their eyes and cameras.
Alpine Eco Trek (Eco Kailash tour) advises its clients to book the train tickets as soon as the reservations open, which currently is 20 days in advance. When boarding the train, foreign travelers will be asked to offer their passport, TTB permits and the train ticket.
Alpine Eco Trek specializes in creating tailor made experiences based on every client’s unique needs and operating groups to Tibet and Mt. Kailash. Please visit kailashtourtrek.com for more information or contact Us.
Railway Construction History
Tibet Railway extends 1,956 kilometers from Xining Qinghai Province to Lhasa Tibet and is the world's longest railroad built atop a plateau. Construction started on June 29th, 2001 and opened to traffic on July 1st, 2006. The Golmud-Lhasa section extends 1,142 kilometers with the highest elevation being some 5,072 meters above sea level at Tanggula Range making it also the highest railway in the world. Upon its completion, the maximum train speed is designed to reach 100 kilometers per hour in the frozen earth areas and 120 kilometers per hour on non-frozen earth. Construction of the Golmud-Lhasa section of the landmark railway commenced on June 29, 2001 and test runs are set for July 2006.
As the Tibet Railway traverse three ranges and many rivers and lakes, the sceneries along the Railway to Tibet are marvelous and majestic. 45 railway stations offer visitors picturesque sceneries among which nine sightseeing stations have sightseeing platforms. Some of the famous charming sights along the line are Qinghai Lake and Bird Island, Kunlun and Tanggula mountain ranges, Kekexili, Tuotuo Rivers, Yangpachen, and Potala Palace etc. Not only rivers, lakes, grasslands and forests, but also Jokul can be admired along the line.
World Tops of Qinghai-Tibet Railway
Some 960 kilometers of its tracks are located 4,000 meters above sea level and the highest point is 5,072 meters, at least 200 meters higher than the Peruvian railway in the Andes, which was formerly the world's most elevated track.
World's longest plateau railroad, extending 1,956 kilometers from Qinghai's provincial capital Views on the way Xining to Lhasa in Tibet. The newly completed Golmud-Lhasa section zigzags 1,142 kilometers across the Kunlun and Tanggula mountain ranges.
World's longest tracks in any of the plateau railways run on frozen earth, about 550 kilometers
World's highest railway station-Tanggula Railway Station, 5,068 meters above sea level
World's most elevated tunnel on frozen earth-Fenghuoshan Tunnel, 4,905 meters above sea level
World's longest plateau tunnel built on frozen earth-Kunlun Mountain Tunnel, running 1,686 meters.
Seats and sleeper berth are available on the train. Over 90% foreign travelers will choose first class sleeper berth on the train, while few choose the second class sleeper berth. Follow a Chinese saying, it is the soft sleeper berth and hard sleeper berth, however the hard sleeper berth is not as “hard” as it mentioned. Here to make sure there’s no confusing, we may name it as a first class and second class sleeper berth.
First class berth: 4 passengers sharing 1 cabin with door (2 upper berths and 2 lower berths facing to each other)
Rough size: cabin 200cm width, sleeper berth 80cm*190cm, mattress 15cm thick, lower to upper 100cm, and upper to the roof 85cm high
One squatting plate & one close stool in each compartment; power outlet 220v in each cabin
Second class berth: 6 passengers sharing 1 cabin without door (2 upper berths, 2 middle and 2 lower berths facing to each other)
Rough size: cabin 170cm width, sleeper berth 60cm*190cm, mattress 7cm thick, lower to middle 85cm, middle to upper 70cm, and upper to the roof 60cm high
Squatting plate in each compartment, power outlet in the corridor
Nowadays trains from Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu or Chongqing, Guangzhou will change the high plateau train at Xining Railway Station. The passenger carriages are specially built and have an oxygen supply for each passenger. And the oxygen supply will start from Golmud to Lhasa or reverse. The doctor will get on the train from Golmud also in the meanwhile at each passenger train.
Booking the train tickets
The train tickets can be booked 20 days prior your departure date now according to the requirements from the railway bureau. If you are planning a train trip to Tibet, earlier decision is highly suggested especially in high season.
You can manage it on your own if you have your tickets agency in China or we can help you to make the tickets booking in advance. Limited train tickets but a great number of travelers, only the tickets from Xining to Lhasa can be guaranteed due to the situation. Besides the tickets are issued out randomly that the upper or lower sleeper cannot be assigned at will. Tourists will be suggested to be flexible with other alternative plan.
Boarding on the train
Passport, TTB permit copy and train ticket will be checked all the time if taking the train to Tibet. We will email you the permit copy in advance. You may print it out in A4 size and take it along with you. 3 - 5 copies are suggested. Sometimes it is required the original passport to get the paper ticket, that we will pass you the booking no. that you can go to the railway station to get your ticket with the booking no. + Passport + TTB permit copy. If don’t, we are happy to go and pick up your ticket and mail to you by express.
Your train ticket, passport and TTB permit copy will be checked for another time when getting into the railway station. While staying at the waiting room, you will be asked to sign the Passenger Health Registration Card. The card can be obtained when picking up the ticket. Passengers must read the health notice for high-elevation travel and sign the agreement on the card to take the train. It has the basic info. about the passengers. Those who suffered serious heart problems and high blood pressure are not recommended to go to Tibet.
Glance of Tibet Train
1) Duration subject to change in different season
2) The ticket fare is for the first and second class sleeper berth
3) Service fee is excluded
FAQs about the Tibet Train
1. Attendants on the train speak English?
Don’t expect fluent English speaking attendants on the Tibet train although some of them do speak understandable English. It will not bad to ask other passengers who can understand you to help.
2. Any private bathroom or can I take shower on the train?
No private bath room and the train is not that luxury to have shower room on the train. The public Chinese and western toilet is available and there’s a place for passengers washing the faces, etc. By the way, it’s better to take the toilet paper on your own, just in case. And you will need to bring your own towel, teeth brushes, toothpaste, bottle, etc. on the train.
3. Is there extra electricity and internet access on the train?
Each cabin has power outlet for 220v, you can charge for your camera, mobile phone, laptop, etc. And it will be also good to bring extra batteries as it is for public use that’s four people sharing one outlet. Don’t except the internet access on the train, as the signal are not stable on the train - which will pass several tunnels, even the internet signal from the mobile can be weak and unstable.
4. Any entertainment facilities on the train?
Although there’s a TV screen at each sleeper berth of the first class cabin on the train, it seems it’s not working well. The radio on the train playing some classic Chinese music and the most charming part is the plateau views on the train from Xining to Lhasa.
www.kailashtourtrek.com contains as much information as possible about Mount Kailash & Tibet Tours and Treks. However, if you have any questions regarding trip, please feel free to contact us. We answer all enquiries within 24 hours. If you want to book a trip, you can send us an email or contact us directly by phone: 0977 98510 36844 (Ram Kumar Adhikari).