With the opening of Qinghai-Tibet Railway in 2006, Tibet, a mysterious highland, has been connected with the other parts of China by railway lines. Since then, passengers can easily reach the "Roof of the World" by train from major large cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Xian, Lanzhou, and Xining; and traveling to the highland by rail has not been one of the wish lists any more but come true.
Some basic facts about the last section of Tibet Railways:
Open Date: July 1st, 2006
Starting Point: Xining, Qinghai
Terminal Point: Lhasa, Tibet
Length: 1,215 miles (1,956 kilometers)
Branches: Lhasa-Shigatse, Shigatse-Gyirong, Lhasa-Yadong
Major Stations: Xining, Delhi, Golmud, Amdo, Tanggula, Nagqu, Damxung, Lhasa
Xining-Golmud: 87 mi/h (140 km/h)
Golumd-Lhasa: 62 mi/h (100 km/h) in permafrost area and 75 mi/h (120 km/h) in non permafrost area
Lhasa-Shigatse: 75 mi/h
Characteristics: World’s highest railroad; world's longest railroad built atop a plateau
Tibet Train Schedule and Ticket
Currently, there are seven pairs of trains running between Lhasa and Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Chongqing, Lanzhou, and Xining. Most of them are available daily while those to/from Chengdu and Chongqing are available every other day. Other stations for passengers to get on/off include Amdo, Baoji, Bengbu, Changsha, Damxung, Delhi, Golmud, Nagqu, Nanjing, Shijiazhuang, Taiyuan, Wuchang, Wuxi, Xian, and Zhengzhou. In addition, there are two pairs running along its branch, Lhasa-Shigatse Railway. Tickets of these trains can be purchased at any railway stations in Mainland China, online, via phone, or more conveniently, from a reliable booking agency like TravelChinaGuide.com. Please note that overseas passengers need to present their valid ID certificates like a passport together with a Tibet Travel Permit in order to get the ticket. During peak travel seasons like summer holiday, these tickets cannot be changed or refunded online and passengers are required to handle the change or refund in person at railway stations.
See detailed Schedule and Ticket to Lhasa & Schedule and Ticket from Lhasa
Traversing plains, mountain ranges, rivers and lakes, grasslands, densely populated cities and desolate gobi, the scenery along the railway is majestic and of various types, especially the last section from Xining to Lhasa. The altitude of this section rises from 7,530 feet (2,295 meters) above sea level to 12,000 feet (3,658) meters above. The famous sights along it include vast and clear Qinghai Lake, marvelous Kunlun and Tanggula mountain ranges, unmanned Hoh Xil and, the origin of Yangtze River, etc. Together with the rare wild animals like antelopes, yaks, and folk houses, prayer flags and Mani stones, they will reward tourists with lifelong unforgettable memories.
The railway from Xining to Tibet winds its way like a Dragon across the 'roof of the world' and is a great achievement and a modern wonder in both China’s and the world’s railway history. However, during the construction work, the crews have encountered a lot of challengers and difficulties, including the unstable permafrost, harsh climate and protection of local environment, all of which have been overcome after several years' research - winding roads replaced by bridges, 33 migration routes are offered for wild animals, and the garbage created during construction has been removed. To ensure the trains to run smoothly and safely without disturbing the surrounding environment much, lots of projects of advanced technologies have been built, like world’s highest tunnel, and grand bridges; among all the stations along the line, Lhasa and Tanggula stations are of the most characteristic ones with the latter being the highest train station in the world; trains are specially equipped with oxygen adding devices, and garbage and sewage management and disposal facilities.
As Tibet is such a mountainous area and is at such a great altitude, it is prone to sudden and extreme changes in weather. Many safety aspects must be prepared for prior to your departure, such as lack of oxygen, strong ultraviolet rays and large temperature difference. Besides, general information about the area should also be considered before hand, such as Travel Permit, the best times to visit, local food, language, and transportation, etc.