Fact Sheet
- Length: 1972 km from Xining, Qinghai Province to Lhasa, Tibet
- Open Date: July 1, 2006
- Construction Period
- The highest railway in the world (5,072 m (16,640 ft) at Tanggula Pass above sea level.
- Tanggula Station, at 5,068 m, the highest railway station in the world.
- 550 kms of the tracks run on frozen earth.
- Specially built train for high altitude environment. Oxygen is supplied starting from the Xining station.
- Major Stations: Xining—Qinghai Lake—Delingha—Golmud—Kekexili—Amdo—Nagqu—Dangxiong-Lhasa
- Xi'an/Lhasa: There is no direct train starting and ending between Xi'an and Lhasa. However, trains stopping at Xi’an are T28 (Lhasa/Beijing), T166/T163 (Lhasa/Shanghai), T264/T265 (Lhasa/Guangzhou), and T224/T221 (Lhasa/Chongqing).
- Golmud/Lhasa: There is no direct train between Golmud and Lhasa. But all other major trains getting into/out of Tibet stop at Golmud.
Touted as an engineering feat, and a chance to extend economic opportunity to a largely impoverished region, Qinghai-Tibet Railway (zh:青藏铁路) is the highest railway in the world (5,072 m, or 16,640 feet above sea level at its highest point). The 710 miles long high-altitude railway connects Tibet with China’s nationwide railway grid. More than 3000 tourists are taking trains to reach Lhasa every day through this railway.
The 1972-kilometer railway link begins in Xining, capital city of Qinghai Province and ends in Lhasa, capital city of Tibet Autonomous Region. The first section of the railway, 814 km from Xining to Golmud, was built in 1979, and opened to traffic in 1984. The second section of the railway, 1142 kilometer from Golmud and Lhasa, was formally started on 29 June 2001 by rebuilding the original 32-kilometer-long line from Golmud to Nanshankou, completed on October 12, 2005, and opened to traffic about seven months later on May 1, 2006. The Qinghai-Tibet Railway took the work of 200 scientists, engineers and technicians with numerous innovative engineering methods and technologies never used before. To construct tunnels, bridges and roadbeds, engineers had to overcome a range of challenges including perennial frozen ground, rugged terrain, high altitudes, frigid temperatures, strong winds, lack of oxygen, and protecting the unique, fragile and sensitive geographical environment of the Tibet plateau.
The highest point on the line is 5,072 meters above sea level. The railway covers 960-kilometers at an altitude of more than 4000 meters and over 550 kilometers within the "frozen earth" area.
Special designed pressurized cars and special train engines are used to keep passengers from suffering from altitude sickness, and to offset the effects of the high altitudes to the engine. Each passenger has an oxygen supply. Water in toilets is heated to prevent freezing.
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There are 9 stations with vista point in the railway line, and they are stations of
- Yuzhu Peak:
- Chumaer River
- Tuotuo River: With endless water supply from Geladandong Mountain at 6,621 meters above the sea level, Tuotuohe lies in Qinghai province. Here stands the largest bridge of Changjiang River headwaters.
- Tanggula: The Tanggula Pass in Tibet is a mountain pass that rises to 5,072 m (16,640 ft) above sea level.
- Cona Lake:
- Nagqu: famous for skyscraping peaks, holy lakes, lava caves
- Damxung: Regarded as the northern gate to the regional capital, Lhasa, Damxung is the best grassland in Changtang and is the only county devoted to animal husbandry.
- Yangbajing: The reknowned Yangbajing Geothermal site features bubbling hot springs in which eggs can be cooked in just a few minutes. The water is rich in sulfur and other mineral elements.
More vista points are planned to open for tourists in the coming years.
Refer to Travel By Train for details about regular trains. Qinghai-Tibet trains are special express trains with some special equipments. Each train has 14 cars including 2 cushioned berths cars for a total of 64 persons, 8 semi-cushioned berths cars for a total of 480 persons, and 4 ordinary seats cars of a total of 392 persons. So the total capacity of the train is 936 persons.
Passengers are required to fill out the Passenger Health Registration Cards before boarding the train. The card is supplied when purchasing the ticket. Passengers must read the warnings for high-altitude travel and sign the agreement to take the train.
 Train Schedules
Refer to Lhasa Train Schedules for detailed schedules.
The inquiry numbers for the Lhasa train station are 0891-6822922, 0891-6820111, 0891-6822111.
 Ticket Price
|Departure and Arrival Stations||Distance||Hard-Seat||Hard-Sleeper (bottom bed)||Soft-Sleeper (bottom bed)|
|Beijing West to Lhasa||4064 km||389 RMB||813 RMB||1262 RMB|
|Chengdu to Lhasa||3360 km||331 RMB||712 RMB||1104 RMB|
|Chongqing to Lhasa||3654 km||355 RMB||754 RMB||1168 RMB|
|Lanzhou to Lhasa||2188 km||242 RMB||552 RMB||854 RMB|
|Xining to Lhasa||1972 km||226 RMB||523 RMB||810 RMB|
 What to see
There are numerous attractions along the railway waiting for you to explore.
- The Engineering feat - Qinghai-Tibet Railway
- Experiencing the railway on the roof of the world, and take the train and see them by your own eyes: Qingshuihe, the Grand Qingshuihe Bridge, Kunlun Mount Tunnel, Fenghuo Mount Tunnel, Changjiangyuan Bridge, Tanggula Mount Station, Yanpachen Tunnels, Liuwu Tunnel, the Grand Lhasa River Bridge, Lhasa Railway Station.
- There are many legends in the area where Qinghai-Tibet railway line goes through. The legendary Princess Wencheng’s route into Tibet when she married the first Tibetan King, Songzanganbu (松赞干布), the legend of Kunlun Mountain, Tea-House ancient path, etc.
- Tibetan folk custom
- You can experience the life of herdsman in grassland of north Tibet. And there are many festivals for Tibetans, Horse-racing Festival, Tibetan New Year, Shoton Festival with Tibetan operas and gala parties.
- The unique Tibet and Qinghai scenery
- Mountain Sun and Moon
- Qinghai Lake
- Wanzhangyan Bridge
- Golmud City Tour
- Aspen Forest
- Yuzhu Peak of Kunlun Mountain
- Kekexili region
- Fenghuo Mount
- the Headstream of Yangtze River
- Mountain Tanggula
- Cona Lake
- Tanggula Mount
- Lake Namtso
- Yangbachen Geothermic Spring
- The wild animals
- Qinghai-Tibet railway passed through some animal reserves centered around Kekexili for Tibetan Antelopes (藏羚羊), Tibetan wild asses, wild yaks, Tibetan sheeps, black bears.
- Adventure tours
- Mountain climbing of Yuzhu Peak; Adventure tour to the headstream of Yangtze River; Rafting along the headstream of Yangtze River.
- Ancient relics and historical sites
- Qinghai and Tibet boast many historical sites like Ta’er Monastery, Potala Palace (zh:布达拉宫), Jokhang Temple (zh:大昭寺), Sera Monastery (zh:色拉寺), Norbulingka Palace (zh:罗布林卡宫殿), etc.
 More Facts
- Qinghai-Tibet Railway is the world's highest railway. Some 960 kilometers of its tracks are located 4,000 meters above sea level and the highest point is 5,072 meters.
- The railway extends 1,972 kilometers from Qinghai's provincial capital Xining to Lhasa in Tibet. The Golmud-Lhasa section zigzags 1,142 kilometers across the Kunlun and Tanggula mountain ranges.
- About 550 kilometers of the tracks run on frozen earth, the longest such railroad on earth.
- Tanggula Railway Station (5,068 meters above sea level) is the highest railway station in the world.
- Fenghuoshan Tunnel (4,905 meters above sea level) is the world's most elevated tunnel on frozen earth.
- Kunlun Mountain Tunnel (1,686 meters) is the world's longest high altitude tunnel built on frozen earth.
- There are a total of 45 stations along the rail line.
- The maximum train speed is designed to reach 100 km per hour in the frozen earth areas and 120 km per hour on non-frozen earth.