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Tibet Train

Qinghai-Tibet Railway

The Qinghai-Tibet Railway is a symbolic project in China's West Development Strategy and will play a significant role in accelerating the social and economic development of Qinghai Province and Tibet Autonomous Region. It's envisaged that the rail link will help build up ethnic solidarity and benefit people of many ethnic groups.

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Facts about Qinghai-Tibet Railway

China has rewritten the world's history of railway construction with its completion of the world's highest railway, the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, on the roof of the world.
Below are some facts about the Qinghai-Tibet Railway:

* 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, at least 200 meters higher than the Peruvian railway in the Andes, which was formerly the world's most elevated track.

* The railway is the world's longest plateau railroad, extending 1,956 kilometers from Qinghai's provincial capital Xining to Lhasa in Tibet. The newly completed 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 in any of the world's plateau railways.

* 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, running 1,686 meters, is the world's longest plateau tunnel built on frozen earth.

* 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.

Train Tour to Tibet

1) The train and the Environmental Protection

According to the original schedule, trains to Tibet will begin in the year of 2007. But the project of the Tibet Plateau Railway finished one year earlier and the trial trains to Tibet launched since July the first and on.
At the starting ceremony of trains to Tibet, President of Chinese Central Government Mr. Hu Jintao Attended the ceremony. It sounded like a big and important matter and issue. Yes, it is a big project, and could be matched with the Great Wall in ancient China.
Yet, after the trains start and even before the train, people around the world and China worry about the last pure land in terms of Environmental Protection. It seemed that the train will bring pollution to the Tibet Plateau. There will be white and sound pollution along the railway line, and the animal will be driven away.

(Lhasa railway station)
To answer the questions, I personally went to the railway station in Lhasa and got on the train.
From what I saw and heard, I do not think there will be pollution since the trains were no-windows-open built and you can not litter any thing out of the train. And the train seldom or never sounds in the vast area where the animals stroll and run. So at least at present stage, the environment pollution won’t happen.

2) What does the Train bring to Tibetans?

Before the trains, the price in Tibet no matter it is daily life used commodity or tour products were very expensive, some times the price is twice or triple as much as in mainland of China because these commodity were either fly in or carried by trucks from thousands of miles away.

On the other hand, products from Tibet were also rare to see and people in Tibet cannot buy in quantity. The reason is that the transportation is very expensive. Take the Gas Station (Petroleum for cars and its kind of vehicles) for instance. The price per liter is 80-90% of more expensive than that in mainland China.
However, after the train both products from mainland China and Tibet can be easily transferred bilaterally at lower price. And the price from mainland China are surely cheaper for the local people and for tourists. Furthermore products from Tibet could be easily bought in mainland China and Tibetan people could be a little bit wealthy due to the commerce and trade. Of course the Chinese style life or its fashion and western style of life and its fashion like Fried Chicken and etc can influence Tibetans style of life, but people’s enjoy and easy life is more important as well as to keep the Tibetan culture. To hear and to see and to talk to the local people while you travel to Tibet, you can draw a conclusion by yourself that what Tibet looks like and would looks like.

3) The inner structure and the speed of the train

you may have already taken on a train tour in China, but the trains to Tibet is a little bit different from the trains in China, of course it is also different from that in your country. When the trains were built, people or the engineers think sufficiently about the environment pollution problem and the tourists may suffer from the long time and long distance journey and the high altitude sickness. Thus the windows cannot be opened and people cannot litter things out of the train. And due to its tight sealed up, there is oxygen like in the plane filled in the trains. This oxygen may help you a little bit to reduce the altitude symptoms. Secondly, thinking of the long journey on the train (please refer to the time-table of the train), the hard sleepers were also built in to the compartment style and tourists can sleep soundly and deeply without the noise. And the seats were built in to a sofa style to people to comfortably be seated on. And also the soft sleepers were built in to deluxe compartments style with liquid crystal screens inside. There are two or three Pull-Machines or Engines.

4) Where in China do the trains run to Lhasa

According to the original plan, there will be trains from Beijing(capital, easy to turn the transfer tools from planes, and more tourists, and in the north), Shanghai(biggest city, more tourists, and in the east), Guangdong(near Hong Kong, more tourists, and in the south) Chengdu(southwest, and more tourists) Xining and Lanzhou(in the northwest, both for the changes from planes to trains) but during this trial train operation, there ARE trains only from Beijing, Chongqing(change from Yangtse River to the train), Chengdu, and Xining and Lanzhou.

5) Time Table and the Price
6) How to enjoy the train tour best

Tourists take on the train tour may have a few purposes, but we take two main purposes in to considerations. One purpose is that tourists (mostly domestic tourists) Think (even in a crazy way) that taking the train tour up to the Tibet Plateau can have less or even no altitude sickness. This is not correct, because there is oxygen filled in the train, there is no difference in the train compared with in the other plate or low season places. Furthermore after the long time journey the altitude symptoms may be covered more or less by the exhaustration。Upon arrival in Lhasa, the lauder speakers at the railway station say “tourists, attention. Please walk slowly due to the altitude”. That is the proof.
The other purpose is that tourists think they may see more on the way. This is almost correct. But if the train delay, some times 5-6 hours of delay, tourists may miss the scenery on the way. From the time table you can see all trains leave in the morning, either around 6:00am or 9:00am. And most of the beautiful landscape on the way is in the North Tibet from Lhasa to Thang-lha Mountains. However, the trains from mainland China arrive in the evening or at night. Therefore in my suggestion, it is better to go with the end of Lhasa Station rather than the other ends. That is what I mean to enjoy the train tour best.

7) Pictures and Videos about Lhasa Railway Station

8) Trains and Potala Palace visit.

You may ask do the trains to Lhasa has any relations with the visiting Potala Palace? It has not the direct relations between each other. But there IS the relations since there will be more people coming to Tibet, and everyday there are only 2300 tourists who can go to Potala Palace for a visit, and there will be another 2000-3000 tourists who cannot visit Potala Palace during their stay in Tibet. That is the bilateral relations. It is said that the price of paying a visit to Potala Palace will rise up by the triple as much as the present price. But in the low season, the numbers of the tourists are not so big, and it is easier to finish the visiting of Potala Palace.

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Lhasa Head/Operation Office
European & American Dept. of TCITS
64 Beijing Zhong Rd.
Lhasa 850001

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Trading Building
235 Shuhan Rd.
Chengdu 610036
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