Railway transportation

Due to the lack of transportation methods, the tourism growth was restricted. In the past, there were only two ways traveling into Tibet, by highway or by air. Aviation transportation was affected by the frequency and capacity of the aircraft, with high cost for travelers. Highways were comparatively dangerous for travelers. When the railway is finished, the bottleneck of infrastructure will be improved, providing new opportunities for tourism industry. After the launching of Qinghai-Tibet railway, tourists can chose the more accessible train travel into and out of Tibet. Official said railway is convenient, fast, safe, and comfortable, with low cost. When railway joins in competing for travelers, the other transportation methods will also lower cost.

Go to Tibet Tours

The railway begins in Xining, capital city of Qinghai Province and links Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Lanzhou, and Chongqing directly with Lhasa, capital city of Tibet, taking an average of 2300 visitors to Tibet every day. The 814 kilometer-long stretch from Xining to Golmud was built in 1979 and started operation in 1984. The 1142 kilometer stretch between Golmud and Lhasa runs south along the Qinghai-Tibet Highway and was constructed by rebuilding the original32-kilometer-long line from Golmud to Nanshankou and laying 1110 kilometers of new track. 

There are 45 stations along the 1972 km long Qinghai-Tibet railway from Xining to Lhasa and every station has unique scenery. To provide travelers better opportunity to enjoy the stunningly beautiful scenery on that way, nine scenery viewing platforms have been set up at nine stations. These include Yuzhu Peak Station, Chumaer River. Tuotuo River, Buqiangge, Tanggula Mountain, Lake Namtso, Nagqu, Damshung, and Yambajan. The platform is around 500-meter long and 1.25 meters high. On the platform, visitors can enjoy the views around that area and take photos. The authority has scheduled the trains so that passengers will be able to make use of the viewing platforms during daytime. According to the stipulation of the Ministry of Railways, the Qingzang Railway (Qinghai-Tibet Railway) is not allowed to hold passengers over strength. All the trains to Lhasa require one ticket for one seat. No standing-room-only ticket is on sale.

The Beijing-Lhasa train will run at a speed of 160 km per hour on the plain, but will slow down at 120 km per hour when it reaches the Qinghai-Tibet section. The line includes the Tanggula Pass, at 5,072 m above sea level the world's highest rail track. More than 960 km, or over 80% of the railway, is at an altitude of more than 4,000 m. There are 675 bridges, totaling 159.88 km, and over half the length of the railway is laid on permafrost.