Qinghai - Tibet Railway Travel Guide

Qinghai-Tibet RailwayThe 1,956-kilometer-long Qinghai-Tibet Railway is the world's highest and longest plateau railroad and also the first railway connecting the Tibet Autonomous Region with other parts of China. The Qinghai-Tibet Railway is a "road to heaven" that brings Tibetans harmony, happiness and economic prosperity.

Qinghai-Tibet Railway Higlights
-- Qinghai-Tibet Railway is the first railroad linking Tibet with the rest of China.
-- China has solved three major difficulties, namely frozen tundra, high altitude and plateau environmental protection, to rewrite the world's history of railway construction with the completion of Qinghai-Tibet Railway.
-- None of the hundreds of thousands of railway builders died of altitude sickness in the past five years.
-- 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 rail.
-- 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.
-- About 29.46 billion yuan (3.68 billion U.S. dollars) had been spent on the Golmud-Lhasa section which runs 1,142 kilometers.

Environmental Conservation
Despite worries over the Tibet's environmental destruction, the import of coal alone is able to alleviate the ecological pressure caused by the region's logging for fuel.

To build an eco-friendly Qinghai-Tibet, the Chinese government spent 1.5 billion yuan (some 180 million US dollars) on environmental conservation along the route, about five percent of the project's total spending and the largest amount in any single railway project in China.

The Qinghai-Tibet has 33 special passageways for rare animals, including the critically-endangered Tibetan antelopes. It has also bypassed celestial burial ground and lamaseries to preserve Tibetan religious sites.

China has solved three major difficulties to rewrite the world's history of railway construction with the completion of Qinghai-Tibet Railway. The three difficulties are frozen tundra, high altitude and plateau environmental protection

About 550 kilometers of the tracks run on frozen earth, the longest in the world's plateau railways, posing great challenges for designing and construction. Qinghai-Tibet Railway

The oxygen content along the railway is only 50-60 percent of that at sea level as 960 km of tracks are located at more than 4, 000 meters above sea level

The annual average temperature on the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is below zero degree Celsius with the minimum temperature at 45 degree Celsius below zero.

History
In the distant past, Tibetans relied totally on people and livestock to transport materials to and from other parts of China. A round trip usually took seven to eight months. Tt took more than a month to make a trip from Beijing to Tibet in June 1951. The transport capacity was extremely limited. This seriously influenced exchanges between Tibet and other areas, restricted economic and social development and hampered social progress in Tibet

By inaugurating the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, China has realized a centennial dream of Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the forerunner of China's democratic revolution, and has broken American train traveler Paul Theroux's prophesy that the Kunlun Range was 'a guarantee that therailway will never get to Lhasa'.

The Qinghai-Tibet railway stretches 1,956 km from Xining, capital of Qinghai Province, to Lhasa. The section of 814 km from Xining to Golmud began operation in 1984 and the Golmud-Lhasa section started construction on June 29, 2001.

At 8.55 pm on July 3rd, the T27, the first ever passenger train from Beijing, pulled into Lhasa Station. History shows the construction of a railway line often changes the economic and social life of a region.

Map of Qinghai-Tibet Railway
Map of Qinghai-Tibet Railway

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  • Qinghai - Tibet Railway
  • Qinghai - Tibet Railway
  • Qinghai - Tibet Railway