Beijing – Lhasa Train: 48 hours of Chinese landscapes and Tibetan marvels
The trip from Beijing to Lhasa will take about 48 hours (4064 kilometers). The Beijing-Lhasa train will run at a speed of 160 km per hour on the plain, but will slow down at 100 kilometers per hour in the frozen earth areas and 120 kilometers per hour on non-frozen earth. The T27/8 train, departing from Beijing's West Railway Station to Lhasa (4,064-kilometer) passes through six cities: Shijiazhuang, Xi'an, Lanzhou, Xining, Golmud and Nagqu township.
Ticket prices and hotels recommended
The basic coach ticket, called a hard seat, sells for 389 yuan (48.6 USD) from Beijing to Lhasa, while the price for hard sleeper or bunk costs 813 yuan (101.6 USD), and the price for a shared compartment or soft sleeper is 1,262 yuan (157. 75 USD). When the visitor arrive in Lhasa there are agreeable hotels for its stay: the most recommended are the Century Hotel Lhasa Tibet, the Kingsun Grand Hotel, Lhasa, and the big Lhasa Hotel 468 rooms.
Five years of work in huge difficulties
The railway is built during five years at a total cost of $3.76 billion. To accomplish this great achievement and rewrite the world's history of railway construction , China has solved three huge difficulties: frozen tundra, high altitude and plateau environmental protection. The Qinghai – Tibet line was built fighting every day related to this problems.
The trains with oxygen and ultra-violet windows
The trains traveling across the roof of the world are well equipped with extra oxygen pumped into the cabins to help passengers to combat the thin air and from suffering altitude sickness. The train carriages have windows with ultra-violet glass filters to keep out the sun's glare. The carriages were installed with environment-friendly toilets, wastewater deposit tank and garbage treatment facilities to protect environment along the railroad. All the Chinese characters that appear on the electronic screen have been translated into Tibetan and English.
A magnificent feat and an engineering marvel
All the word considers this project an engineering marvel, because whole of people used to think the perennial ice and slush along the route could never support tracks and trains. China's President Hu Jintao, who inaugurated the first train to Lhasa, called this railway: a magnificent feat by the Chinese people, and also a miracle in world railway history. Zhu Zhensheng of the Chinese railway ministry called the new line: a major achievement that will hugely boost local development and benefit the local people.
The defense of Tibet’s ecosystem and environment
The new Tibet Railway was built with many cares to have little impact on the region's ecosystem and environment. The central government has taken a series of measures to protect Tibet's frail environment, including the construction of the National Environmental Safety Defense for the Tibet Altiplano, which will cost 38.7 billion yuan.
Tibet tourism: visitors triplicate into 2010
The new Tibet Railway modernise the Himalayan region lifting its 2.8 million people out of isolation and bring major opportunities to a poor region. The daily trains to the Tibet will operate a profound impact on Tibet's economic, social and touristic development. In 2005, a total of 1.8 million visitors came to tour Tibet's high altiplano, generating nearly 2 billion yuan in revenue. The analysis predicts that the annual number of travelers to Tibet will rise to 5.28 million in 2010, generating revenue of 5.8 billion yuan for the region. The Travel Bureau of the Autonomous Region predicted that there would be about 5,000 people arriving in Tibet every day, three or four thousand of whom would be arriving by train.
Three trains to Lhasa Railway station
Every day there are three trains: to Lhasa:
- a first train from Beijing to Lhasa via Xian
- a second train from Chongqing (also via Xian) or Chengdu (depending on the day)
- a third train from Xining or Lanzhou every second day.
Permit for Tibet required
In addition to a Chinese visa, foreigners still require a special permit to enter Tibet, although there is talk of discontinuing this requirement in the near future, so please check. The only way to get a permit is through a Chinese travel agency.
The heaven of tibetan antilopes
Graceful Tibetan antelopes and sturdy wild horses offered one of the most spectacular scenes to passengers that travel on the Tibetan Railway. This when the train passes through Hoh Xil, China's largest area of uninhabited land but a natural habitat for Tibetan antelope and 230 species of wild animals. Hoh Xil is one of most important nature reserve of China. The population of Tibetan antelopes has dropped from several million to below 100,000 in the past two decades, a result of excessive poaching and human encroachment of their habitat. Since 1979, the Tibetan antelope has been recognized as an endangered species.
The problem of environmental protection is felt, one of first question and one of the biggest challenges confronting the designers and builders of the railway was: how to build the Qinghai-Tibet Railway, through the Hoh Xil without encroaching on the animals' homes. The central government spent 1.5 billion yuan (about 180 million US dollars) on environment conservation along the route, the largest amount in any single railway project in China. Chinese President Hu Jintao say: Railway workers and passengers traveling on the Qinghai-Tibet railway should consciously treasure waters and mountains as well as grass and woods on the Plateau, and they should help conserve the eco system and environment along the railway,
Green passageways for animals
For the first time in any railway project, the Chinese government spent heavily to build 33 green passageways for animals. Construction work was suspended for several consecutive nights when female antelopes crossed the site while migrating to and from their breeding site in June and August of 2003, when the Hoh Xil section of the railway was being built. To date, rare animals in the region have become used to the railway, said officials with the Hoh Xil nature reserve administration.