Thursday, December 25, 2008

travel to Tibet: Tibet Railway

Tibet Railway, China's first railway to Tibet, was launched on July 1, 2006. Billed as one of the most dramatic railway in the world, it closely connects mainland China and remote Tibet, which will speed up economic development. It is obvious that the railway will enhance tourism to both Qinghai Province as well as the Tibet Autonomous Region, thus bringing prosperity to that part of West China that until now has not enjoyed all the benefits attributable to the tourist industry.

If you want to travel to Tibet, Currently Tibet Railway is the best option. Why? Comparing to plane and bus, the new rail link provides the traveler with a more convenient, comfortable, safer and economical way to go to Tibet. The Tibet Railway offers the tourist the opportunity to see more of the wonderful landscape that is unique to the 'roof of the world'.

Considered to be miraculous, the difficulty of building a railway on a plateau is incredible, due to the high altitude and complex geographical environment. During the construction of the railway, three challenges regarded as international problems are encountered - permafrost, a fragile ecological environment, and lack of oxygen. It took almost 6 years to finish the project. The following is the details about the three challenges and Characters of Qinghai-Tibet Railway

Permafrost - a mixture of soil and ice under 0 C - expands in winter and contracts in summer. As the railroad is built upon this kind of soil, the railroad bed will easy to sink. Different measures are taken to overcome this according to differing sections - permafrost areas are avoided where possible, bridges built instead of the railroad descending and ascending valley contours, and some new materials like heat transfer prevention planks are used to guarantee the stability of the railroad bed on the perennial frozen soil.

The second challenge facing in the construction is the fragile ecological environment. As the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is the cradle of many rivers, it has a unique and fragile ecosystem. In order to lessen the damage to the greater extent within Kekexili and other two Nature Reserves that the railway passes through, the railroad avoids the direct long distance route where possible, and instead circumvents these areas, with the Flora and Fauna also protected as much as possible.

The third difficulty - lack of oxygen - was a major thread to the Tibet Railroad builders. Between the Kekexili and Tanggula mountain ranges, the temperature is extremely low and oxygen content quite rarefied. Under such a harsh and extreme climate, it was a challenge to builders of the railroad. To ensure the health of these workers, 17 oxygen-making stations were constructed.


The trains and the 45 railway stations are a combination of the full-bodied Tibetan building style and advanced construction techniques. As the lack of oxygen is the primary threat to passenger health, two systems are employed to supply enough oxygen throughout the train. Firstly, oxygen dispersed into the carriages ensures the oxygen requirement of passengers. Secondly, oxygen masks conveniently located beside each seat are also available should anoxia appear. Doctors on the trains also offer expert medical treatment both day and night.

The spacious bunks, TV entertainment, and Tibetan style cabins offer passengers all the comforts they would find in their own homes. In addition, a bar and cafeteria provide a place where passengers can relax.

The trains to Tibet have also been equipped with the latest advanced garbage and sewage management and disposal facilities. To avoid the threat of the terrible thunder near the Tanggula Pass with an altitude of over 5,000 meters (16,404 feet), the first-class equipments avoiding the thunder's destroy to the train have been installed.

Railway Station

With 45 train stations in all, Lhasa and Tanggula stations are of the most charismatic, though all the stations blend the local architecture styles with the modern construction techniques. To protect the environment, proper sewage disposal measures are taken, along with solar and wind energy being wildly used.

Lhasa Railway Station with its main colours of white and red is a typical traditional Tibetan style building and faces the famous Potala Palace. With an altitude of 5,068 meters (16,627 feet), and stands at the foot of Tanggular Mountain, Tanggula Station is the highest railway station in the world. It is also one of the nine major sightseeing stations from where visitors can appreciate the mignificent scene of the permanently snow covered Tanggula Mountain.

Animal Protection

As Qinghai-Tibet Plateau is the habitat for rare wild animals, in order to guarantee the normal living and migration of the rare wild animals such as Tibetan antelopes on the plateau, 33 migration routes are built, catering for their living requirements and migration routes.

In the history of China's railway construction, this is the first time that special routes for wild animals are a part of the design. Different channels cater to different species; routes over tunnels for animals living in mountainous areas, and under bridges for animals on the plains. Every traveler will marvel at the harmony between natural and the man-made during the trip.

Environmental Protection

Extensive measures to avoid pollution to the local environment, both during, and after construction have been taken. Great attention has also been paid to the vegetations, lakes, swamp and all other environments along the railroad. The route for support vehicles and railway personnel are strictly controlled, thus reducing the damage to the environment. The railroad avoided the swamp areas to a greatest possible extent. Bridges are built above the lakes instead of following the shoreline. In addition, the number of railway stations is greatly restricted to decrease the effect to the environment and effective sewage treatment measures having been adopted in both stations and trains to Tibet.

1 评论:

bhutan holiday said...

Tibet culture is so fascinating. I had the privilege to visit Tibet last year .It along with Bhutan are great place to travel. Just hope both these places can make their visa procedures a little easier.