Experiencing the Qinghai-Tibet train is an incredible experience. For us, it started on Oct. 21, 2014 at about 7:00 in the evening, when we gathered in front of our hotel and transferred by bus to the train station. To get into the train station we needed both our train tickets and our passports plus the special group visa that our guide held.
We were taken to the "soft" waiting room in the Beijing train station to wait for the train's departure and this cost us 10y to use. Our train was on track 4 and we were in car 3 so we had a fairly long walk with our luggage to get there. Again we had to show both our passports and train tickets when boarding the train.
We were in a hard sleeper car which meant we had a compartment with 6 bunks.
These compartments were shared. We were fortunate that we were with another couple on our tour. The compartments were quite comfortable and not any smaller than the "soft" sleeper cars that we had traveled on in China a few years earlier.
We had a small table by the window and a thermos for hot water which was available just outside of our compartment. There were also small tables in the passageway that were "public property" that could be used by whomever, if the compartments became too crowded.
On the end of each car was an Asian-style toilet and sinks and these were kept in a relatively good state of cleanliness. We had been encouraged to bring plenty of snacks and cup-of-noodles which were easy to prepare with the available hot water. There also were food carts that circulated through the cars at meal times. A very nice dining car where adequate food was prepared and enjoyed was also part of the train.
Oxygen was pumped into the cars from somewhere, which I never learned from where, though the personal one by my bed did not seal well and thus leaked a bit until I touched it and then it stopped.
The train was an express train so it did not stop often though when it did we could get off for a few minutes. It was cold outside which made us aware how comfortable and adequate the heating was on board.
After 44 pleasant hours on the train, we arrived at a beautiful new train station in Lhasa . We were rushed off the train so it could be cleaned and readied for the return trip to Beijing. Our passports and tickets were again collected by our guide to be taken to the police and processed for our time in Tibet. This train trip was truly a unique and wonderful experience!!
Photos and story courtesy of Bob & Wilma.