SoftDawn | Train Across Tibet | Lanzhou | Plateau 1 | Plateau 2 | Plateau 3 | Lhasa

Train To Lhasa, Page 2

An autumn journey on the new train across the Tibetan High Plateau.

Generally the country along the railway was a broad plain flanked by mountains 2000 to 3000 feet high with icy rivers and lakes.

An icy river. Rivers with floating ice were commonplace.


alternate caption. A substantial tent beside the highway.
This appears to be a construction depot, or a road maintenance site.


alternate caption. The railway followed the road for a lot of the way which is not surprising when you think about it. When the road was built its route would have been chosen to follow the least difficult terrain. Therefore it could be expected the trainline would follow the same route. Nevertheless, since the road was built there have been massive improvements in earth moving equipment and construction techniques.
The railway moved away from the road for a few hours in the afternoon.


alternate caption. Unlike the Nullabor Plain in Australia where you can drive for hours without seeing another vehicle, on the road to Lhasa trucks carrying their loads were a steady sight. The trucks would supply the towns along the road and inland and would carry goods to Lhasa.


A flock of sheep. A flock of sheep beside the road.


A shepherd with his sheep. The shepherd taking advantage of the smooth road surface.


Image 054. A herd of yaks and a flock of sheep together.


alternate caption. Modern solar powered infrastructure provided by the railroad.


In addition to yaks and sheep, wild life was observed. A small group of wild deer was seen, as were hawks and other birds.


alternate caption. A small isolated collection of buildings with yaks out the back.


alternate caption. Elevated track above the snow.


alternate caption. One of our train conductors.


The train appeared to be just a modern Chinese train. In appearances it wasn't very different to other Chinese trains, although we knew it be of special construction to handle the extreme conditions. Two differences stood out:
i) the toilets,
ii) oxygen in the compartments.
At either end of my carriage there was a toilet. At one end it was the usual "squat" toilet, but at the other end it was a modern western style toilet (BLISS!). Both toilets were flushed by a suction mechanism like an airliner's toilet. The poo is stored in tanks and not released on the tracks.
In my "soft seat" compartment there were two small (80 x 15mm) flaps which when lifted released oxygen imperceptibly into the cabin. I feel this was beneficial and helped me acclimatise to the high altitude. When walking around Lhasa I didn't experience any symptoms of altitude sickness.


alternate caption. As we made our way south (still well above 4000 m on the LCD display) the countryside became snow covered.


alternate caption. A truck making its way through the snow.


Reportage of the day-long train journey across the Tibetan Plateau has been broken into 3 pages to make it more digestible. You can reach Plateau 1 and Plateau 3 by clicking on these links, or on the tags at the top, or bottom, of this page.

SoftDawn | Train Across Tibet | Lanzhou | Plateau 1 | Plateau 2 | Plateau 3 | Lhasa