Yaks love the Qinghai Tibet Railway (ii) -- and geography

Part (i) here

The Railway under construction in 2005

First, the yaks love the new railway! (more yak on rail pictures here)

Weighing 1000kg a yak could derail a train. This offers a second explanation to why the rail needs to be guarded.


The highest point of the Railway is near Tanggula Pass. at 5072m (16,600ft) above sea level, i.e.,
  • taller than Mont Blanc (4808m), Europe, the highest point in Europe is, technically Mt Elbrus (5642m) at Caucasus, Russia, about 10% higher than our Tangula Pass
  • taller than Mt Massif (4897), highest of Antartica
  • only 827m shorter than Mt Kilimanjaro (5895m), Africa
  • Almost twice that of Mt Baitou/Changbai, between China and Korea (DPRK)
  • 30% above Mt Fuji (3776m), 20% above Mt Jade (3952) of Taiwan Province, China (ROC), or Mt Kinabalu (4093m) at Sabah, Borner, Malaysia
  • Higher than Mt Whitney (4421) at Sierra Nevada, or any point in the 48 US States, or the second highest point in Alaska Mt Sanford (16,237 ft) -- just 20% shorter than Mt McKinley (20,320 ft) in Denali, Alaska
But that is only where the railway actually goes through, Tanggula Pass is at 6070m. The peak around the pass is called Gladindong(6621m), and Purog Kangri (6929) of Tanggula Shan, which divided Tibet from Qinghai.

Just south of the Tanggula Pass Station (5068m) is the highest point of the railway (5072m).

20km of the railway is above 5000m. 780 km from 4500 to 5000m.

The railways rises to above around 5000m, near the 1338m long Fenghuo Shan Tunnel and continue to be around that altitude beyond the pass. About 550km in length of this section is on permafrost, i.e. so high that the temperature is always signigicantly below freezing point.

Stations, tunnels and bridges on railway

Related links:
1) Wiki's station list, and stations with vista points.
2) Chinapage
3) Schaefer's "The Railway to Tibet"
4) BBC' new report on inauguration July 1st (video)
5) Timesonline: Passages for endangered chiru, and "Video monitoring shows that more than 800 antelope have already passed under the railway"

6) Comminganarchy has discussion on merit of train travel in the comment section

These pictures were taken in June between Andu and Tanggula Pass stations

Tibet Antelope (Chiru) (see also early post)

Tibetan donkey



Sun Bin said...

Journey across the roof of the world, another great report from Times' Jane Macartney

Anonymous said...

Tibet has been a part of China longer than United States being a country, it is ignorant for westerners to think China annex Tibet illegally.

Sun Bin said...

Spielgel report, complete with a gorgeous photo album.