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Facilities and Amenities on Tibet Trains

26 February 2019 Last updated at 16:37

A Tibet Train journey is usually long up to more than 40 hours, going through the highest-altitude railway in the world on the harsh and remote Qinghai Tibet Plateau area, which makes well-equipped facilities very necessary. So what kinds of facilities and amenities are equipped on a Tibet Train?

Sleepers and Seats

Generally speaking, a regular train (not high speed bullet trains), including Tibet Trains, usually offer three kinds of seats – Soft Sleeps, Hard Sleepers and Hard Seats.

Soft Sleepers

The Soft Sleeper is a settled single berth with soft beddings equipped in some carriages on the train. Usually there are only 2 carriages which have compartments of Soft Sleepers, accommodating passengers up to 64. Each compartment is a single cabin with a private door facing the aisle, and has 4 Soft Sleepers inside, two upper berths and two lower berths, which are about 30 inches (75cm) wide and 75 inches (190cm) long. Learn more about Soft Sleeper

Hard Sleepers

The Hard Sleeper is not hard at all. Actually there are soft beddings equipped with the Hard Sleepers. The Hard Sleeper can be regarded as the Second Class Sleeper. A normal train, like K, T, Z trains, usually has 8~10 carriages of Hard Sleepers. Each carriage has 11 single compartments. There are 6 Hard Sleepers in each compartment – two upper sleeper, two middle sleeper and two lower sleepers. The sleeper is about 24 inches (60cm) wide and 71 inches (180cm) long. Learn more about Hard Sleeper

Hard Seats

The Hard Seat is the cheapest-standard seat class. There usually 4 carriages with total amount of 392 hard seats on the Tibet trains. The Hard Seats are connected by row with an unit of 10 seats face to face, and separated by a narrow aisle. The seat is almost vertical and cannot be adjusted, also doesn’t allow passengers to lie down because it is only 16inches (40cm) wide. The Hard Seat is not recommended for a long-distance trip like Tibet train ride. The Hard Seat Carriage is also usually very crowded and not as clean as Soft Sleeper and Hard Sleeper Carriages. Learn more about Hard Seat

Soft Sleeper
Soft Sleeper with Soft Beddings
Hard Sleeper
Hard Sleepers on Train Z266 (Guangzhou-Lhasa)

Luggage Rack

No matter what kind of seats or sleepers you take, you will have a place to put your luggage. If you are taking a Soft Sleeper, you can put your luggage or suitcases on the luggage closet above the door in each Soft Sleeper Carriage. It is about 16 inches (40cm) high and 20 inches (50cm) wide. If you are taking a Hard Sleeper, just place your luggage and suitcases on the luggage racks above the window by the side of aisle. If you are taking a Hard Seats, you can put your luggage on the luggage rack above the seats. There are also available spaces under the lower sleepers to place your suitcases.

According to regulation of Ministry of Railways, each passenger is allowed to take carry-on baggage of not over 44 pounds (20 kg) for free (10 kg for each child). But the total length of each item cannot exceed 63 inches (160 cm). Learn more Tibet Train Luggage Allowance

Luggage Rack
A conductor is arranging the luggages.

Dining Car and Food Trolley

All Tibet Trains have a dining car which offers breakfast, lunch and dinner and some snacks and drinks. It is usually located in the middle position of the train. Currently only some Chinese food and cuisines are provide: rice, vegetables, meals and soups. The food on the menus is limited. Kung Pao Chicken is the most common dishes on the train. You can also buy the packed food when the staffs on the train pushing a food trolley through your carriage at the meals time. There are snacks, food and drinks selling on the train. As for the prices, they are about twice of the normal prices in the cities. Learn more Tibet Train Dining

Dining Car
Dining Car on the Train

Oxygen Supply System

In order to keep passengers comfortable during the journey, the Tibet trains are all equipped with the oxygen supply systems. There are 2 kinds of oxygen supply systems equipped with on the train to cope with the lack of oxygen on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau. One is a ‘dispersion-mode’ oxygen supply system, which spreading oxygen in the train’s cars through the air-con system. The other system is directly used by passengers through independent port. Passengers can connect the disposable pipe to a individual oxygen outlet when they get headache, feel out of breath or meet any other difficulties of traveling on such a high altitude. There are also oxygen supply tube and mask on each cabin for emergency. Learn more Tibet Train Oxygen Suply

Air-Conditioning

To prevent passengers from feeling uncomfortable in the harsh and extreme weather (extremely cold or solarization), all Tibet Trains are equipped with air-conditioning systems. You won’t feel hot in summer and autumn days, or feel cold in spring and winter days. The temperatures are usually control at around 24~26 degrees Celsius during summer and 18_20 degrees Celsius during winters.

Oxygen Supply System
Available Oxygen Suppyly System

Toilet

There are two toilets at two ends of each carriage on the train. They are both small and irrespective of the gender. The toilets in Soft Sleeper Carriages are one western-style toilet and another squat toilet. While in the carriages of Hard Sleepers and Hard Seats, there are only squat toilets available. But toilet papers are not provided in the toilet. If you traveling alone and need to go to the toilet, you’d better not leave your belongings on your seat or sleeper. Please also note that all the toilets will be closed when the trains stop at the stations in the middle way. Learn more Tibet Train Toilet

Toilet on Train
Western-style Toilet

Drinking Water

The tap water provided in the washing room and toilets are not drinkable on the trains. There is a water dispenser at the end of each carriage, next to washing and smoking areas, which provides boiled hot water. When the light on the dispenser turning to green from red, you can receive the boiled hot water. You can also use the thermos in your sleeper compartment to contain the hot water. There are also mineral bottle water and beverages selling on the food trolley passing by.

Drinking Water
Available Hot Water

Electricity Charging Sockets

Power charging is not a problem on the Tibet Trains. There are power charging sockets in each carriage of Hard Seats, Hard Sleepers and Soft Sleepers. But the amount of the sockets is limited. The Soft Sleeper Carriages offer a charging socket in each compartment which is under the small table. The aisle in the carriage also has several charging sockets, under the small folded tables. In Hard Sleeper Carriages, the charging sockets are only equipped by the side of the aisle, so are the Hard Seat Carriages. All the power charging sockets are the 220V standard. In case of not suiting your devices well, you’d better bring an adapter. Because there are so many people waiting to use the charging sockets, we strongly advise you to bring a portable battery charger with you so that you can charge your devices at anytime and anywhere. From hard seat carriages, you can go to the conductor’s cubicle to recharge your phone or laptop.

Electricity Charging Sockets
Available Electricity Charging Sokets

Washbasin

There is a simple washbasin at each side of the carriages which allows 3 people to wash simultaneously. Only cold water is provided, undrinkable. Please also note that there is no any toiletry provided on the train, such as toothpaste, hairbrush, soap, etc. And the basin is not very clean all the time. You can avoid the busy time in the morning from 7-9am or evening from 6-9pm.

Washbasin
Neat Washbasin on Train Z322 (Chengdu-Lhasa)

Smoking Area

Chinese laws strictly prohibit smoking in the compartments, seats areas, dining car and toilets. The violators will be imposed a fine of about 500~2,000 RMB. But it is allowed to smoke in a special area as well as the only place at the connection of two carriages. (It is completely not allowed to smoke in any high speed bullet trains – D and C Trains)

Smoking Area
Smoking Area between Two Cars

Entertainment Facilities

There are TV screens in each carriage on Tibet Trains. But the screen is very small (about 18 inches). The top class Soft Sleeper even can enjoy a personal TV which is conveniently settled at the end of the sleeper. While in the carriages of Hard Seats and Hard Sleepers, there are only several shared TV screens hanging over the seats. Reading is great thing to do on the train because the trains run smoothly and steady. But you have to bring your own book because there is no book provided on the trains. You can download some movies or other videos in your phone, tablet or laptop before your train ride so that you can watch videos to kill time during the train ride.

TV on Train
Tv Screens

Internet

There is no Wi-Fi and internet access on all Tibet trains. If you want to connect to the internet, you have to have a Chinese cell phone with SIM card of one of three telecom operators in China - China Telecom, China Unicom and China Mobile. The phone signals are not always stable and fast especially when passing through mountain areas and tunnels.

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