The first passenger train from China's leading metropolis Shanghai to Lhasa, capital of Tibet Autonomous Region, began its 4,373 km journey on Sunday.
Carrying 592 passengers, the train, with 15 cars, left Shanghai Railway Station at 4:11 P.M. and is expected to arrive in Lhasa at 7:50 P.M. on Tuesday.
The train, departing every other day, is composed of two soft sleeping berth carriages, seven hard sleeping berth carriages, four hard seaters, one dining carriage and one for staff members.
The train will be running on sections of the Beijing-Shanghai, Lianyungang-Lanzhou, Lanzhou-Xining and Qinghai-Tibet railways.
Sources with the Shanghai Railway Administration said that they made careful preparations for the operation of the train services. Train stewards had been trained on how to deal with problems related to altitude and also been taught about Tibetan religious customs.
By Friday, the 1,956-km Qinghai-Tibet Railway, the world's highest railway, had carried 380,500 passengers to Lhasa since entering service on July 1, said Sun Yongfu, director of construction for the plateau railway.
The Qinghai-Tibet Railway, which starts from Xining, capital of northwest China's Qinghai Province, and ends in Lhasa, is the first railway ever to go to Tibet. Before the plateau railway began service, people reached Tibet only via air or highway.
(Xinhua News Agency October 2, 2006)