The first direct train between Shanghai and Lhasa is expected to run during the National Day holiday, according to the Shanghai Railway Administration.
The 52-hour journey to the Tibetan capital will take passengers to Beijing, through Lianyungang in Jiangsu Province and Lanzhou in Gansu Province, then along the recently completed Qinghai-Tibet line.
Bombardier high-speed trains - equipped with oxygen masks for the high-altitude Qinghai Plateau - will be used on the route.
The National Day holiday will run from October 1 to October 7.
Local residents welcomed the news.
"I have always wished to travel to Tibet by train with my friends," said Wu Ting, an IT employee. "I will try to take the line's first train."
Schedules and ticket prices are still under discussion, the administration said at the weekend.
Wang Jiping, general manager of Shanghai Odyssey Traveling Agency, said he believed the ticket price for the round trip would be about 1,000 yuan (US$125) less than flying or catching the train to Xining in Qinghai Province to board the train to Tibet.
Wang said his agency had prepared two itineraries for when the Shanghai line goes into operation.
The agency declined to give a specific price for the 12-day and 16-day sightseeing tours around Tibet.
(Shanghai Daily September 4, 2006)