Highest railway line
Qinghai-Tibet Railway
China (China)

The Qinghai-Tibet railway in China, completed in October 2005, is the world’s highest railway. Most of the 1,956-km-long line lies at 4,000 m (13,123 ft) above sea level, with the highest point reaching an altitude of 5,072 m (16,640 ft). Service is due to open to the public in 2007. Passenger carriages will be pressurised like aircraft cabins and oxygen masks will be available. The Qinghai-Tibet Railway links Golmud in northwest China's Qinghai Province and Lhasa, capital of Tibet Autonomous Region. At its highest point the railway is 5,072m (16,640ft) above sea level and runs across the “roof of the world” with 960 kilometres of the journey above 4,000 metres. There are two sections of the railroad, the first section (Xining to Golmud) was complete in 1979, and is 814 kilometres long; the second section (Golmud to Lhasa) is 1142 meters long and was complete in October 2005. The whole line of Qinghai-Tibet railway is 1956 kilometres long. Thirty railway stations are to be built, among them Tanggula Mountain railway station, which at 5,068 m will be the world's highest (Cóndor station, at 4,786 m, on the Rio Mulatos-Potosí line, Bolivia, and La Galera at 4,781 m in Peru being the next highest. The line will also include the 3,345-metre Yangbajing No. 1 tunnel, which is 4,264 metres above sea level and located 80 kilometres NW of the regional capital, Lhasa. Bombardier Transportation is to provide 361 high-altitude passenger carriages with special enriched-oxygen and UV-protection systems, to be delivered between December 2005 and May 2006. Of these, 53 will be luxury sleeper carriages for tourist service[2]. When signalling and track testing is complete, trains travelling in the frozen earth areas are expected to attain maximum speeds of 100 kilometres per hour. On the non-frozen earth areas, speeds are expected to reach 120 kilometres per hour.

Pic: Alamy