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Oxygen Supply on Tibet Trains

Last Update: June 23, 2020

The Qinghai-Tibet Train is called the World's highest railway, covering a distance of 1,956 km. The area over 4000 meters above sea level accounts for about 85% of the entire line. It passes through the highest elevation Tanggula Mountain (5072m), which is the world's highest point of this sky railway. On the other hand, the oxygen content of air in most areas along the railway is only 50%-60% of the mainland China.

Facing such high elevations and low oxygen content, the carriages on Qinghai-Tibet Trains are specially built. To keep passengers comfortable during the journey, the Tibet trains are all equipped with the oxygen supply systems. Taking a train to Tibet could help you to get accustomed to the high altitude slowly and gradually on the way.

Where is the Oxygen Supply Provided on Tibet Train?

Tibet trains are all equipped with the oxygen supply systems to provide better train experience. There are 2 kinds of oxygen supply systems on Tibet trains, which can keep the required oxygen level in the train when the train passes through the high altitude area.

Oxygen outlet on Tibet TrainsOxygen outlet is provided for individual passengers to ensure your safety onboard Tibet Trains.

Individual Oxygen Outlet in Tibet Train Cabin

One is an independent system, which can be directly used by passengers through individual oxygen outlet when they feel a lack of oxygen. In hard seat carriage, you can easily find them beneath the seats. In the train corridor, oxygen supply outlets are on the train wall. In the sleeper berth cabin, they are near the beds and can be used while lying on the bed. These oxygen outlets are easily be found, as they have dark red covers that have “OXYGEN OUTLET” written on them.

Oxygen Supply in Tibet Train Carriage

The other main system is the 'dispersion-mode' oxygen supply system, spreading oxygen made by the oxygen generator to the carriage through the air-con system. Oxygen is pumped in when the train reaches the higher altitudes, to keep the oxygen content of the air about 23%.

Oxygen port in Tibet Train Soft Sleeper CarsIn soft sleeper cars on the Tibet train, there is one oxygen supply pipe on the wall besides each berth.

When to Use the Oxygen Supply during My Tibet Train Ride?

The oxygen supply system does not convey oxygen for the whole train trip to Tibet. When the train passes the station at Golmud, at 2,809 meters above sea level, the oxygen supply system will be switched on, delivering fresh and refreshing oxygen into the carriage. when the oxygen supply systems are working, smoking is forbidden in all the carriages.

If a passenger shows some symptoms of high altitude sickness, he or she should use the private oxygen supply in Tibet train. Altitude sickness occurs when one cannot get enough oxygen from the air.

Disposable Oxygen TubeThe disposable tube is used for passengers to absorb oxygen.

How to Use the Oxygen Supply on Tibet Trains?

Don’t worry, the private oxygen supply system on the Tibet train is very simple to use. The trainman will distribute the disposable tubes to passengers usually as the train approached Golmud. You can also ask for it when you suffer from altitude sickness. It is free to use. The disposable tube comes in a plastic bag. First, you need to tear open this bag and get the tube out. Then connect the one end of the tube to the oxygen outlet. last, there are two small tubes at the other end of the tube. You just need to put these two small tubes into your nostrils. You do not need to press any button to let oxygen come out from the outlet. Once the tube is inserted into your nostrils, you can breathe the oxygen freely.

What If the Oxygen Supply Does Not Work on Higher Altitude?

Though the Qinghai-Tibet Train has 2 kinds of oxygen supply systems, that does not mean every passenger can safely go through the whole Tibet train journey, without any high altitude concern. Some may still feel uncomfortable or even suffer from severe altitude sickness after using the oxygen supply. In this occasion, you should ask for the medical services from the trainman.

Medical services from the trainmanMedical service is available on Tibet train.

The fact is that, every train from or to Tibet is equipped with experienced doctors and trained nurses, and they are available for dealing with the medical emergencies of the passengers. So, when the oxygen supply does not work for your situation, you can get timely and effective first aid from medical service on Tibet train as well.

One thing to be noted, Golmud to Lhasa section is the part where one may have altitude sickness. The highest station of the Tibet train journey, Tanggula mountain, is the most likely time for the passenger to have altitude sickness. Another likely place to have altitude sickness is the Fenghuoshan Tunnel which is the highest railway tunnel in the world. When the train are ready to pass these higher-altitude areas, passengers are advised to pay more attention to the issue of altitude sickness.

What is altitude sickness?

High altitude sickness, is a kind of pathological reaction that occurs when the human body is rapidly exposed to a low-pressure and low-oxygen environment. It is a common disease unique to the plateau. No matter how age, sex or physical fitness you are, you may get high altitude sickness. Moreover, it doesn't mean you will not get altitude sickness next time, just because you have not had it before.

The common symptoms are headache, insomnia, loss of appetite, fatigue, difficulty breathing, etc. Headaches are the most common symptom, and pain is aggravated at night or in the morning.

Besides, the following points may also be manifestations of altitude sickness:
1. Dizziness, nausea and vomiting, breath hard, chest tightness, chest pain, insomnia, lethargy, loss of appetite, abdominal distension, numbness of hands and feet, etc.
2. At the time of rest, only mild symptoms such as palpitation, breath hard, chest tightness, chest pain, etc., but the symptoms are particularly prominent after the activity.
3. Those who have the following symptoms, such as significantly increased pulse, mild or moderately elevated blood pressure (or reduced), eyelids or facial edema.

How to avoid altitude sickness while traveling to Tibet by train?

1. The best way to avoid or reduce altitude sickness is to maintain a good mood, as many symptoms are caused by the mentality. Do not be nervous, you could listen to music or appreciate the spectacular landscape along the railway.

2. The aisles on the train are relatively narrow. It is recommended that do not walk fast, and do not run. When passing through high altitude areas, try to stay at rest and not move around. It is advised that don't stay up late to watch mobile phones or read books. Ensure adequate sleep and have a good rest. Good rest is very helpful for adapting to the plateau as soon as possible.

3. Hot water is provided on the train. Drinking plenty of water can really soothe the mind and body and also drive away the chill. Drinking more water is more beneficial to the body and skin. The body and mind are comfortable, and the altitude sickness is not easy to attack.

4. Although there are air conditioners on the train, it is necessary to increase or decrease the clothes in time to avoid catching a cold. Catching a cold is dangerous on high altitude plateau. You could bring with some your cold medicine and other necessary medicine.


There are two oxygen supply systems on the Tibet train to provide oxygen for passengers. The oxygen content in the cabin is much higher than that in the plateau outside the train. Passengers can securely enjoy the beautiful scenery along the way. Even if you get high altitude sickness or some other physical problem, you can also ask the doctor and the trainman for help immediately.

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