Friday, November 3, 2006 at 3:04 pm

Riding the Tibetan Railway

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China’s Golmud to Lhasa rail line has gotten the kind of media attention you’d expect, seeing as it’s the first railroad built into Tibet. Much ink was spilled about the technical achievements involved in building at altitude, especially in re the risk of melting permafrost. But as for riding on it, in July, the Daily Telegraph‘s Suzy Bennett wrote an article about her experience as one of the first Westerners to take that train, and she didn’t find it to be an overwhelmingly positive experience:

The Golmud to Lhasa railway boasts several achievements: the world’s highest railway station, longest mountain-plateau railway and longest tunnel. But by the time we arrive in Lhasa, it has acquired several less impressive records — among them the world’s most putrid toilet, humourless train staff and the sorriest-looking food trolley (dried donkey meat, anyone?).

Meanwhile, the first half of Ashis Chakrabarti’s report on the rail line appeared in Wednesday’s Calcutta Telegraph; it’s a rather dry read, and lacks the forthright bile that makes some travel writing such fun to read.

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