The world’s highest railway, the Qinghai Tibet Railway, extends 1,956 kilometers from Xining, capital of Qinghai Province, to Lhasa, encompassing a 20-hour journey. Nearly half of the Qinghai-Tibet Railway lies more than 4,000 meters above sea level and about 550 kilometers of this railway is laid on rock and soil that remians below freezing year-round. The railway tops out at a stunning 5,072 meters, with the highest station in the world, Tanggula Station, sitting at 5068 meters above sea level.
In addition, the Qinghai-Tibet railroad runs through the world’s most elevated tunnel, Fenghuoshan Tunnel, dug through permafrost at 4,905 meters above sea level. The route also features the world’s longest plateau tunnel, the 1,686-meter-long Kunlun Mountain Tunnel. The Qinghai-Tibet plateau is notoriously desolate and remote, situated in some of the world’s harshest conditions. The route traverses three mountain ranges, including the Kunlun, Tanggula and Nyainqentanglha mountains, as well as numerous rivers and lakes.