Though Xi’an is a very important city in west China, China Railway does not consider it as the beginning station of Tibet Railway like Beijing-Lhasa Train, Shanghai-Lhasa Train. As obvious as one could see in the following map, Xian-Lhasa train is more an integral part of of Chongqing-Lhasa railway, of Guangzhou-Lhasa railway and of Shanghai-Lhasa railway than an independent railway route.
Currently, there are three trains bound to Lhasa from Xian with their initial stations coming from Chongqing, Guangzhou, and Shanghai respectively, namely T222(Chongqing-Lhasa), T264(Guangzhou-Lhasa) and T164(Shanghai-Lhasa). And the return train is T266(Lhasa-Guangzhou)
Now there is no direct train departs from Xian to Lhasa, which makes the Xian-Lhasa train tickets booking more difficult than the starting train station to Lhasa. Therefore, we do not recommend tourists to arrange Xian to Lhasa train journey in their China tours, especially in peak tourist season like summer holiday
*** Despite its vital place as one of the major gateways from inland China to Tibet, Xian is not a city that all trains have to pass. Currently, there are only three trains (i.e. Chongqing-Lhasa[T222], Guangzhou-Lhasa[Z264], Shanghai-Lhasa [T164]) that will make a stopover in Xian en route for Tibet.
*** There is no train bound for Lhasa from Xian as the initial railway station. Yet, Xian serves as a crucial transit station for Lhasa-bound trains. Theoretically, tourists can buy a Xian-Lhasa train ticket and head for Lhasa. However, it is virtually impossible (especially during peak season of Tibet travel, e.g. May-October) for tourists to successful purchase the train ticket.
The reason is that the railway agency is prone to sell tickets to passengers who have longer ride than offer tickets to riders with shorter journey and cheaper tickets. If a tourist wants to travel to Lhasa by train from Xian esp. during the peak Tibet travel season, it is highly recommended to have a back-up plan, i.e. Going to Lhasa by plane.
*** In fact, Tibet Vista offers a better solution, namely tourists may first take a train or plane to Xining, the real starting station of Qinghai-Tibet railway and then take Xining-Lhasa train to Lhasa as many trains will pass Xining railway station, which makes it easier for tourists to buy train tickets.
*** Tibet Travel Permit is required to be checked if one travels to Lhasa by train from Xian. Do inform your travel agency to deliver your Tibet Travel Permit to the hotel you live in.