We had great trouble finding somebody who could book me a ticket independently (we were in Guangdong province - and tried calling Beijing) as all the agents wanted to offer a fully inclusive tour for between 5,000-7,000 Yuan. Finally we found an agent in Chengdu, www.dreams-travel.com, who could book the ticket and our Tibet pass very efficiently. They also run the very good Wen Jun Mansion Hotel, a recommendable, cheap place to stay. Chengdu is also the home of China's Panda research and breeding base so you can see the cuddly black and white creatures close while you wait for your train! Chinatripadvisor was pretty slow off the mark, not knowing much more than anyone else before bookings opened. Anyway our combined ticket (soft sleeper and Tibet pass) came to about 1,700 Yuan each in the end and off we went. Despite reading stories of altitude sickness we suffered none - and if the train was pressurised, we found the toilet windows open throughout the journey. The soft class accommodation is comfortable - there are western-style toilets - but the catering facilities are limited - a 44 seat dining car for a 15 carriage train! And not enough refrigeration for cold beer.!"