China Train Service

Despite the short journey of of air travel, train is still the most popular means of transport to travel around China. It is comfy, punctual, modern, budget-friendly and extremely convenient. With the world’s longest rail network only second to America, China’s railway links almost every city and town across the country, including even remote locations. What’s more, a train ride allows you to enjoy charming and picturesque scenery outside the window, offering a completely different awe-inspiring experience that air travel cannot rival.

High-Speed (CRH) Trains

G, D, C Trains

China’s high-speed (CHS) trains are capable of reaching 200-300km/h. Due to their fast speed, frequent departures, state-of-art amenities and varying seat class equivalent of aircraft, high-speed trains are rivaling air travel as the top choice of business travelers to get around China where available.

There are three kinds of them. G-Trains are the fastest with a maximum speed of 300 km/h. It only runs during the day and ticket price is the highest. D-Trains are the most popular type of high speed trains. It has a top speed of 250 km/h and stops at a few stations along the way. C-Trains refer to intercity high-speed trains, operating between two neighboring cities like Beijing - Tianjin and Guangzhou - Shenzhen. Journey time is very short, so it has no sleepers available.

Seat Classes on High-Speed Trains

Normal Trains - Z, T and K Trains

Normal trains of China are identified by letter Z, T or K. With frequent stops, basic service and slower speeds than high speed trains, normal trains offer cheaper seating or sleeper options for budget travelers. Z-trains are often overnight express trains with few or non-intermediate stops. They are fairly modern and air-conditioned. T-Trains are the second best after Z-Trains, stopping at China’s major cities and large towns. K-Trains are the slowest with the most stops.


Seat Class on Normal Trains
From the cheapest to the most expensive, seat class on regular trains is divided into four categories, including hard seat, soft seat, soft sleeper, and deluxe soft sleeper.



How to Buy a Train Ticket in China

Prerequisite: You need a valid ID certificate when purchasing a train ticket in China, like passport for foreign travellers or mainland travel permit for Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan passengers.


Once your travel itinerary is set, there are a couple of ways to buy your ticket. Online booking at China Railway website (12306.cn) is the most convenient way. You can check ticket availability whenever and wherever possible, then choose suitable trains, departure date, seat class and forward the payment. While so far, the website hasn’t had an English version yet. Reservation via telephone (95105105) is available, but ticket needs to be collected at a train station within 24 hours. Also there is a Chinese system only. Or you can go to railway station to buy your ticket. Be aware there might be long queues and tickets may sell out in peak seasons.

Tips on Train Travel Rush

First and foremost, try to avoid train travel during holidays if at all possible, including Chinese Spring Festival, National Holiday, Labor Day, Mid-autumn Festival, etc. During these periods, millions of Chinese travel back to their hometowns or take their vacations in popular tourist cities, and train is their top choice of transportation method. So it is rather difficult to get a ticket, especially for long-distance trips or popular routes departing from Beijing, Shanghai, or Guangzhou. Moreover, it would be an unpleasant experience to travel when rail stations and seat carriages are overcrowded with passengers.

If unavoidable, then book your ticket as early as possible. At present, most train tickets can be purchased 60 days before departure date on China Railway website or by telephone, and 58 days in advance at railway stations.

Xian ANZ International Travel Service Co., Ltd.