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China is now known to have the world’s vastest and fastest train network. Being possibly the most economic means of travel, train is flavored domestically and it is still highly likely to encounter ticket shortage during important festivals and national holidays. That being said, the railway system is not necessarily friendly to foreigners. Here are some articles that would help you understand what to expect for booking trains in China:
Choose between high-speed and ordinary trains in China.
When you read a ticket, please pay attention to the Chinese character and pinyin after a place name. Directions: north, south, east, and west are printed in pinyin on tickets instead of English, respectively Bei, Nan, Dong, and Xi. For example Beijing South Railway Station will be printed as Beijing Nan () on a ticket (see the second ticket below), Beijing East is showed as Beijing Dong (), Beijing West (Beijing Xi, ), and Beijing North (Beijing Bei, ). Please make sure you are going to the correct train station. How to Read a Train Ticket?
Taking a train in China is very different from in western countries. The article below may help make your journey smoother and more convenient.
Buying train tickets to/from Hong Kong is different from buying train tickets in Mainland China.
2019 Spring Festival Travel Rush: Train Journey Peaks
Published on January 20th, 2019
The 40-day Spring Festival Travel Rush period began on January 21, 2019. China Rail forecasts a rail journey peak on February 2, with the greatest concentration of passengers heading home for Chinese New Year. The return to work train journey peak is expected to be on February 10 (the predicted busiest day of 2019 with 550,000 journeys). After that, train travel will remain busier than usual for another three weeks, until about March 1. If you have to travel by train during this time, it is suggested that you arrive at the train station at least 2 hours in advance, as lines will be very long.
Kunming – Lijiang High-Speed Service
Published on December 30th, 2018
Since January 1st, 2019, Kunming – Lijiang high-speed railway has opened. Three pairs of bullet trains running on this route every day, cutting the travel time from more than 9 hours to only 3 hours! These high-speed trains operate between Kunming and Lijiang railway stations. Two of them will stop also at Kunming South Station.
The Chinese New Year Travel Rush in 2019
Published on December 22nd, 2018
The Chinese New Year travel rush in 2019 begins on January 21st and ends on March 1st. It is estimated that more than 400 million people will travel by train during this period of time. Train tickets for this Chinese New Year travel rush are sold since December 23, 2018, and will be sold out very quickly. If you plan to travel by train during this time, it is advisable that book your tickets as early as possible.
New China Train Timetable Effective from Jan. 5, 2019
Published on December 13th, 2018
China Rail will implement its new train timetable from January 5th, 2019. There will be changes in some trains' departure times, arrival times, and intermediate stations. Travel times between some cities will be shortened. A few new high-speed rail lines will be added to the national rail network, including Hangzhou–Huangshan, Harbin–Mudanjiang, Jinan–Qingdao, Jinan–Yancheng, and Huaihua–Hengyang high-speed railways.
The Harbin-Mudanjiang High-Speed Train Service is Scheduled to Begin By The End Of 2018
Published on December 3th, 2018
The Harbin-Mudanjiang High-Speed Railway is the northernmost rail line in China's high-speed railway network. Test runs on this route began. A regular high-speed service between Harbin and Mudanjiang is expected to begin by the end of 2018. After that, the travel time between these two cities will be cut from 4.5 hours to only 2 hours!