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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.
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!
Hainan Island High-Speed Railway Starts Using E-Tickets
Published on November 26th, 2018
From November 22th, 2018, passengers who take Hainan Island high-speed trains don't need to use paper tickets, and can use e-tickets instead. Chinese travelers may swipe their ID card or travel permit to enter stations and board trains. Train station staff can also scan a passenger’s e-ticket QR code or manually input a foreign passport number as the ticket check.
This eliminates the risk of losing paper tickets and the hassle of forgetting to take ID.
From November 11th to December 31th, 2018, No Tickets Will Be Sold for 52 High-Speed Trains Passing Through Shanghai
Published on Nov. 8th, 2018
During the period November 11th to December 31th, 2018, tickets for 52 high-speed trains passing through Shanghai will not be available for purchase. These include the trains from Shanghai to Hong Kong (G99), Shanghai to Guangzhou (G1301, G1305), Shanghai to Changsha (G1341, G1347), Shanghai to Guiyang (G1321, G1329), Shanghai to Kunming (G1371, G1373), and from Shanghai to Nanning (G1501), etc. Such changes are a result of changes to the operating plan of the high-speed railway between Shanghai and Kunming.