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You may encounters questions when buying China train tickets during your train travel in China. The frequently asked questions below regarding ticktet booking, ticket collection, change & cancelltion, and train travel may be helpful to you.
How many days in advance can I book China train tickets?
Answer: China train tickets released 30 days before departure online. At train stations and ticket agencies, tickets go on sale 28 days in advance.
But you can book tickets with China Highlights more than 30 days ahead. Actually, it is recommended that you book tickets with us as early as possible, especially during Chinese holidays and peak periods.
What can I do if tickets are sold out for my route?
Answer: Even tickets are sold out for a route, sometimes we can still find alternatives. Please call us or send us an email to find out the possibility.
If tickets are sold out after you place the order, we will provide alternatives and suggestions if your first choice is unavailable. Payments are 100% refundable if we are not able to obtain your tickets.
Answer: E-ticket services are available for almost all high-speed trains (C, D, G trains) in China. You can check in with your passports at the manual check point to board the train, with no need to collect a paper ticket.
Please note or print your seat and coach number in advance before boarding a train with the e-ticket service, as you will not have a paper ticket to tell you where it is.
Currently, not all high-speed trains are available for e-ticket service. Please consult your travel advisor to confirm whether your train has the e-ticket service or not. Paper tickets are still needed if you take a normal-speed train (Z, T, K or digit-only train).
Answer: 1. China Rail usually gives priority to ticket bookings for the maximum journey length (from one terminal station to another). Sometimes, tickets for intermediate journeys are not released at first. If your tickets between intermediate stations are not available, it is suggested that you buy tickets for a longer journey to ensure a booking.
2. For some popular rail routes, such as trains to Lhasa, when ticket reservation opens, ticket scalpers hoard large numbers of tickets and sell them later at a higher price. In this case, it is suggested that you wait a while (sometimes tickets will be available a few days before departure).
Answer: No. One person can pick up all the train tickets by presenting the pick up numbers and all passengers' original ID documents like passports. This person doesn't even need to be one of the passengers.
Please note that the ID documents for ticket collection need to be the same used for ticket booking. Original ID documents are required for ticket collection. Copies of ID documents are not accepted.
Answer: Yes, you can pick up tickets for all routes at any train stations at any time after tickets have been issued online. There is no extra fee if you pick up tickets at train stations in mainland China. If you pick up tickets at Hong Kong West Kowloon Station, there will be an extra cost of about HKD10-30 per ticket.
There is one exception, if your tickets are issued on Hong Kong Railway website (usually refer to Hong Kong high-speed train tickets), tickets can only be collected at Hong Kong West Kowloon Station. In this case, you travel advisor will let you know via email.
|Collect tickets at the train station||Deliver tickets to your hotel|
|You need to spend time to collect paper tickets at the train station before boarding.||No need to spend time to collect paper tickets at the train station.|
|No time limit for when you make the booking.||You need to make the booking at least 4 days in advance.|
|No delivery fee will be charged.||A delivery service fee of USD9 will be charged.|
|Tickets can be easily changed or cancelled online if paper tickets are not collected.||Tickets can only be changed at the train station by yourself.|
|You can only select seats on high-speed trains.||You can select your preferred seats on both high-speed and regular trains.|
Answer: When there are enough tickets available, we will try our best to book your seats/berths next to each other. But we cannot guaranteed it since China Rail allocates seats/berths randomly. When there are only a few tickets left, sometimes you will be allocated to separated seats/berths, sometimes even in different carriages. Sometimes seats/berths will even be distributed in two carriages. In this case, you can change seats/berths with other passengers on the train. The train conductor can help you with that.
You can use the bilingial phrases below to ask for the conductor's help.
Chinese: 你好， 请问你可以帮我们把座位换到一起吗？
English: Excuse me, can you help us to change our seats together, please?
Answer: If you need to change or cancel your tickets, please contact your travel advisor. We will help you make change or cancellation based on the regulation of China Rail and our policy.
Tickets can be changed or cancelled without any fee before tickets are issued. After tickets issued, there will be a change/cancellation fee charged by China Rail. The amount charged depends on the time you make the change/cancellation. After the train departs, tickets cannot be cancelled, but can be changed to a later train on the same day.
Click to read detailed change/cancellation policies.
Answer: Yes, you can get off at any station before the destination on your ticket. In fact, sometimes the China Railways only releases tickets to terminal stations or main stations. Thus when tickets to an intermediate station sold out, we need to buy ticket to a further station or terminal station if you need to be on the same train.
For example, when tickets sold out for Datong – Pingyao section, there are always availabilities for Datong – Linfen section (Linfen is the next stop on the same train). You can still get off at Pingyao Station. Of course the ticket price of Datong – Linfen section is more expensive than Datong – Pingyao section.
Answer: Please leave at least 1.5 hours if you need to transfer to another train at the same train station, 4 hours if you need to take a connection train at a different station.
Please note, add 1 more hour to the transfer time above if your arrival train is an ordinary one. Since ordinary trains always delay.
Answer: If there are other trains with vacant seats available on the same day, you can go to the station’s change-tickets counter to change for a later train. If there are no such trains, then unfortunately, your ticket will be void. You’ll have to buy a new ticket for another day.
You can only change your ticket on the same day, at the departure city specified on the ticket. The ticket for the missed train cannot be refunded.
International train tickets, however, cannot be reissued. So if you lose those, you’ll need to buy new tickets, resulting in extra expense.
English: Hello! I missed my train. Can I change my ticket for a later train?
Answer: Smoking is not allowed anywhere on high-speed trains. If you really need to smoke, you can get off to the platform to have a cigarette when the train stops at a station. But be aware that high-speed trains stop at each station for a very short time (averagely 2-3 minutes). Please get back on the train in time.
On normal trains, smoking is allowed at the connection area of two carriages.