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How to Change and Cancel Train Tickets in China

Written by FabioUpdated Jan. 23, 2024

Train tickets can be changed or cancelled before departure if you have changed your plan or made a mistake. You can change the departure date, departure time, arrival station, train number and seat / sleeper class. The departure station cannot be changed. A new ticket needs to be bought if you need to change the departure station.

How to Change a Train Ticket

Tickets can only be changed if there are still tickets available. There are two ways of changing train tickets in China:

1. Change Train Ticket Online

Tickets can be changed online if you booked them online. If you booked the ticket with a travel agency like China Highlights, then the agency will handle the change for you. A service fee for changing the ticket will be charged by China Rail.

2. Change Ticket at the Train Station

You can also change your train tickets at the train station by yourself. There is a designated window for changing tickets, in Chinese: 改签窗口. Please provide your original ID certificate, which was used for the booking process, along with the ticket booking number to the staff, they will make the change for you. If you authorize someone else to handle this matter on your behalf, the railway staff may also require the person's original ID certificate.

Ticket officeTicket office

Policy for Changing Tickets

  • If you make the change more than 48 hours before departure: You can change to any other train and any other date. 5% of the ticket fare will be charged by China Railway for changing tickets. 
  • If you make the change less than 48 hours before departure: You can change to any other train before or on your departure date. 10%-20% of the ticket fare will be charged by China Railway for changing tickets.
  • If you make the change after the train has departed: You can change to other trains on your departure date. But tickets can only be changed at the departure station written on your e-ticket.

Please note:

1. If the original seat class is fully booked, and you need to change to a higher class, you need to pay the price difference in cash (RMB only) at the counter. If you need to change to a lower seat-class, the price difference will be refunded to you.

2. The ticket can be changed only once at the train station. If you need to change the ticket for multiple times, you need to cancel the ticket and purchase a new one.

How to Cancel a Train Ticket

There are also two ways of cancelling train tickets in China – cancel the ticket online or at a train station by yourself.

Windows for cancelling train ticketsWindows for cancelling train tickets

1. Cancel the Ticket Online

Tickets can be cancelled online until at least 30 minutes before departure. As with changing tickets, the cancellation can be made online if you booked the train ticket online.

2. Cancel the Ticket at the Train Station

You can also cancel your tickets at the train station yourself. There is a designated window for cancelling tickets, in Chinese: 退票窗口. The passengers' original passports need to be presented in order to proceed with the cancellation. An amount of cancellation fee will be charged by China Rail. The rest of the money will be refunded to our account. You will get a receipt after cancellation. Please email us the receipt and we will refund the money to you.

However, tickets cannot be cancelled after the departure time.

Cancellation fees charged by the China Rail

Time of cancelling ticket Cancellation fee
15 days before departure No cancellation fee
More than 48 hours before departure 5% of the ticket price
24 - 48 hours before departure 10% of the ticket price
Less than 24 hours before departure 20% of the ticket price

Please Note:

  • International train tickets cannot be changed or cancelled after the tickets have been issued.
  • According to China Rail's policy, train tickets to and from Tibet cannot be changed/cancelled online. They can only be changed/cancelled at train stations with passengers' original passports.
  • If you book the ticket with China Highlights, please email us when you need to change/cancel train tickets. Our travel advisor will process the change/cancellation for you.
  • The cancellation fee my increase during special periods, such as spring festival transportation.

Know about our policy about changing/cancelling train tickets.

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