Soft sleepers exist on most normal-speed trains(Z/T/K & Digit Only Trains) and some over-night D-trains.
Soft Sleeper Coaches, Compartments And Berths
The soft sleeper coaches on a train are usually in the middle section, close to the most convenient place on a platform for passengers to board. And the soft sleeper coaches are closer to the restaurant car on trains than hard sleeper and seat coaches.
There are 4 berths in a soft sleeper compartment, with two on each side. Soft sleeper berths are marked with numbers. Four numbers are for 4 berths in a same compartment, for example 1, 2, 3, and 4 are for the first compartment of a coach; 5,6,7, and 8 are for the second compartment. Among this numbers, the odd ones are for lower berths and the even ones are for upper berths (for example, 1 for bottom and 2 for top).
The size of the berths is 75cm (30 inches) in width and 190cm (75 inches) in length. It is wider than hard sleepers. The vertical distance between two berths is 95cm (38 inches). Passengers can sit straightly on their own berths, unlike the hard sleeper that passengers in middle and upper berths may be unable to sit straightly if he or she is taller than average.
Berths on high-speed over-night trains are wider and the sleeper back is adjustable for a more comfortable experience, if you wish to sit up to read or chat.
Soft Sleeper Facilities
1. Each soft sleeper compartment has a lockable door. It can provide a relatively private space for passengers and can help reduce the noise.
2. Each compartment has an air conditioner controller, a volume adjuster, a vacuum bottle, and a waste bin.
3. A socket is in each compartment. USB sockets are set above of each bunk on over-night D-trains
4. Each berth has a pillow, a sheet, a blanket, an individual lamp, and a hat rack. The pillows, sheets and blankets are cleaned and regularly disinfected. Besides these, On high-speed over-night D trains, there is an LCD TV for each berth, and also a wired headphone and bedside lamp
5. Boiled water tank, washbasins, and toilets are in two separate sides of a coach. Usually on normal-speed trains, only the Chinese style toilets are available. But on high-speed over-night trains, both Chinese style and western style ones are available.
6. Some mini seats are in the opposite side to the compartment door.
7. Inside Luggage closets are above the door.
Soft Sleeper Ticket Price
The soft sleeper ticket price on normal speed trains is very economic and close to or cheaper than the second class ticket price of a bullet train on a same itinerary . It is only 1.3-1.5 times higher than hard sleeper ticket price of the same train.
The soft sleeper ticket price on some overnight D trains is a little higher (about 1.3 times) than the price on the normal-speed trains. This kind of trains is actually an upgrade of the Z trains. For example, from Beijing to Shanghai, the price of a soft sleeper ticket for train T109 is 69 USD, while the soft sleeper ticket price for train D709 costs 74 USD.
The soft sleeper ticket prices for these high-speed trains are quite expensive, and sometimes more expensive than discount flights for the same journey. They do, however, guarantee a comfortable overnight journey as they are also known as mobile hotel. They departs in evening and arriving in the next morning on each Friday, Saturday, Sunday , and Monday. For example train G79 and G81 from Beijing to Shenzhen.
New Soft Sleeper
If the soft sleeper introduced above is "old-style", then we can call the below one "New Soft Sleeper".
New Soft Sleeper Class (berths parallel to the hallway) China’s new soft sleeper cars have already been put into service on for long-journey train travel route.
Unlike the old-style soft sleeper car, the new sleeper berths are parallel to the hallway. There are 2 rows of double-decker sleeper berths on each side of the hallway. The new sleeper class is more comfortable and provides more privacy.
There are no luggage racks overhead. Luggage can be put under the lower berth. And there are no seats in the carriage. Passengers, who take upper berths, can only stand in the hallway or sit on their own berths.
Deluxe Soft Sleeper
In deluxe soft sleeper coaches, there are two berths (lower + upper) in a private compartment, with a lockable door. A sofa, a wardrobe, back cushions and slippers are all provided. A western-style toilet and washbasin are available at the end of the carriage. Toilet paper is available, but it is suggested to bring your own toilet paper in case it runs out.