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China High-Speed Trains

High-speed rail in China is popular for its fast speed, comfort and safety. It has greatly transformed Chinese economy and society. Since 2016, China has possessed the world's most extensive high speed rail network, making travel around China more convenient and effective. Because of this, China has been chosen by Lonely Planet as one of the top 10 countries to visit in 2018.

High-speed trains are designed for speeds of 200 to 350 kph (124 to 217 mph). There are three types of high-speed trains: G, D and C trains. The facilities and appearance of G/D/C trains are similar in that they are all new and modern.

Why Take High-Speed Trains for Trips

1. Fast

The running speed of high-speed trains is between 200 and 350 kph (124–217 mph). G trains (fastest trains) cut more than half the time off the duration of a journey compared to a normal speed train.

For example, the G3 train from Beijing to Shanghai only takes 4 hours and 48 minutes, the D321 takes 11 hours and 49 minutes, and a normal-speed train takes more than 15 hours.

2. Flexible

There are many high-speed trains running during the day (especially between popular cities), so you can choose the most suitable one according to your schedule. It's easy to cancel or alter, if necessary.

3. Punctual

better views on a train Chinese high-speed train

Unlike the high delay rates of airplanes and normal speed trains, high-speed trains have a high punctuality rate. This type of train is less affected by weather conditions or traffic control. It also has priority over a normal-speed train on the same railway line.

4. Convenient and comfortable

New and modern facilities on board make your China trip more comfortable. You can enjoy nearly the same service as on an airplane, and you can walk around on a train. What's more, you can use the Internet on a high-speed train without worrying about interfering with the train's signals.

Types of High-Speed Train

High-speed trains are designed for speeds of 200 to 350 kph (124 to 217 mph). There are three types of high-speed trains: G, D, or C trains. The facilities and appearance of G/D/C trains are similar in that they are all new and modern. The bullet-shaped trains are white.

facilities and comparison on three types of high speed trains

G Trains — the Fastest Trains with Speed of Over 300 kph

This category of train has a speed of over 300 kph (186 mph). The trains only stop at a few major stations along the way, and the ticket price is the highest among the trains. There are no sleeper cars on G trains.

high-speed trainsHigh-speed trains

D trains — Cheaper than G-Trains

D trains are the second fastest and are designed with a speed of over 200 kph (124 mph). This type of train is mainly used on the popular rail lines connecting major cities. Some overnight D trains have soft sleeper class.

C trains — Connecing Neighboring Cities

C trains are only run between a few neighboring cities, like Beijing–Tianjin, Changchun–Jilin, Guangzhou–Zhuhai/Shenzhen, and Guiyang–Kaiyang. Journeys are short and sleeping cars are not provided.

China’s newest type of high-speed train

China has developed a new type of bullet train – “Fuxinghao” high-speed train. It is now the fastest train in the world. “Fuxinghao” made its first appearance on June 26th, 2017. Currently, these fast high-speed trains are G1/G2、G3/G4、G5/G6、G7/G8、G9/G10、G13/G14、G17/G18, running on the line between Beijing and Shanghai. And "Fuxinghao" will be covering more rail lines between Nanjing and Wenzhou, Hangzhou and Huzhou, etc.

Compared to the old type of high-speed train “Hexiehao”, “Fuxinghao” is faster, safer and more comfortable.

What’s special on a “Fuxinghao” high-speed train?

  • WIFI covered
  • More space between seats
  • Each seat is equipped with 2 power sockets
  • Reading light is provided above each seat

Facilities on a High-Speed Train

  • A restaurant car and canteen bar are in the middle carriage of a train.
  • Free boiling is available at the end of each carriage.
  • fully air-conditioned: All high-speed trains are fully air-conditioned.
  • Adjustable seats allow you to sit comfortably during the journey.
  • A 220V AC power socket is available under your seat, so you don't need to worry about your phone running out of battery.
  • Chinese/Western-style toilets are available on each high-speed train. Toilet paper is available but you'd better take your own toilet paper as well, just in case.
  • A handicapped restroom is available, which can also be used by people with young children.

bullet train facilities

Types of Seat Class

Generally there are four kinds of seat classes:

four kinds of seat classes on high speed train

Business class is the most luxurious on high-speed trains, and the price is the highest. It is spacious, with two meters (6.6 feet) of space between the rows. There are three seats in a row, and the fully-reclining seats make your journey more comfortable.

Superior class is only available on certain high-speed trains. Each carriage has 16 seats — eight seats at each end. It is in the best position for sightseeing. Each row has three seats, as found in a business class carriage.

First class is recommended for travelers who want to experience a comfortable journey on a high-speed train, and don't want to pay too much for it. The price is cheaper than business and superior class, and the seats are wider than second class seats. Each row has four seats.

Second class is the most common and cheapest ticket class for high-speed trains. It's a good choice if you are planning a low budget China tour.  

See more tips about How to Choose between Train Types and Seat Classes in China.

Soft sleepers and deluxe soft sleepers are available on some overnight D trains, such as Beijing – Shanghai and Shanghai – Xi’an.

How to Buy High-Speed Train Tickets

you need passport to buy train tikcetsValid ID certificates are required to buy train tickets.

A valid identification document is required when buying a ticket and boarding a train.

  • Foreign passengers: Passport or Travel Permit
  • Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan passengers: Mainland Travel Permit

Buying tickets online with travel agencies like China Highlights is the most convenient. China Highlights make train ticket online booking available to you to save you time, inconvenience, and money. All inquiries will be handled by China Highlights' experienced travel advisers to ensure you get the best service. Search for the tickets that you want to buy at China Highlights' Train Ticket Service. Or download our China Train App for a more convenient service on your cell phone.

See more ways about How to Buy Train Tickets in China if you don't want to book your tickets online.

Baggage Allowance

The maximum carry-on baggage allowance for each passenger is 20 kg. The size may not exceed 60*35*35 cm (24*14*14 in), and the dimension should be less than 130 cm in total (51 in). The length of rod-shaped items cannot exceed 180 cm (71 in). Carry-on baggage in excess of the limit is subject to an excess baggage fee and must be carried on as checked baggage. See China train baggage allowance for more information.  

Four Facts You Need to Know Before Taking High-Speed Trains

Although high-speed trains have many advantages, there are some things you need to know before you decide to take one.

second class seats Second class seats may be too small for some passengers.

1. Seats may be too small for some passengers

If you have a large frame, you are recommended to take a first class seat. A second class seat is about 43 cm wide and it may be a bit too small to sit comfortably. Business class is the most comfortable type of seat but the price can sometimes be much more expensive than a flight ticket.

2. No price discount

The ticket price is fixed for trains — there are no discounts like there are for flights. But the prices for second and first class seats are usually cheaper than prices for flights.

3. Conductors don't speak English

conductorA conductor on a high-speed train.

Conductors on a high-speed train don't speak English. Therefore, it could be difficult when you need to order a meal or buy some snacks on a train. Those phrases may be helpful to you Top Chinese Phrases for China Train Travel.

4. Smoking is forbidden on all high-speed trains

Anyone who smokes on a high-speed train will be fined RMB500-RMB2000 (USD75-USD299).

Useful tips

train Chinese high-speed train

1. High-speed trains only stop for a few minutes at each station. So don’t get off the train until you get to your destination.

2. High-speed trains usually depart from a remote train station in a city. So read your ticket carefully and make sure you go to the right station.

3. It might be noisy on the train during peak season, e.g. summer holiday, Chinese New Year and national holiday. Skip second class if you don’t like too much noise. It is quieter on first class, superior seat and business class.

4. It is a good idea to bring your own food on board, since the food on the train is expensive and limited in choice.

New High-Speed Lines about to open

From - To Length When to open
Wuhan - Jiujiang 198km (123 miles) June 30th, 2017
Shijiazhuang - Jinan 319km (198 miles) June 30th, 2017
Baoji - Lanzhou 401km (250 miles) Sep 28th, 2017
Xi'an - Chengdu 519km (322 miles) Oct 30th, 2017
Chongqing - Kunming 265km (165 miles) Dec 30th, 2017
Lanzhou - Chongqing 1080km (670 miles) Dec 30th, 2017
Xining - Chengdu 1068km (660 miles) 2018
Baotou - Yinchuan 546km (339 miles) 2018
Guangzhou – Hong Kong 180km (112 miles) 2018

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Author: Kelly

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