Home China Train China Guide How to Change / Cancel Train Tickets in China

How to Change / Cancel Train Tickets in China

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 the following conditions apply:

  • You booked the train ticket online
  • You chose to pick up the ticket at the train station yourself
  • The paper ticket has not yet been printed

If you booked the ticket with a travel agency like China Highlights, then they will handle the change for you. A service fee for changing the ticket will be charged by China Rail.

Ticket officeTicket office

2. Change train ticket at train station

Train tickets need to be changed at a train station if the paper tickets have been issued. So if you choose to have the paper tickets delivered, or if you have collected the paper tickets at a train station, then you need to make the change at a train station yourself, with the original tickets and passengers’ passports.

Each station has a special window for changing tickets. You will find the Chinese sign “改签窗口” above the window.

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.
  • If you make the change less than 48 hours before departure: You can change to any other train before or on your departure date.
  • 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 paper 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. If you need to change the ticket after changing once, 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 ticket online

Tickets can be cancelled online until at least 30 minutes before departure.

As with changing tickets, the cancellation can be made online, only if the following conditions apply:

  • You booked the train ticket online
  • You chose to pick up the ticket at the train station yourself
  • The paper ticket has not yet been printed

2. Cancel the ticket at the train station

If you have got the paper tickets in hand, then you need to cancel the tickets at the train station yourself. There is a designated window for cancelling tickets, in Chinese: 退票窗口. The paper tickets and passengers’ original passports need to be presented in order to proceed the cancelling. An amount of cancellation fee will be charged by China Rail. The rest of the money will be refunded to you in cash, or returned to your credit card.

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:

  • 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.

Know about our policy about changing / cancelling train tickets.