Chinese trains: Frequently asked questions

In this section of our site, you will find questions that we are frequently asked about Chinese trains and some general answers to them.

We try to ensure that information contained in this section is accurate and up to date, however if you don't find what you are looking for here or have specific questions, please contact us, and we will be happy to help.

Alternatively, if you already know what you are looking for, you can book your trains directly online with us:

Are Chinese trains safe?

China’s new high-speed rail network is considered to be one of the safest in the world. Since the unveiling of the new Chinese high-speed rail system, China’s rail accident records have diminished to an all-time low with only one fatal accident being reported caused by an electrical fault as the result of a lightning strike. Significant progress has also been made with on-board safety. Many sleeper trains, especially the later models, include lockers and compartments with electronic locks that can only be accessed using a designated key pass.

Are Chinese trains on time?

High-speed trains are around 99% on time and will only be late in rare circumstances. Standard domestic trains are late more often, although you should still expect these to be on time.

What are Chinese trains like?

Many Chinese trains use German designs and are therefore not that much different to European trains. High-speed trains will often include rows of 2 and 3 which is slightly different to the rows of 2 only on domestic trains in the UK, while sleeper trains usually have 2 or 4 berth compartments. New Chinese trains will include a buffet car and some sleeper trains also have purpose-made restaurant car with seating as well as a designated wash car.

What is the luggage allowance on Chinese trains?

According to official train regulations, each adult passenger is allowed 20kg of luggage and children can have 10kg, although Luggage is rarely checked. Most luggage can be stored in the overhead compartment above your seat, while larger suitcases can be placed at the end on of the carriage in the luggage container.

Can you smoke on Chinese trains?

You are not allowed to smoke anywhere on high-speed trains and in public areas on standard trains. Where there are stops passengers can get off and smoke on the platform although it is important to remember that most trains will usually only stop for around 2-3 minutes.

Can you take pets on Chinese trains?

Pets are prohibited on Chinese trains, therefore in order to travel with your pet in China you would need to travel by car or plane. Please note, that pets cannot be taken in the cabin when travelling by plane and you would need a valid health certificate if travelling by car.

How expensive are Chinese trains?

Chinese trains are typically in line with European fares. Chinese domestic trains, especially those that use standard trains, are usually much cheaper than tickets for high-speed trains. For example, a standard second-class train ticket for the high-speed train from Beijing to Shanghai will cost around 553 CNY (£63) while a second-class seat for the same journey on a regular sleeper train works out to around 386 CNY (£44).

Do Chinese trains have Wifi?

This will depend on the train you get. Wifi is currently unavailable on most Chinese domestic trains although popular routes that use the latest high-speed trains such as Beijing – Shanghai will often have access to Wifi, especially if you are taking first or business class.

Are there disabled facilities on Chinese trains?

Since the 2008 Olympics, disabled facilities on Chinese trains has significantly improved, although you may still have difficulties with older trains. The new high-speed railway has been constructed with this in mind and has elevated platforms and ample space for wheelchairs on-board. There are also restrooms that are wheelchair accessible. Older trains have limited support, but it is possible to get help from station staff when boarding; disabled passengers have priority when boarding trains in China.

How many train stations are there in Beijing?

Beijing currently has four major railway stations that serve a variety of domestic and international routes, although a fifth station, Beijing East, is planned for the end of 2020:

Beijing Railway Station

Beijing Railway Station typically deals with domestic trains heading North, North-East or South, as well as interntional trains to Russia, Mongolia, Vietnam and North Korea. It is Beijing's most central train station and a short walk away from the Forbidden Palace, therefore this station is usually popular with tourists.

Domestic trains from this station include: Shanghai, Harbin, Shenyang, Tianjin.

West Railway Station

Beijing's West Railway Station caters to domestic train journeys going North-West, South-West and South. This is the main station in Beijing for trains heading to Hong Kong and can be accessed from the city centre using subway lines 7 or 9.

Domestic trains from this station include: Shanghai, Cheng Du, Xi'an, Hong Kong, Changsha.

South Railway Station

Beijing's South Railway Station is the largest train station in Beijing and it is possible to get most domestic trains across China from here. This station can be reached from the city centre using subway lines 4 or 14.

Domestic trains from this station include: Shanghai, Xiamen, Jinan, Fuzhou, Hangzhou.

North Railway Station

Beijing's North Railway Station is best known as the starting station for the Beijing - Zhangjiakou High-Speed Railway as well as for journeys to the Badaling section of the Great Wall of China. This station can be reached from the city centre using subway line 13.

Domestic trains from this station include: Yanqing, Badaling Great Wall, Xuanhua, Datong, Zhangjiakou.

What do I do if I lose my train ticket?

If you have an e-ticket or voucher you can reprint this should you need a hard copy. If you have an e-ticket and you haven't exchanged for your paper ticket, you can also simply reprint your voucher.

If you have already exchanged your e-ticket for a paper ticket, or originally purchased a paper ticket, and it has been lost or damaged you will need to pay a fee to have it replaced. When travelling late at night, the ticket offices may not be open, but station staff will try to accommodate you where they can.

If you require any help at all, call our 24-hour emergency support service on +44 (0) 207 100 7370.


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