Realize the differences of the trains from western countries

Remember that your train ticket is for a fixed date and time. You have to catch it on time. The train station may be crowded, noisy, smelly, have more stairs, require waiting in a long line to check in, not as clean as those in western countries, etc..

Preparation before going to a train station

Check your ticket departure date and time. Check your passports and make some copies, bring some cash separately, about CNY1000 per person, prepare a small bag for all your valuables (including passport and tickets) that you can take with you anywhere on the train.

Get to the right train station

In some cities in China there will be more than one train station. For example, there are five train stations in Beijing, four train stations in Shanghai, three in Xian, seven in Guangzhou and seven in Shenzhen.

To avoid going to the wrong train station, we will send you some useful information when deliver your tickets. Double check with the taxi driver if you are taking a taxi; get the correct map when take metros and double check with more than 2 staff in your hotel. Get to the trains station early; 1-2 hours in advance if possible.

Proper Luggage

High speed train (G trains), Bullet train (D trains) and Inter-city train (C trains): there is no extra cost to take baggage up to 20kg with the total width, length and height not greater than 130cm. The luggage rack is only about 45 – 50cm wide and 50 – 60cm high. However, there are shared closets on both sides of the carriage for big luggage, the earlier you get in the cabin, the more chances you will have to put your luggage there. Be aware, especially if you have any fragile items, that someone may put their luggage on top of yours.

Ordinary trains (Z, T, K, Y, S, L trains): there is no extra cost for a passenger to take baggage up to 20kg with the total width, length and height not greater than160cm.

Usually, the luggage weight limitation is not as rigid as that in an airport. If your luggage is not too much overweight, it is not necessary to check it.

Leave enough time for security check and ticket check

You can check and get in the train station waiting room at any time. Ticket gates open 30 minutes before the train departure time. Train tickets will be checked by machines or staff. We suggest that you should arrive in the waiting room at least 30 minutes before departure time. Less than that means you might miss your train. Check with your hotel staff if you are not sure when to leave for the station. Leave yourself plenty of time to get to the station remembering distance and city traffic. You should avoid rush hour. Keep your ticket for the entire journey.

Find the right waiting room

Waiting rooms are specific to different trains. Different lines of seats will be placed in separate areas for a particular train. You have to find the right waiting room and right lines of seats to sit. When you pass the security checking gate, you can find a big electric board showing trains schedule, cities, date, time and waiting room number. Go to the right one. Once you get into the right waiting room, you have to find the right line. There is a train status board showing your train number. Finally, you have to find your platform to find your berth. There are also signs leading you to the right berth. If you are confused, you can ask for help by showing your ticket. It is similar to finding the right waiting area in an airport.

Bullet trains and high speed trains only stop for between 1 and 5 minutes, time is very limited. Make sure you are ready on time and in the right place to board.

Long walking from a ticket gate to a platform

Luggage should be easy to manage (pack light if possible!) because you always need to walk about 6 minutes with your luggage from the ticket gate to the platform to board your train. In some old train stations you need to walk up dozens of stairs to get to the platform. There may be crowds of people and no escalator.

Find your carriage and seat

Your ticket specifies seat and carriage number. When you see the train, look for the carriage number or ask a staff member to show you the direction. Your carriage could be to the left or the right. It’s much easier if you can get onto the correct carriage from the platform.

Food on train and preparation

Food on a train is more expensive, limited choice and less tasty. You can prepare some food, fruit and drinks before heading to a train station. A dining car in a train often offers simple and plain Chinese style food without an English menu. A dining car is often at the carriage No.9 or No. 10 on a normal train and carriage No.4 or No. 5 on a high-speed or bullet train. You have to pay for your food because the ticket does not include any food. Although Halal food is available on some trains, it’s advisable to bring your own food just in case. Breakfast usually includes rice porridge, pickles, eggs, milk, steamed buns, etc. There are not many choices for lunch or dinner. Usually there is rice with fried vegetables, soups and noodles. There are better options in a high-speed train or a bullet train. Cost for a breakfast is from CNY10 to 25 per person, lunch or dinner from CNY 15 – 45.

About the toilet on the train

Squatted toilets are used in ordinary trains, while seated toilets are offered on high speed/bullet/inter-city trains. No toilet paper is provided on the trains, so bring your own.

Keep your ticket till you check out the station

If you booked a sleeper ticket, a staff on the train will collect your ticket and give you a plastic card. You have to keep the card because the staff will find you and exchange the train ticket with the plastic card before train reaches the destination.

Keep the train ticket with you as you are required to show the ticket while exiting the railway station, otherwise you have to pay the same amount of money to buy the same train ticket.

Take a bus or taxi out of the train station

For your safety, we suggest taking a bus or a taxi out of the station area but not in the station. Walk to a road and wait for a taxi which costs less than those in the train station area.