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A Guide to High Speed Rail in China

A Guide to High Speed Rail in China

TripBlog
Jan 19, 20213610

Chinese New Year is fast approaching, and people all across China are getting ready, awaiting the start of the annual Spring Festival travel season known as Chunyun (春运). Lasting 40 days, Chunyun is the travel period associated with Chinese New Year celebrations, one of the most important holidays on the Chinese calendar. During this period, the largest annual human migration takes place as hundreds of millions of people travel mostly from cities along China’s coasts to family homes throughout the country. It is certainly an event unlike anything else in the world. Supporting this massive holiday rush is China’s rapidly expanding high speed railway network, which, over the past 15 years, has become the world’s largest and most used.

Table of Contents

Booking High Speed Trains in China
1: Select a destination and departure date
2: Select a preferred departure or arrival time
3: Select a ticket class
4: Enter your personal information and select a seat
5: Submit payment
Riding High Speed Trains in China
Arriving at the Station
Inside the Station
On the Train
Final Things to Keep in Mind
Get Started Today
A Guide to High Speed Rail in China

High-speed trains are a great way to travel in China. Below, discover some "Trip Tips" for making the most of your next adventure on China's rails. With features like easy purchase, easy seat selection, and easy check-in, Trip.com will have you riding the rails in no time flat. Now that many high speed lines no longer require paper tickets, it’s even easier to get out there and discover the amazing sights and sounds in this vast country. All aboard!

Booking High Speed Trains in China

A Guide to High Speed Rail in China

Since its introduction in 2007, high-speed rail in China, which operates under the somewhat awkward name China Rail High-speed (CRH), has blossomed into the world's longest and most extensively used high-speed railway network. Getting a ticket on a CRH train is exceedingly easy, especially when you book with Trip.com. Offering customer-friendly services like easy purchase, easy seat selection, and easy check-in, Trip.com is your one-stop-shop for all your CRH booking needs. We've simplified the process so much that the biggest challenge now is deciding where to go. If you're having trouble making that decision, take a look at some of our China travel guides and recommendations of places to visit.

A Guide to High Speed Rail in China

Once you have a destination in mind, getting your tickets is a cinch. Just follow the simple 5-step process and you’ll be on your way:

1: Select a destination and departure date

A Guide to High Speed Rail in China

2: Select a preferred departure or arrival time

A Guide to High Speed Rail in China

3: Select a ticket class

A Guide to High Speed Rail in China

4: Enter your personal information and select a seat

A Guide to High Speed Rail in China

5: Submit payment

A Guide to High Speed Rail in China

Booking CRH tickets requires a valid identity document such as a passport, Mainland China ID card, or a Mainland Travel Permit for Hong Kong, Macau, or Taiwan Residents. When booking, look for the "E-ticket" designation. On lines supporting e-tickets, your booking is tied to your identity document, which is all you need to access the railway station and board your train.

A Guide to High Speed Rail in China

If e-tickets are not available, you will need to pick up your physical tickets from the railway station ticketing office ahead of time. This process can be a bit chaotic during peak travel periods so make sure you allot enough time to get to the station and get your tickets. If your reservation requires paper tickets, consider going to the station a day early to pick them up ahead of your scheduled departure. Unless you have a Mainland China ID card, you will need to show your identity document in person at the ticket window in order to pick up your paper tickets. Automatic ticketing machines still largely do not accept passports.

Riding High Speed Trains in China

Arriving at the Station

A Guide to High Speed Rail in China

High speed railway stations in China may not be located in the city center, so you may have to allot extra time to get to the station. When you arrive at the station, if you hold an e-ticket, you can proceed directly to the security check where you will be asked to show identification. Your identity document must match that used when you booked your tickets. In larger stations with multiple security lines, there may be a designated channel for passengers using a passport. Pay attention to the signs or ask the station personnel where to go. Automatic entrance gates still largely do not accept passports or may fail to read them properly. Look for the specific lane with an actual attendant if you’re in a hurry. If you do not have an e-ticket, you will need to pick up your paper ticket (see above). In most stations, the ticketing counter is located outside the security area. You will not be allowed into the station proper unless and until you have your ticket.

Inside the Station

A Guide to High Speed Rail in China

Once you’re inside, find the departure board and verify your gate. It may be printed on your ticket; however, it’s always a good idea to check. Gates sometimes change without warning. If you’re traveling during major holidays, expect railways stations to be crowded. Like really crowded! When boarding, you may be asked again to show ID and/or your ticket (or e-ticket) in order to access the platform.

A Guide to High Speed Rail in China

If you’re departing from an originating station, chances are the train will already be on the platform and you can walk directly to your assigned carriage. In other instances, you will need to find the marker showing where your carriage will stop when the train arrives. At intermediate stations, trains may only stop for a few minutes so it helps to already be where you need to be.

Deposit your large luggage at the head of the carriage if there’s room and proceed to your seat. Smaller bags will fit overhead or under your seat. Newer high speed trains tend to have electrical outlets or USB-A plugs located in the seats for charging your devices. This is not a guarantee, however, so you may want to carry a portable battery pack on longer trips.

On the Train

A Guide to High Speed Rail in China

High speed trains in China are remarkably stable and comfortable. You don't tend to get the rocking motion sometimes experienced on standard lines. Train staff will walk through periodically offering a range of snacks and beverages for purchase. WeChat or Alipay are the most commonly used payment methods now, though cash is still accepted as long as you don't need too much change. On longer journeys you may have access to a dining car, or train staff will advertise meals for order. This is normally some sort meat or fish with rice or noodles and a couple small side items. Think standard cafeteria food. It tends to be okay as far as these things go. More experienced train riders pack their own snacks or instant noodles. It's rare to find a train in China that doesn't offer hot water for tea or instant noodles. If you didn't buy anything before arriving at the station, there will normally be a convenience store inside the waiting area where you can stock up on provisions. It's a good idea to at least buy a bottle of water.

Final Things to Keep in Mind

A Guide to High Speed Rail in China

China has gone to considerable lengths in combating COVID-19. In anticipating the increased travel volumes expected during Chunyun, national railway authorities have announced changes to general policies designed to better accommodate local pandemic control measures. These include the following:

  • The presale period for railway tickets has been adjusted down to 15 days. Tickets for train journeys will now go on sale only 15 days prior to the departure date.
  • Tickets for journeys on February 12, 2021, or after, will go on sale no sooner than January 29, 2021.
  • In the event trains are cancelled due to pandemic control measures, customers can expect prompt refunds issued in conjunction with national railway authorities.

You can find more information about booking and ticket cancellation policies here.

Get Started Today

A Guide to High Speed Rail in China

New advancements like e-ticketing and the helpful services offered by Trip.com make high speed rail travel in China easy. With the approach of Chinese New Year, there is all the more reason to take advantage of high speed rail to visit the places you’ve always longed to go. As you make your preparations this year, know that at Trip.com we are working hard to bring you the smoothest and most reliable service possible.

Log on to Trip.com today and start planning your Chinese New Year vacation. Don’t wait until the last minute. Get started today. Book a train >>

Disclaimer: This article has been used directly from the Qingqi Qiu Platform, the copyright belongs to the original author. If there is any discrepancy with the copyright please contact us directly and we will immediately delete the content.Index for Network Information Infringement Protection
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