China by Rail : FAQs

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Frequently Asked Questions

Should I buy my tickets before I travel?

Yes, it's important to purchase tickets prior to your departure from Australia so you can avoid trains being fully occupied. This is quite common during the peak season.

How far in advance can I book?

Reservations for trains in China open 30 days prior to departure. 

When are the busy travel periods?

Rail tickets are in high demand in China, especially around several festivals, such as Chinese New Year and National Day, school holidays. Peak seasons include: January, February, end of April to early of May, end of September to early of October, and end of December. We highly recommend that you purchase your tickets prior to your departure.

When do I get my seat numbers?

Once you receive your ticket, seat numbers are printed on your ticket where applicable. Rail Europe cannot advise seat numbers as passenger's pick up the tickets locally.

Are there luggage restrictions on trains?

There are luggage restrictions on the trains. The sum of the three dimensions (length + width + height)of each luggage must not exceed 160 cm. The maximum length of the stick-shaped luggage must not exceed 200 cm. The weight is limited to 20kg. The majority of trains have overhead storage racks. Please note that Chinese railways will assume no responsibility for any luggage in the case of lost or stolen goods.

Can I get off the train for a few hours, and then get back on later that day with another train?

No, you can't get on a different train with the same ticket. Each ticket is unique. It has the train route,
train number, departure and arrival times.

Can you book me to sit with my friends who have already got their tickets?

No, tickets cannot be purchased separately if you prefer to sit with your friends.

Is there a non-smoking section on the train?

Smoking is prohibited in the carriage. There is a smoking zone at the end of each carriage.

Are dining cars available on all trains?

Dining cars are available on most long distance trains. Normally, you can just walk into the dining car, sit down, and eat without a reservation. Most train services also offer mobile trolley services offering box lunches of local specialty Chinese food as well as snacks and drinks.

Can I pay for my meals/snacks/beverages with EFTPOS or credit card?

EFTPOS and ATM facilities are NOT available on the train. You must board the train with sufficient cash on hand for required purchases during the journey ahead. The train only excepts the local currency.

Where can I get railway assistance in China?

The best option is to contact our local office for assistance. Contact details will be provided before the


What type of facilities can I find at a train station?

Most stations are located conveniently in the heart of the city offering easy access to hotels and sightseeing as well as a range of services including restaurants, gift shops, telephones, post offices, book stores and information. Please note that there may be more than one train station available in some of the municipalities or provincial cities, such as in Beijing.

Are lockers and luggage storage available at all major train stations?

Most major train stations have lockers or luggage storage for a minimal charge.


Most major train stations have lockers or luggage storage for a minimal charge.