General Suggestions

To guarantee a comfortable and fast train ride, high-speed trains are your top options. Those trains named after G, D or C, are high-speed trains traveling at speed of 200-350km/h and mainly operating at daytime maximum to 13 hours. They have almost the same facilities onboard and type of class including Business, VIP, First and Second Class. Few overnight D trains between Beijing and Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou/Shenzhen offering soft sleeper. Smoking is definitely prohibited on high-speed trains. The cost of seats and facilities differ a lot from each other. Business cost triple as second class, but all worth if you are planning a luxury trip as business class seats featuring two-meter space between rows, comfortable seats can be fully reclined to slightly angled position, more viewing options, power ports, premium food and more cabin staff. Firs class cost 1.7 times as second class, which looks like the first class seats on flights. Planning valuable and comfortable train travel, do consider second class which is also nice with acceptable seat space, power ports and the same clean environment.

If prefer slow pace, and not picky, you can choose normal trains named after Z, T and K. They are old type trains mainly serving long-distance for overnight trains offering almost the same facilities onboard, but differentiate from the stopping places and time of journey. These trains offer seats from Luxury Soft sleeper to soft sleeper, hard sleeper, soft seat and hard seat. For daytime trip within 8 hours, seat options is acceptable. If over 8 hours or overnight train, we recommend at least the basic hard sleepers. Please note that smoking is prohibited in the coach but allowed at toilets and conjunctions.

High-speed Trains

G Trains - the fastest, most comfortable and expensive train. Operating speed: up to 350 km/h). Seat Type: Business class, VIP seat, first class seat and second class seat

D Trains – Very similar to G trains, but travel slower Operating speed: up to 250km/h, serving the same routes of G trains and taking only 30 minutes to 1 hour more on the same journey. Seat Type: Luxury Soft Sleeper, Soft sleeper, first class seat and second class seat

C Trains — Intercity Express Trains, generally between neighboring cities or only cities within a province. Operating speed: up to 250km/h Seat Type: Business class, VIP seat, first class seat and second class seat

G Trains

Seat type of High-speed trains

Business class seats – only available in certain G trains. There are the most luxurious ones on high-speed trains featuring two-meter space between rows, comfortable seats can be fully reclined to slightly angled position, more viewing options, power ports, premium food and more cabin staff. It is a nice choice for luxury travel to enjoy most-likely first class service of flight and landscape view over China.
Seat Type: 2+1 or 1+1, seat number A,C(aisle), F or A(aisle),, F.

Business Class Seats

Superior or VIP seats – exclusive area for VIP, spacious, quiet and comfortable. Seats are reclining. It is only available in certain G trains, with 16 seats on the train (usually 8 seats in each end).
Seat Type: 2+1, seat number A, C(aisle), F

Superior Class Seats

First class seat – with two seats on each side of the aisle. Seats on G, D trains can be reclined 180 degree to let passengers in two rows sitting face to face. Wheelchair is accessible. Enjoy more space than second class seat.
Seat Type: 2+2 seat type, seat number: A,C(aisle), D,F

First Class Seats

Second class seat - with three seats on one side and two seats on the other side. Price is about 80% of first class seat. Recommend for a taste of high-speed trains and save budget.
Seat Type: 3+2 seat type, seat number: A,B,C(aisle), D,F

Second Class Seats

Soft Sleeper (D trains) – available on every overnight D trains, with four bunks in each enclosed compartment. Better than that on normal K, T, Z trains, it is equipped LCD TV for each bunk, air controls etc.
Seat Type: 2+2 seat type, seat number -1 lower, 2 upper, 3 lower, 4upper; Each bunk is 80cm wide and 190cm long.

Soft Sleeper of D Trains Soft Sleeper of D Trains Soft Sleeper of D Trains

Luxury Soft Sleeper (D trains) – available on certain overnight D trains (Shanghai – Guangzhou, Shanghai – Xian, by Nov, 2016). Each cabin has two bunks (upper and lower) on one side and a sofa on the other side. Bed is 80cm wide and 190cm long with quality beddings. Private toilet or even shower on some of the trains.
Seat Type: 1+1 seat type, seat number -1 lower, 2 upper

Luxury Soft Sleeper of D Trains

Trains running at normal speeds

Z - Express Overnight Sleepers (traveling up to 160 km/h), only serving main cities, such as Beijing, Shanghai, Xi'an, Wuhan, Shenzhen, as well as Hangzhou and Ningbo.

T - Express Train in conventional railways (traveling up to 140 km/h), with stops limited to the major cities and some junctions.

K - Fast Train (travelling 120-140 km/h), with more stops then T trains. Please note that K Trains are less comfortable than all mentioned above. Air-conditioning is available but not always on. It is more likely to delay as it make ways to the above mentioned trains if necessary.

Number Trains - Slowest train (travelling 100km/h, stopping at ALL stops). It stops at every stations along the way including county and towns. It offers that same type of seats as Z, K, T trains but sleepers are rare. It less comfortable than all the other kinds of trains and not many operated over China.

K Trains K Trains

Seat Type of Z,T,K and Number Trains

Luxury Soft Sleeper – available on many overnight trains. Each en-closed cabin has two bunks (upper and lower) on one side and a sofa on the other side. Bed is 80cm wide and 190cm long with quality beddings. Private toilet is not available.
Seat Type: 1+1 seat type, seat number -1 lower, 2 upper

Soft sleeper –Each compartment enclosed with four bunks – upper and lower, two on each side. Storage places are comparatively spacious. Strongly recommended for overnight and long-distance travel.
Seat Type: 2+2 seat type, seat number -1 lower, 2 upper, 3 lower, 4upper

Soft Sleepers

Hard sleeper - There are 6 bunks in an un-closed compartment. Vertical space is limited to about 60cm for the middle and upper bunk. Air-conditioning is available and smoking is not permitted. Hard sleeper might not be your top option if you can't tolerant the noisy and un-fastened door in the compartment. Seat Type: 3+3 in one cabin, seat number -1 lower, middle, upper, 2 lower, middle, upper

Hard Sleepers

Soft seat - The carriage is clean, air-conditioned and non-smoking and the seat is comfortable. It's nice for short distance travel.

Soft Seat

Hard seat - It is the cheapest way to travel by train in China. The carriage is air-conditioned and non-smoking as well, but it is not advisable to take particularly during festivals with crowds standing in the aisle.

Hard Seat

Further Tips

1. Seats cannot be chosen when booking online (e-ticket) or telephone, but it is ok to request if booking paper ticket.

2. Luxury soft sleeper or soft sleeper compartment has a door that can be fasten inside. It allows quieter space and privacy. But if you are not comfortable to share a room with strangers, China Rail allows to book the whole compartment when it is available.

3. For those alerts of smoking, the best choices are high speed trains on which smoking is definitely prohibited.