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By Train

Beijing West Railway Station, Beijing Railway

Beijing, the pivot of the national rail network, is easily accessible by train from all directions of the country. There are five large railway stations in Beijing, Beijing Railway Station, Beijing West Railway Station, Beijing East Railway Station, Beijing South Railway Station, and Beijing North Railway Station. Among them, the first two are larger passenger stations of domestic and transnational trains. These five stations have tracks running to most provincial capitals and major cities in mainland China as well as Hainan and Taiwan provinces. More information on Introduction of Beijing Railway Stations.

In China, traveling by train is rather cheap and safe, especially when your trip is long. Due to the broad territory of the country, the trains take more time of course, to cover the vast distances than do planes. It is best to ask for the timetable of your desired train before starting your journey. Long-distance trains and overnight trains are equipped with a dining car, meal less opulent and price higher than that in restaurants. Carts providing drinks, fruits, snacks, and other items for sale are pushed along the aisle, price also a little higher. The toilets will not be as clean as you would expect, and they can't be used at stations. Sometimes, there are sales persons selling small products like socks, keepsakes and toys, and they often give a lively introduction about their articles.

 Train Classes

In China, the passenger trains are always designated into different classes according to the speed, and these different classes of trains have varied train numbers. If a train has an odd number, it means the train will travel in the opposite direction of the capital; otherwise, an even-numbered train will travel towards the direction of Beijing. Besides, the train number is always prefixed with a Chinese Pinyin (Chinese phonetic alphabet) written in upper case to show the speed of the trains. For fast trains, they always arrive on time and are seldom delayed, except when there are inevitable and unforeseen factors. Ordinary trains and temporary trains are more likely to be behind schedule than others. When an ordinary or temporary train receives a stop signal, it will stop to make way for a fast train.

The chart below is used as an example:
Prefix Characters
Meaning
Explanations
D
Bullet Train, Electric Multiple Units (CRH) Train
Fastest
Z
Direct Train
Faster, few or no midway stops
T
Express Train
Faster, only stop in major stations
K
Fast Train
Faster 
N
Trains running within a certain region
Fast
No character
Accommodation Train
Stops at every stations
Y
Temporary tourist trains
-
A or L
Temporary trains
-

 Seat Classes

There are four standard classes of seats available, namely, the soft sleeper, hard sleeper, soft seat  and hard seat. The price of the seat will vary from the soft sleeper which is the most expensive to the harder seat, which is the cheapest. In the train, you can change your seat class to a higher class or to a lower class. The difference of the ticket cost will be charged or refunded according to the seat classes, and a service fee will be charged at the same time.

Soft sleeper: There is a 2-bed sleeper as well as a 4-bed sleeper in a soft sleeper berth, but the latter is more common. On each side of a 4-bed sleeper berth, there are two sleepers, an upper one and a lower one, and the price for an upper sleeper is cheaper. Hard sleeper: On both side of a hard sleeper berth, there are three sleepers, a lower one, a middle one and an upper one. The price for an upper sleeper is the cheapest among these berths. Soft seat: The soft seat carriage is more comfortable and less crowded than the hard seat carriage. Hard seat: Owing to its lower price, the carriage is often crowded and not as clean and comfortable as the other carriages. Besides, during the Chinese legal holiday, the summer vacation, and the Spring Festival, the ticket for a hard seat is always difficult to buy, and there are many people who hold standing-room tickets in the carriage.

 Buying Train Tickets

All train tickets can be booked at most 10 days in advance. Besides, people can buy long-distance train tickets for other large stations within 12 days in Beijing. If you buy tickets at the ticket offices instead of railway stations, you will be charged CNY 5 for each ticket as a service fee. Purchasing tickets on your own would be confusing and time consuming. You are advised to book your tickets via travel agents at hotels, though they will charge more, because of service fees. Beijing West Railway Station and Beijing Railway Station have special counters to serve foreigners and guests from Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao. Passports or other certificates are required.

In Beijing, there are many outlets selling train tickets, therefore, the selling of tickets runs out within a short time. It is best to buy a ticket as early as possible. The ticket offices are always marked by the Chinese characters '火车票代售处' in a very effective color scheme. Ticket scalpers are more active during the Chinese legal holidays, summer vacation and the Spring Festival. You would better off to buy tickets at the ticket windows or ticket offices to ensure that you have a legitimate and legal ticket for your journey.  

Station Hot Line Service
Beijing Railway Station
Passenger Inquiring: 010-51019999
Tickets booking: 010-95155105, 010-51834512  

Beijing West Railway Station
Passenger Inquiring: 010-51826253, 010-51826263, 010-51826273
Tickets booking: 010-51824233, 010-51824261

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Comments and Questions

It gives an excellent information, really inspiring any one can easily comprehend and follow the norms prescribed by Beijing Railway system.I really appreciate.

Reply11/7/2014 10:02:51 AMProf. Dr. S.T.R.Raja,   India

I read China's online that it is easy for foreigner to book train ticket from home country (Malaysia, my case) and then pick up ticket at train station but where? In my case I will be travelling from Shanghai to Suzhou, back later. TQ

Reply9/1/2014 12:41:39 AMSam,   Malaysia

Hinda ( Romania ) :9/2/2014 9:37:07 PM

Hi, just choose a reliable agency online like ChinaTour360 to book the train tickets . Then they will help you book a ticket (charging a little service fee). Upon getting to Shanghai, you can collect your tickets for the round trip with your passport at the railway station (ticket window) or any train ticket office in the city. Or you can ask the agency to deliver your tickets to your hotel. If you are interested, I happen to know the contact of ChinaTour360. Here it is: train@chinatour360.comMay help.

hi i want to ask how to get to days inn forbidden city hotel from beijing south railway station?
it's located in tian'an men square/ wangfujing avenue. thankyou

Reply7/22/2014 9:19:25 AMbenita,   Indonesia

Brain ( Canada ) :7/27/2014 3:46:25 AM

Subway is recommended. At the south train station, you can take subway line 4 to Xidan. Then transfer to suwbay line 1 to get off at Tiananmen Eaast. The exit B of the station is just 640 meters to ur hotel.

Hi, how do I get from my hotel, the Tianrui near Wangfujing Street to Terminal 1 of Beijing Airport.

I have to leave Beijing about 5.00am to catch my flight?

Reply6/19/2014 6:41:22 AMKevin,   China

Green ( Ireland ) :6/22/2014 5:10:00 AM

At that time, you need to take a taxi to reach the airport directly.
The shuttle buses and the subway trains are not in service in such an early time.

kevin ( China ) :6/28/2014 8:04:47 AM

Hi I found in fact the airport shuttle leaves the terminal at Xin Da,just past Tiananmen Square at 5.00am

Hi, I'll be arriving in Beijing at 11 p.m. What transport should I take to Inner Mongolia Grand Hotel? Thank you.

Reply6/14/2014 11:36:08 PMCecilia,   Indonesia

Cara ( France ) :6/18/2014 2:06:49 AM

You will reach BJ by train or flight?

If you reach the city at BJ Railway Station, you are suggested to take a taxi to your hotel from the station. The distance between the station and the hotel is around 1km.

If you reach the city by flight, you are take the airport shuttle bus line 3 to BJ Railway Station and then take a taxi for your hotel.

Pls can someone tell me is there any train from dongcheng district (PEK) to Macau (MFM)

Reply9/14/2013 8:24:37 PMKwa,   Singapore

Marry :9/15/2013 6:53:39 PM

no, there is no direct train from Beijing to Macau.
the best way is to take a flight.

hi sir, i want to take my kids to mutianyu great wall by train from kerry centre hotel. how can i go there. thanks

Reply6/8/2013 5:28:49 AMirfan,   Pakistan

Betty :6/8/2013 6:17:26 PM

there's no train or subway connecting the Mutianyu Great Wall, but you can walk south along the Jintong East Road in front of the hotel to Guomao subway station. Take subway line 1 to Jianguomen stationa and change to line 2 and then get off at Dongzhimen station. Leave the station from Exit H and walk east along the road for about 270 meters and then turn left onto the Dongzhimenwaixiejie, and then walk for another 300 meters, you will find the Dongzhimen bus station. there you can take bus No. 867 directly to Mutianyu Great Wall. please note that the bus runs at 07:00 and 08:30, and gets back to the city from the great wall at 14:00 and 16:00.

hi
will you please tell me which railway station is near to Beijing airport(capital international)

Reply5/5/2013 3:39:40 AMsiddiq,   Pakistan

Rita :5/9/2013 7:23:36 PM

the railway stations are a little far from the airport, but you can take airport shuttle bus or subway to the railway stations.

Can i get the available trian schdule for 7th and 8th April 2013, from Guangzhou to Beijing train station and at what cost. thank you

Reply3/30/2013 2:57:04 AMAKEEM,   Nigeria

David :4/1/2013 6:54:06 PM

yes, you can check at http://www.beijingtrip.com/china-train/

We will arrive at Beijing airport.
(1) How do we get from the airport to Beijing South Railway Station
(2) Do I need to prepurchase a ticket to Tanggu? Do I have to book on a particular train or can I take the first to go after my arrival?
(3) How do I go from the Tanggu Station to the Tianjin cruise terminal. Will there be taxi's large enough for 4 pax with luggage?

Reply12/29/2012 3:06:24 AMFred,   Australia

Steven :12/29/2012 6:41:03 PM

1. please take airprot shuttle bus line 10 whose terminus is Beijing south railway station.
2. I advise you book the trian tickets in advance to smooth your trip.
3. yeah, taxi should be convenient for you if you take luggage. One taxi can carry 4 passengers. The luggage can be put in the trunk. Please don't worry.
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