China has one of the biggest and busiest rail networks in the world with train links to almost every town and city. Chinese trains are a safe, comfortable and cheap way to travel around the country making a Chinese train journey an experience in itself during your visit.
Chinese trains generally have 4 classes on overnight and longer journeys:
Soft Sleeper – 4 berth compartments with 2 upper and 2 lower beds by night and converting to 2 sofas for daytime use.
Hard Sleeper – Open plan carriage with bays of 6 bunks (upper, middle & lower) on each side. On newer carriages hard sleeper carriages look similar to soft sleeper but hold 6 berths instead of 4. Hard sleeper bunks are reasonably well padded and bedding is supplied.
Soft Seat – Equivalent to first and second class seats on a European train. Soft seat usually has a configuration of 2 and 2.
Hard Seat – Although found on all trains this seat is used primarily on daytime short distance intercity trains and have a configuration of 3 and 3.
New high speed bullet trains operate between several cities offering train journeys at speeds over 300km/h. On these trains the seats are classified 1st class and 2nd class seat equivalent to business and economy on a plane. Ticket reservations open 10 days before departure for C, D, G or Z category express trains, but only 5 days in advance for K or T category trains. If the train you want starts its journey somewhere else and calls at your boarding station in the middle then limited tickets may only be available 2 days before departure.