How to Read a China Train Ticket
If you are planning your first train travel in China, this article will address you on how to read and understand the critical information on a Chinese train ticket. Though you maybe unable to understand a single Chinese character, you could undertake a smooth train journey in China even just by yourself.
You are likely to get two different types of train tickets, respectively the blue one and pink one. Here are the slight differences between them when you board the train.
Blue Magnetic Ticket
The blue magnetic tickets are usually used to take high-speed trains. If you hold a blue ticket, you shall have them read by the automatic ticket machine when going through the security check at the entry or check-in before boarding. Just inserting the ticket into the machine, you will be given an access to the platform or exit.
Pink Paper Ticket
Pink tickets are mostly for normal speed trains, while sometimes the ticket for highspeed train might be pink if issued from an old station. There is no magnetic stripe in the pink ticket, so they cannot be accepted by the automatic ticket machine, but need to be checked manually by the station attendants instead.
The information shown on blue and pink tickets are exactly the same, including the departure station, arrival station, seat/sleeper type, train number, departure date, ticket price, name and passport number of the passenger, valid date, ticket number and two-dimensional code. In fact, you don’t need to understand all the texts on the ticket, and here we list the most critical information worthy of your attention.
- Departure & Arrival Stations
- Train Number
- Departure Time
- Seat and Berth Number
- Seat Class
- Ticket Price
- Passport Number and Name
- Check-in Gate
- Other Info You Will Not Use
Both departure and arrival stations are displayed with the largest Chinese characters on the train ticket, below which the English station names are shown (actually in Chinese Pinyin). There is one point you need to notice is that the station name is sometimes tailed with different directions including dong, nan, xi or bei because there are usually more one train stations in most cities. It is necessary for you to know some Chinese characters of directions, so that you will not go to the wrong railway station.
The number between the departure and arrival stations is the train number. It is a key info usually demonstrated on LED screens for you to locate the waiting room and boarding gate. The number is often prefixed with an English letter to tell the train type. G, D, and C are for high-speed trains while others like Z, T and K are for normal speed trains.
Read more about High-Speed Train Types
Different from the western writing habit, the departure date and time are displayed in an order of Year-Month-Date. For an instance, “2018年03月12日” refers to “March 12, 2018”. Most high-speed trains depart on time, while it is common to meet delay of normal speed trains. The arrival time is not given on the ticket, so you’d better to check it online in advance so as not to miss the right stop to debark.
The seat number is critical for you to locate your carriage and seat. For example, “5车12A号” means your seat is 12A in the carriage No. 5.
下铺: Lower Berth
Besides, both bullet trains and normal trains have diversified class of seats and berths.
二等座: 2nd Class Seat
一等座: 1st Class Seat
特等座: Premium Class Seat
商务座: Business Class Seat
高级软卧: Deluxe Soft Sleeper
软卧: Soft Sleeper
硬卧: Hard Sleeper
硬座: Hard Seat
The ticket price is also clearly showed in Chinese currency Yuan.
In response to the real-name policy, the passport number and name of the passenger would be showed on the ticket, but some part of the number and name would be covered with asterisks for your privacy protection.
The exact check-in gate number would be presented on some high-speed train tickets, too, which saves the trouble of finding the check-in info on the blurring LED screens. For example: 检票5: Check-in Gate 5 (boarding gate 5)
Ticket Number: Ticket Serial Numbers are printed in red on the upper left corner.
Station of Issue: The city where the ticket is issued is given since one could purchase tickets at a third train station except the departure and arrival station.
Advertisements: Advertisements in the dashes frame are for 12306 (official website for China train booking) and 95306 (for goods delivery).