China Train Types

In China, trains are categorized by using different initials. They are G,C,D,Z,T,K,Y,L. Most train numbers are composed of English initial and Arabic numerals.

G stands for high-speed trains, C stands for inter-city high-speed trains, D stands for Multiple units trains, Z stand for direct express trains, T stand for express trains, K stands for fast trains, Y stands for tourist trains, L stands for temporary trains. If the train number is just four digits with no English initials, it means the trains are normal trains.

Normally, G and C trains are the fastest trains, D trains are not as fast as G Trains but fasted than the other trains. Speed: G&C trains>D trains> Z trains>T trains> K trains>normal trains

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Train Seat Classes

The fare of the train tickets varies according to the distance and seat class. The following are the classes of seat and sleeper of china trains.

The seat classes of high-speed trains

1.Business class seat

The business seats are only available on G trains and some D trains. They are the best seats on the train. Passengers could take a nap on the seat. The seats are usually behind the operation cab. Passengers may get a better view of the scenery on the way.

business seat


business class seat

2. Deluxe class seat

Deluxe seats,sometimes called VIP seat or super seat, are only available on a few high-speed trains. The seats of the deluxe seats are pretty much like the first class seats, but have better views.

3. First class seat

First class seats are usually four seats in a row. The seats are bigger and more comfortable than the second class seats. There is a small table at the back of each seat, just like which in a plane. The fare of the ticket is higher than the second class.

First Class Seat

4. Second class seat

Usually there are five seats in a row and these seats are very comfortable. There is a small table at the back of each seat, just like which in a plane. Second class seat is the lowest class in the high-speed trains  but with a preferable ticket fare. Most people would like to choose second class seats.

second class seat

second class seat

The seat classes of normal fast trains

1. Deluxe Soft Sleeper

Usually there are two berths, one sofa, a toilet in one compartment, only available on a few trains. There are doors for each compartment that can be locked.The bed items offered including a pillow, a sheet and a quilt. As the best class in the train, the ticket fare is higher than others.

deluxe soft sleeper

2. Soft Sleeper

Soft Sleeper is different from hard sleeper. It is more comfortable than hard sleeper. There are four berths in a compartment, two high and two lower. The bed is wider than which in a hard sleeper. The bed items offered including a pillow, a sheet and a quilt.  There are doors for each compartment that can be locked.

soft sleeper1


soft sleeper

3. Hard Sleeper

There are usually six berths in a compartment, i.e. two higher sleepers, two middle sleepers and two lower sleepers. There are no doors for each compartment. The bed items offered including a pillow, a sheet and a quilt.

hard sleeper

4. Soft seat

The seats of soft sleeper are more comfortable than the seats of hard seat class. The carriage of soft seats is not crowded at all because everyone has a seat. There will be no standing passengers. Soft Seat is available on some of the trains.

soft seat

5. Hard seat

Hard seat is the lowest class of trains in China. Hard seat is usually a bench for three or two passengers to sit on. There are no clear boundaries of each seat. Here “hard” is not really hard but just less comfortable than the soft seat. Recently, some trains have been upgraded. The hard seats of these trains are pretty much like the soft seats.

The carriage of hard seat is usually noisy and crowded. Besides, there are tickets for standing room for short-distance trip. The passengers who have bought the standing tickets are also stay in the hard seat carriage and the ticket price is the same as the tickets with seats.

hard seat_1

6. Tickets for standing room

Tickets for standing room are only available for short distance trip. These tickets are issued only after the hard seat tickets are sold out. The fare of these tickets are the same as hard seat in normal trains or second class seat in high-speed trains. The passengers are only allowed to stand in the hard seat carriage or second class carriage.

7. Platform tickets

Platform tickets are issued for people who would like to pick up or see off friends or relatives at the train station. CNY 1 for ticket fare. Sometimes the stations will stop selling platform tickets especially on peak seasons.

Book a Train Ticket

Related information about train travel

How to Take Trains in China?

How to Buy Train Tickets in China?

China Train Stations

How to Buy Train Tickets for Children in China

How to Collect Train Tickets

China Train Tickets Change and Cancellation

Train Travel Tips in China

Food and Drink on the Train

China Train Luggage Allowance

Train Travel Safety

China Train Facilities

High Speed Trains

Spring Festival Rush and National Day Rush

When is the best time to book a ticket in advance?

Train Travel between Major Cities


This Post Has 15 Comments


    I am a Greek retired school teacher 71 years old and can not walk for a long time. I am not rich. my bughet is 1.500 $ per month. Iwant to visit China.i will be alone i have all the time in the World. The time i want to visit is when there is NO or limited rain and also not very cold or very hot Will like to go by train to Tibet ,have a cruise on the Yangtsee river and the great canal,
    and visit other interesting places. Can you please help me organize this one in a life time trip? THANK YOU

  2. graceli

    Our tour operator will reply you soon. Please check your email.

  3. karina

    i want to arrange for my parents going by train to Hefei – Anhui from Hongkong, can you arrange how to buy a ticket and how to get there, thank you

  4. Tham C.F.

    I am coming for the Yangtze Cruise on earlier June for 4 days 3 night Chongqing –Yihang cruise prefer budget ship can you recommend how to take the cruise and later leave for Shenzhen what are the comfortable transport by train or plane from Yihang to Shenzhen or Guangzhou city. How much the Yangtze cruise prefer three star enough.

  5. SS.ONG

    Hi, I want to travel from Kunming to Dalian, can you advice what is the train map to get to Dalian. Please advice.

  6. Fernando

    Hola: voy a ir a Hong kong para fin de año llegaría el 31 de Diciembre de 2017 y el 02 de Enero 2018 viajo a Beijing, somos 3 adultos, pienso quedarme 4 noches y me gustaría conocer Xian, para ver las esculturas de terracota, quisiera que me asesoren para realizar éste viaje.
    Atentamente Fernando

  7. Greg Pitman

    In Shanghai on the Metro trains: – Can you buy a one day ticket which allows you to travel on all Metro lines? And is there a multi-day ticket, say for 2 or 3 days of travel on Metro lines in Shanghai?
    Thank you

  8. graceli

    There are metro tickets for 24 hours and 72 hours. The tickets can be bought at the metro station.


    We want to take the fast overnight sleeper train from Kowloon to Shanghai in August 2017, returning the same month. Are round-trip tickets cheaper? On what days does this train run in each direction? Can we get a Deluxe Soft Sleeper compartment for TWO? Thanks for your response! We want to get the tickets quickly.

  10. graceli

    Sorry we don’t offer tickets booking service concerning Kowloon. You should probably buy the ticket at the train station.

  11. Ulaganathan

    Ni Hao,

    Wo Jiao Nathan, i am from India. In 2015 i visited China (Wuhan City) only as official Trip. i stayed there for 3 weeks, i enjoyed.

    Now i am looking for a tour to visit Beijing , Guilin and Shanghai cities, i am travelling alone from India, once i reach Beijing my Chinese friend will join with me. i am looking for a Budget and cheap package.

    Could you please help me


  12. michael green

    can you please help me if I take the high speed train from GUANGZHOU to HONG KONG is it a direct train DO WE HAVE TO GET OFF AT THE BORDER and go through immigration and customs and then get back on or is it straight through if so where do we clear immigration and customs to go to Hong Kong can you advise please

  13. graceli

    You don’t have to get off the train at the border. You will go through the immigration and customs first, then you get on the train to the mainland or HK.

Comments are closed.