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China High Speed Train (Bullet Train)

China high speed trains, also known as bullet or fast trains, can reach a top speed of 350 km/h (217 mph).

Over 2,800 pairs of bullet trains numbered by G, D or C run daily connecting over 550 cities in China and covering 33 of the country's 34 provinces. Beijing-Shanghai high speed train link the two megacities 1,318 km (819 mi) away in just 4.5 hours.

By the end of 2022, China keeps the world's largest high speed rail (HSR) network with a length totaling over 42,000 km (26,100 mi). The world's longest HSR line, Beijing - Hong Kong High Speed Railway, extends 2,440 km (1,516 mi).

Top China High Speed Train Travel Routes:

Why travel by high speed trains?

1. Fast:

The present operational speed of China trains high speed type is 200-350 km/h (124-217 mph), greatly shortening the travel time. The duration from Beijing to Shanghai has been shortened from 15 hours to about 4.5 hours.

2. Punctual:

Different from flights, they are less influenced by weather or traffic control, hence able to arrive on time.

3. Convenient:

HSR trains are scheduled more frequently than normal ones and many of the high speed railway stations are reachable by subway, making a rail journey much more convenient than before.

4. Reasonablely priced:

Although China high speed train tickets generally cost more than a non-bullet train ticket, it is still cheaper than a flight ticket most of the time. From Beijing to Shanghai, a soft sleeper non-bullet rail ticket costs around CNY500, a second class seat China high speed rail ticket costs around CNY550, while the full airfare of an economy class is over CNY1,000.

5. Comfortable:

The carriages are much better equipped than the old-generation carriages, and rival the facilities of an airplane. The seats are wider and softer, the windows are bigger, and the washrooms are cleaner…

6. Safe:

The fast trains are operated by advanced technological communication systems to ensure passengers' safety to the uttermost.

Tickets on bullet trains are generally divided into four types - second class seat, first class seat, business class seat, and VIP seat. On a few overnight D trains, sleepers are provided, and sometimes standing room tickets are available when all seats are sold out. On some short inter-city HSR lines, China Rail Pass is available, which is a prepaid card for self-service check-in at a railway station.
Second Class Seat First Class Seat
Business Class Seat Seats Difference

China High Speed Train Types

The types mainly include the popularized Hexiehao and the new type Fuxinghao. 

Hexiehao (CRH)  Fuxinghao (CR)
Top Speed 300 km/h (186 mph) 300-350 km/h (186-217 mph)
Appearance Silver or white with blue belt Silver with red belt, or white with golden belt
Space 370 cm high; narrower legroom 405 cm high; wider legroom
Electrical Socket Standard type under the seats Standard and USB types beside the seats
Wifi Partially available Available on all
Types in Service CRH380A, CRH380B, CRH2, CRH3C… numbered by G, D or C CR400AF & CR400BF numbered by G or C

Facilities on these highballs are of high standard, similar to those on an airplane. The seats can be rotated towards the moving direction; the seatback can be adjusted to a wanted angle; each passenger is offered a foldable small table; electrical sockets are available; and it is even possible to use Wi-Fi.

More High Speed Railway Maps

Since the earliest high speed rail line, Beijing - Tianjin Inter-City High Speed Rail Line opened in 2008, China has developed a dense high speed railway network reaching 42,000 km (26,100 mi), accounting for 2/3 of the world's high-speed rail tracks.

There are mainly four north-south and four east-west trunk lines, and some inter-city lines, greatly shortening the travel time within China.

According to the plan, the high speed rail will reach 43,000 km (26,719 mi) by 2025. The network will include eight north-south and eight east-west trunk lines, linking all the big and medium-sized cities with a population of 500,000.

Major High Speed Rail Lines

Line Open Date Length (km) Speed (km/h)
300 - 350
Beijing-Guangzhou 2012/12/26 2,298 200 - 300
Beijing-Xi'an 2012/12/26 1,216 250 - 300
Shanghai-Guangzhou 2014/12/10 1,647 250 - 300
Shanghai-Kunming 2016/12/28 2,252 300 - 300
Xi'an-Shanghai 2016/9/10 1,509 250 - 300
Xi'an-Chengdu 2017/9/30 643 250
Guangzhou - Shenzhen - Hong Kong 2018/9/23 141 200 - 300

Line Open Date Length (km) Speed (km/h)
Beijing-Tianjin 2008/08/01 119 300
Guangzhou-Zhuhai 2012/12/31 117 200
Guangzhou-Shenzhen 2011/12/26 116 300
Shanghai-Nanjing 2010/07/01 301 300
Nanjing-Hangzhou 2013/07/01 249 300

Currently, 16 countries and regions worldwide have bullet trains running on their land, including China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, Turkey, and United Kingdom. The total length has reached 40,000 km (24,855 mi) and the speed varies from 200 km/h (124 mph) to 350 km/h (217 mph). China high speed train tickets are the lowest among all. 

 See Also:

High Speed Era in China Railway History  

Overnight Trains

China Train Travel - A Beginner’s Guide

- Last updated on Jul. 31, 2023 by Brenda Lian -
Questions & Answers on China High Speed Train
Asked by Elise from SINGAPORE | Nov. 25, 2023 02:39Reply
Baggage size exceeded allowance
If my baggage size exceeded 130cm allowance (LBH), and I want it to be hand carry with me from Shanghai to Beijing via high speed rail, is it possible?
Answers (1)
Answered by Kina | Nov. 26, 2023 22:11

Generally, there is no problem if it doesn't affect other passengers.
Asked by Nonthakorn M. from THAILAND | Oct. 31, 2023 20:47Reply
Do I need to exchange the e-ticket into the paper one at the counter before riding?
If we buy online ticket from Travelchinaguide or any other agent, do I need to exchange the e-ticket into the paper one at the counter again? If yes, can I exchange on the day before riding? Thank you.
Answers (1)
Answered by Harry | Oct. 31, 2023 20:49

No, you don't. You can board the train just by showing your passport.
Asked by james sample from USA | Jul. 28, 2023 17:30Reply
Disabled passengers get ticket discount or do seniors get discounts
Answers (1)
Answered by Emily | Jul. 31, 2023 01:22

I'm sorry but disabled passengers and seniors don't have any ticket discounts on the train tickets.
Asked by Stella from UNITED KINGDOM | Jun. 08, 2023 16:06Reply
When can
We are planning on travelling from Hong Kong to Beijing in late July, can I purchase tickets now through Travel China Guide which is more than a month ahead? I notice that the official ticket office (online and off-line) only starts selling tickets 2 weeks in advance. If we book tickets through Travel China Guide how does the purchasing and confirmation process work?

Thank you!
Answers (1)
Answered by Tina | Jun. 08, 2023 20:22

As I know, you can book the train tickets through TravelChinaGuide now. Once the tickets are released by China Rail, TravelChinaGuide will book tickets for you first time. After the successful booking, they will send you confirmation email and ticket info. Then on the day of travel, you can just get onboard with your passport used for making the order.
Asked by Jean from MALAYSIA | May. 18, 2023 19:20Reply
How many hours before scheduled time of departure can I buy the tickets online?
If I buy the tickets at the station, how much time do I need to have this done at the station?
Answers (1)
Answered by Robert | May. 18, 2023 20:50

The tickets turn unavailable 25 minutes before departure on the official website.

If you plan to buy it at the station, you are advised to be there at least 1.5-2 hours before departure. Please be aware that the tickets may be sold out at that time and you can only get a "standing" ticket.
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