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China High Speed Train (Bullet Train)

China high speed trains, also known as bullet or fast trains, can reach 300 km/h (186 mph), or a top speed of 350 km/h (217 mph).

About 2,500 pairs of bullet trains numbered by G, D or C run daily connecting over 200 cities in China and covering 32 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 2017, China keeps the world's largest high speed rail (HSR) network with a length totaling over 25,000 km (15,500 mi), including 12,500 km (7,760 mi) of rail routes allowing bullet trains at a speed above 250 km/h (155 mph). The world's longest HSR line, Beijing-Guangzhou High Speed Railway, extends 2,298 km (1,428 mi), and is expected to run to Hong Kong in 2018.

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 250-350 km/h (155-217 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 CNY500.5/ 521.5, a second class seat China high speed rail ticket costs CNY553/ 558, 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 newly launched Fuxinghao. Fuxinghao, with its debut in June 2017, is now running along high speed railways including Beijing - Shanghai, Beijing - Tianjin, and Beijing - Guangzhou.

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 25,000 km (15,500 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 30,000 km (18,600 mi) by 2020 and 38,000 km (23,600 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

Inter-city High Speed Trains

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 38,000 km (23,600 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 modified on Nov. 15, 2018 -
Questions & Answers on China High Speed Train
Asked by Adriano Santi from ITALY | Nov. 14, 2018 02:59Reply
Train from HK airport to Shenzhen (Lou Hu station)
Tomorrow I'll arrive to HK airport coming from Italy. I would like to take the fast ride to Shenzhen.
Is it Possible? Can you tell me how to do? We need to go to Luo Hu Station.
Answers (1)
Answered by Darcy from AUSTRALIA | Nov. 15, 2018 00:24

If to Luo Hu, you may transfer to Hung Hom station and then take MTR to Lo Wu. After you go through the immigration, you wil reach Luo Hu.
Asked by Ignaz Hameetman from NETHERLANDS | Nov. 09, 2018 05:27Reply
Time needed before departing
How long do I need at the station for getting my ticket and find the train. Is half an hour before departure enough?
Answers (1)
Answered by gene | Nov. 09, 2018 22:22

One hour is better. Or at least 40 minutes.
Asked by nat stanton from AUSTRALIA | Oct. 30, 2018 16:35Reply
Trains from Hong Kong to Hanoi, Vietnam.
We wish to travel by train only from Hong Kong to Hanoi, Vietnam. Which trains would I need to get. Can we travel high speed train. Can we get business seats for all the journeys?
Answers (1)
Answered by Nellie | Nov. 01, 2018 01:51

There is no high speed service between China and Vietnam. If you want to use high speed ride as much as possible. You may go from HK to Guangzhou to Nanning and then an overnight sleeper ride to Hanoi with soft sleeper bed.
Asked by brian from PHILIPPINES | Oct. 24, 2018 01:43Reply
Is the ticket refundable?
Answers (1)
Answered by Andrew | Oct. 24, 2018 03:21

It depends on your route and the time you request for the cancellation. Usually at station, the tickets can be refunded with some cancellation fee.
Asked by Bernard Larkin from UK | Oct. 23, 2018 10:16Reply
Is the Beijing to Hong Kong bullet rain non Stop
Answers (1)
Answered by Hailey from USA | Oct. 23, 2018 17:14

HK is the 8th stop, there are other stopovers along the way.
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