Sleepers on Chinese High Speed Trains

Sleepers are provided on some long-distance high speed trains in China with a journey time of more than 10 hours. Usually, these trains run overnight, allowing the passengers to lie down to sleep during the journey.

Currently, three types of sleepers are provided on Chinese high speed trains: traditional style soft sleepers, with four berths in each cabin; new style sleepers, with the berths arranged lengthwise along the aisle; and deluxe soft sleepers with two berths in each cabin.

Among the three types of sleepers, the deluxe soft sleeper tickets are the most expensive, and the new style sleeper tickets are the cheapest. 

Traditional Style Soft Sleepers: Two Double-deck Berths in Each Cabin

On an overnight high speed train, carriage No.2 to carriage No.15 are usually the soft sleeper carriages. These carriages are divided into 10 small cabins, each with two double-deck berths. Every cabin has a sliding door to separate the cabin and the corridor, to create a private space for the passengers inside. Each berth is 190cm (75 in) in length and 75cm (30 in) in width. 

Inside the cabin, a thermos is provided to allow the passengers to fetch hot water from the end of the carriage. On each berth, there is an LCD TV, a reading lamp, clothes hangers, a pair of disposable slippers and headphone prepared for the passenger. Passenger can also charge their electronic products by the socket on the wall.

Due to their privacy and generous space, soft sleepers are recommended for families traveling with children, or groups of friends.

Soft Sleepers on China High Speed Train

New Type Sleepers: Double-deck Berths along the Aisle Lengthwise

These came into service in 2017 and are only available on D311 and D312 running between Beijing and Shanghai currently. This type of sleeper is arranged parallel to the running direction of the train. This is designed with an emphasis on maximizing passenger comfort: passengers no longer get nauseous from sleeping in a position transverse to the running direction of the train. Each berth is 195 cm (77 in) in length and 75 cm (30 in) in width and includes a shade curtain to create a private space. Additionally, each berth has an independent exterior window. Inside the berth, there is a small rack for passengers to put luggage, and a small table to put things like snacks or a laptop. Passengers can also put their larger luggage under the lower berth. Each berth has a reading lamp with both warm light and cold light and a socket to charge their electronic products.

The prices of the new type soft sleeper tickets are the cheapest among the three types. It is recommended more for solo travelers.

New Type Sleepers on China High Speed Train

Deluxe Soft Sleepers: One Double-deck Berth in Each Cabin

This type of sleeper is on very few trains. Each cabin only has one double-deck berth to ensure a large living space for the passengers. Each berth is 200 cm (79 in) long and 80-85 cm (31-33 in) wide. The cabin also has a lockable door to create a quiet and private environment. Besides the reading lamp, clothes hangers, disposable slippers, headphone and other facilities which also can be found in traditional soft sleeper cabins, this kind of cabin also has a sofa, a closet and a private restroom with western-style toilet.

It is the most expensive and comfortable type on high speed trains. This type of sleeper is usually the choice of businessmen and couples with high comfort requirements and sufficient travel budgets.

Deluxe Soft Sleepers on China High Speed Train

5 Tips for Travelling on the Sleepers of Chinese High Speed Trains

1. The fare for some high speed sleeper trains fluctuate from time to time. The prices are usually higher on weekends, holidays and festivals.

2. Some of these high speed sleeper trains are not operated daily, but only every Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

3. A free snack-box may be provided to the passengers of sleeper carriages on a few trains, but it is normally not enough to satisfy a grown person. So, we recommend you eat before boarding, or take some food with you.

4. All sleeper berths come with a sheet, a pillow and a quilt.

5. Except for the deluxe soft sleeper carriages, the washrooms are at the end of the carriages and shared by all passengers in the carriage. Toilet paper is provided but it may not last, so it is recommended you bring some with you. No shower facilities are provided, but there are a few wash-basins for passengers to wash hands and face. Wash supplies are not provided either, so bring them also.

Why travel by Chinese high speed sleeper trains?

Though the overnight high speed sleeper train takes more time than flying, it still enjoys their own advantages:

1. It leaves more time for sight-seeing or working during the day.

2. It provides more moving space than an airplane and passengers can lie down to travel more comfortably. 

3. It runs steadily on land, so passengers do not need to worry about flight height, upper air pressure and turbulence.

- Last modified on Feb. 10, 2019 -
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    Be at the station in good time! (at least an hour in big cities) There are many steps to go through including: a. Pick up tickets in a separate ticket office maybe hundreds of meters away from station entrance and with sometimes patience-trying slow lines (the automatic ticket machines requires Chines ID it seems). b. Finding main entrance and stand in line for first ticket and passport check, machine security check, personal security check. c. Find your waiting room. d. Stand in line for second ticket check and entry to platform. e. Find your carriage in often very long trains and show your ticket to guard at each carriage. There are seemingly many ticket checks, but it means you never doubt you're on the right train and in the right carriage. The latter is crucial, you don't want to drag your backpack through several carriages because they will be crowded.
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