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How to Change a China Train Ticket

In general, a China train ticket can be changed once at any railway station in Mainland China, either it is a paper one or an electronic one booked on the official website of China Railway Corporation, 12306.cn. An e-ticket can also be changed on that official website over 30 minutes prior to departure. No document should be shown unless changing an e-ticket at the railway station, which requires the passenger’s ID certificate and ticket booking number. The earlier you make the change, the more choices you will have. 
 

Where can I change my China train ticket? 

In most cases, a China train ticket can be changed at any railway station in Mainland China, either it is a paper one or an electronic one. Usually, there are a few counters designated for the change at the station. However, when the train leaves, one can only handle it at the departure railway station of that train. 

Chinese Phrases Used at Railway Stations

China Train Ticket Change Counter
Designated Counter for Ticket Change
An e-ticket booked through 12306.cn can also be changed on that website at least 30 minutes prior to departure. If it is less than 30 minutes prior, it needs to be changed at the railway station. Online bookings of some popular trains also need to be changed at railway stations.
 

What documents are required for China train ticket change?

No document is required, unless changing an e-ticket at the railway station. In that case, your original ID certificate used for booking and the ticket booking number are required. If you ask someone else to handle it on your behalf, the railway staff may also ask for that person’s original ID certificate. A paper ticket will be given after the change.
 

What items on a China train ticket can be changed?

Allowed Change Items Before Departure After Departure
>48 hours ≤48 hours
Seat Class
Departure city
Departure station
Arrival city
Arrival station
Earlier date
Earlier time
Later date
Later time
Note:
1. The seat or sleeper can also be changed onboard if there is one available. The extra service fee of CNY 5 will be charged by the railway staff.
2. The group and joint ticket cannot be changed to others with different arrival cities, even if it is over 48 hours prior.
 

How much do I need to pay for the ticket change?

 Price of the changed ticket higher than the original one: price difference
 Price of the changed ticket the same with the original one: none
 Price of the changed ticket lower than the original one: service fee; the price difference will be returned to you
 

China Train Ticket Change Service Fee by China Railway Corporation

Changing time before departure Change fee by China Railway Corporation
15 days - 48 hours 5% of the price difference, at least CNY2
48 hours - 24 hours 10% of the price difference
Within 24 hours 20% of the price difference

If you book through an agency and ask the agency to handle the change issues, they will usually charge an extra amount of service fee. 
 

How to pay & get the return

If the original ticket is paid by cash, the price difference will be charged or returned by cash. 
 

If the original one is paid by bank card or online payment tool:
1. Changed ticket fare is higher than the original one: one should pay full fare of the changed ticket through that same bank card or online payment tool and the fare of the original ticket will be
returned to the original payment account;
2. Changed ticket fare is lower than the original one: the price difference minus service fee will be returned to your original payment account

If the original ticket is bought from an agency, then you’d better ask the agency to handle the change for you, as the price difference will be returned to or charged through their bankcard, either it is an e-ticket or a paper one.
 

What to do if you miss your train? 

You can change to a later train on the same day and the same route. Your original paper ticket is required for this change. If tickets on the same day and same route have been sold out, the missed train tickets cannot be changed or refunded and you need to take the loss on your own.

The change rules and procedures are the same as mentioned above. 
 
 Note: The above policies are only applied to domestic routes within Mainland China. They are not applied to international trains and those to/from Hong Kong.

 Further Reading:
How to Refund China Train Tickets

What to Do if You Lost Your China Train Tickets

- Last modified on Nov. 21, 2019 -
Questions & Answers on How to Change a China Train Ticket
Asked by Tasanee from THAILAND | Nov. 21, 2019 09:52Reply
Time changed
If i book the date and time of trains online from Xi'an to Luoyang Longmen v.v and in the case that I cann’t finish the programme tour in time in Luoyang. Can I walk in to change the time at the Luoyang Longmen Station?
Answers (1)
Answered by Bella from INDONESIA | Nov. 21, 2019 17:17
00Reply


Yes, you have one chance to change to other later trains on the same day. You can do it at station ticket counter even after original departure time. There is only one risk, if all tickets are fully booked on later trains, you cannot make the change anymore and will lost the full ticket price.
Asked by E from SAN MARINO | Sep. 28, 2019 20:56Reply
Can you change a train ticket twice?
I changed it once online and I am wondering if I can't change it again at the counter.
Answers (1)
Answered by TravelChinaGuide | Sep. 29, 2019 00:26
00Reply


Thank you for your inquiry.

Ticket can only be changed one time after it being confirmed. No matter online or at the counter, the ticket cannot be changed again.
Asked by Carla from SOUTH AFRICA | Sep. 26, 2019 02:59Reply
Getting off early
Is it okay to get off a few stops earlier than the end destination on my ticket? Will i be able to leave the station?
Answers (1)
Answered by Cristian from NEW ZEALAND | Sep. 27, 2019 03:39
00Reply


Yes, sure! No problem, but you cannot get back with same ticket to continue the trip.
Asked by Jonas from DENMARK | Aug. 14, 2019 12:01Reply
Uploaded the wrong documents
I uploaded the wrong documentation how can I change that?
Answers (1)
Answered by TravelChinaGuide | Aug. 15, 2019 19:11
00Reply


Thank you for your inquiry.

You may send us correct documents by email instead. It would be appreciate if you can include your tracking number in email too. Our email is bookingtravelchinaguide.com.
Asked by Elaine from USA | Apr. 15, 2019 14:06Reply
Using a ticket for a different train
If I miss the 3PM buillet train from Guangzhou south railway to HK, can I use the same ticket for the 5PM train?
Answers (1)
Answered by Warren | Apr. 16, 2019 02:28
00Reply


No, it is a pity that for this trip to Hk, if you miss the booked one, the ticket is useless, you cannot change to other ride.
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