Published October 12, 2017

New System Makes Booking Train Tickets In China Way Better

By Dan Entwistle


Have you ever gone to book a train ticket online or at the station only to find out that you and your family aren’t sat together? If so, you’ll be happy to hear that there’s been a major upgrade to the booking system that should stop that from ever happening again.


Under the new system, launched today, passengers travelling on C, D and G bullet trains will be able to pre-select their seats ahead of time. Meaning if you’re travelling with friends and family you’ll be able to sit next to them instead of 16 rows away.



The new seat booking system on the official train website


The new system requires groups of passengers to select neighbouring seats, which is slightly unfortunate for parents hoping to sit away from their kids for a few hours. If there are no neighbouring seats left for your group to sit together and you absolutely have to take a certain train, you can also ask the system to automatically assign individual seats throughout the train for you.


The upgrade also now presents passengers with alternative routes to their final destination should all direct tickets be sold out. For example, if you want to travel from Shanghai to Beijing during the national holiday but all the direct tickets have sold out, the system will show you other potential routes where you’ll have to transfer at a station along the way.



The new route planning option, showing you an option to transfer through Guiyang


The upgraded booking system was being trialled in Hainan over the past year before it was finally rolled out to the rest of the country today. 


At present the new booking system is only available in Chinese on the official China Rail website so make sure you’ve got a Chinese friend nearby if your Mandarin isn’t up to scratch.


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