Talk:Rail travel in China

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See also: Talk:Rail travel in China/Archive

Recent Updates?[edit]

Looking at the history, it seems this page hasn't been updated since the Wikitravel migration. Can anyone update for recent changes? --Andrewssi2 (talk) 12:52, 30 May 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Looking again at this page, it seems very out of date and I feel that it doesn't actually help the traveler anymore. This is obviously down to the rapid expansion of rail in China in a very short time period. Since nobody is maintaining the information can we either:
# Rework the article to be shorter?
# Delete the article?
--Andrewssi2 (talk) 11:02, 13 August 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Shortening it sounds like a good step to me. Probably the whole routes section can be cut to a short paragraph or, better, summarised in a map.
There's an argument for merging it into the China article (or for that matter that it needn't have been separated in the first place), but to me that depends on length. Is there still enough to say here that we should keep it separate? I'm inclined to think so, but not entirely sure. Pashley (talk) 12:20, 13 August 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I think there should be enough to say for a dedicated page from the perspective of a traveler. For example, many people may not be aware that it is much more convenient to travel between Shanghai and Beijing by train rather than plane since last year. Specific information (for me) would be main routes, average journey time and how to obtain tickets at each of the main stations.
I would like to remove:
A) Specific models of train: The trains are fast and we know how long the journey will take.
B) Maglev: It is 'high speed rail', but only relevant for travel inside the city of Shanghai.
C) Related Developments section: There is nothing here that helps the traveler. Mostly trivia.
I would like to keep:
A) Types of service (without the train models)
B) Lines in Service (although in a consistent table)
How does this sound?--Andrewssi2 (talk) 13:40, 13 August 2013 (UTC)[reply]
I removed 'related developments' and cleaned up the Maglev section as a starting point --Andrewssi2 (talk) 12:58, 14 August 2013 (UTC)[reply]
It would look better if the routes were converted into a table instead of a list. Right now it looks sloppy.Altaihunters (talk) 02:12, 26 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]
Agreed. Quite a big task though, and I'm wondering if the article should focus on the major lines. Andrewssi2 (talk) 04:10, 26 November 2013 (UTC)[reply]

Routes between the biggest cities[edit]

I'm glad to see that the near unusable list of train lines has been replaced by a SVG map by User:Jpatokal.

I wonder however if we should keep some high level route descriptions between the biggest cities? (i.e. Shanghai->Beijing) Andrewssi2 (talk) 05:32, 7 January 2014 (UTC)[reply]

I think some particularly useful routes (HK<->SH<->BJ) plus some sample fares would be handy. But I'm not entirely convinced this article is worth keeping, might be better to merge it back into the main China page. Jpatokal (talk) 10:42, 7 January 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Generally speaking I am not for creating extra superfluous articles, although I actually believe this should be an exception. My main reason is that China is already a monster article and the train system there is actually complex enough to merit its on article in terms of how to take a train and plan a journey. Pinging User:Pashley for his opinion. Andrewssi2 (talk) 13:09, 7 January 2014 (UTC)[reply]
I'm pretty much neutral here. This article seemed like a good idea five years ago when it had only a short list of routes and these trains were not a major way of getting about. Now, I wouldn't miss it. Pashley (talk) 21:41, 7 January 2014 (UTC)[reply]
I'm on the side of 'keep', albeit very mildly. I wouldn't be keen to see the large rail map on the China page itself. Andrewssi2 (talk) 00:49, 8 January 2014 (UTC)[reply]

Expansion beyond China?[edit]

There was once a section on longer term proposals, routes to Moscow, India and Singapore. It was deleted.

At least one of those, through Laos to Bangkok and Singapore, appears to be going ahead. Pashley (talk) 07:16, 18 January 2014 (UTC)[reply]

I saw that article as well. It is a serious proposal by Beijing, although apparently it would make Laos one of the world's most indebted countries. The Asia development bank says it is unaffordable.
It is probably worth noting as a potential project. Andrewssi2 (talk) 07:52, 18 January 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Wow! Chinese experts 'in discussions' over building high-speed Beijing-US railway
I've also seen reports they are talking to Argentina, Brazil & others about building railways there. Pashley (talk) 00:24, 10 May 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Certainly ambitious :) I see these discussions as ways to build up China's credibility as a railway superpower and provide momentum for regional projects as well as exporting to new markets such as South America.
In the short term the high speed connection to Hong Kong will be an important 'cross border' milestone, and a journey to Singapore may be possible in the next couple of decades.
Personally I am hoping for a Beijing->Pyongyang->Seoul high speed connection since the distances are short, but I don't think it will be polically feasible. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 00:48, 10 May 2014 (UTC)[reply]
Great, they are about to start building the high speed rail to connect Thailand.
Construction starts next year with completion planned for 2021. Andrewssi2 (talk) 06:28, 1 August 2014 (UTC)[reply]

A new line to South Korea is proposed. This one will have the most political obstacles, but great if it works out: Andrewssi2 (talk) 06:48, 24 March 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Why two rail maps in this article?[edit]

a map of lines in China (and surrounding countries) as of April 2015

I just noticed this thumbnail image at the top of the article.

  1. Why do we need an image that shows (HSR and non-HSR) rail networks in neighboring countries?
  2. Why do we this this image at all given there is a comprehensive route diagram lower down in the article?

If no-one objects then I would remove this thumbnail later. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 11:29, 4 July 2015 (UTC)[reply]

I'd say it can go. Pashley (talk) 11:42, 4 July 2015 (UTC)[reply]
I removed that map and placed it in East Asia instead where it fits much better. ϒpsilon (talk) 15:18, 4 July 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Subway map of China HSR network[edit]

I'm not suggesting to replace the existing HSR map with this new 'subway style' map, but I felt it would be interesting to place on the discussion page. [image since deleted] --Andrewssi2 (talk) 23:39, 4 July 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Actually, on second thought this map is much more helpful in planning a rail holiday in China than the existing one. You can actually see the line connections between two cities. What do you think? --Andrewssi2 (talk) 23:53, 4 July 2015 (UTC)[reply]

Silk Road[edit]

I have to ask, the planned / announced Silk Road... I thought this was only / primarily for freight. Are there plans for scheduled high speed passenger services? Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:45, 22 November 2015 (UTC)[reply] --Andrewssi2 (talk) 08:57, 23 November 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Huh. Probably end-to-end passenger travel will be an afterthought, though. Although an itinerary Tehran to Ürümqi railroad if and when it opens would surely be epic. I do hope they quadruple track, because mixing fast and slow trains drastically decreases capacity for both (that's why most HSR lines that have cargo trains only run them at night). However, building a line for both freight and people will drastically increase cost, because cargo trains can deal with curvy track (which HSR can't) and High Speed trains can deal with relatively steep inclines (4% on the Cologne-Frankfurt route for example) whereas freight trains can't... But in all likelihood that proposal is the same vaporware that 50% (at least) of all "proposed" high speed rail projects are. To list but a few: Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Florida, Wisconsin, Ohio, New York - Canada, Poland, all German Transrapid proposals (including: Ruhr Area, Munich to Munich Airport, Berlin Hamburg, Berlin-Prague) and probably a couple of others I forgot about. Unless there are already tracks being laid, a bit of skepticism is always in order... And I do think that once someone runs the numbers, they will find out a v(max)=120km/h freight route does the trick for almost all the uses the Chinese currently need such a route for... Hobbitschuster (talk) 13:20, 23 November 2015 (UTC)[reply]
As a side note the "Siberian-less Transsiberian" route from Moscow via Kazakhstan (Almaty or Astana) to Urumqi and further to Beijing is sometimes referred to the Silk Road train route. ϒpsilon (talk) 17:52, 23 November 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Possibly. The recent cancelation of Chinese HSR in Thailand resulted in the refocus on a freight line. Nevertheless the proposal seems official, and as far as I know no ground has been broken on any of the international routes. --Andrewssi2 (talk) 19:35, 23 November 2015 (UTC)[reply]
Washington Post: China’s new train line to Iran sends message to Trump: We’ll keep trading anyway. Freight only so far, but in service. Pashley (talk) 00:03, 12 May 2018 (UTC)[reply]
A freight train run for political reasons is not the same as a high speed railway for passengers... Hobbitschuster (talk) 01:39, 12 May 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Access to greenfield stations[edit]

So apparently the majority of High Speed Rail services in China only serve greenfield stations in most cities. The text now goes into some detail as to how to reach them by road and the problems with that but is mostly silent on public transit. Am I to understand that the majority of them are only served by buses and taxis (if that) and are not connected to urban rail nor are there services from the legacy station directly to the greenfield station? If so that surely bears mentioning. Hobbitschuster (talk) 16:53, 14 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

I've expanded a bit on that. Of course if a city has a subway system at all, or plans to get one, it will build a line to the new train station (the area around which it will try to develop as a new business center, with hotels, shopping malls, office towers, etc), but it may take time. A city may have a particular bus route linking a "legacy" station (if it has one) with the new one, but it is not a given; the new bus routes may have their own logic. The section was actually inspired by Hekou North, where the city workers are now busy making a huge cut through a mountain to build a grand boulevard to the grand station square... while the passengers, for the time being, travel to the station literally through somebody's backyards! :-) -- Vmenkov (talk) 06:15, 15 January 2017 (UTC)[reply]

Simply "Rail rail travel in China"?[edit]

Should we expand this article to cover all types of trains (not just high-speed), and rename it to Rail travel in China, similarly to how it's done for most other countries under Rail travel? I think it would make sense, since many sub-topics (buying tickets, entering stations, etc) are common for HSR and "conventional" trains. -- Vmenkov (talk) 13:05, 1 April 2018 (UTC)[reply]

I have not been to China, so take this with a grain of salt, but as far as I am informed, HSR stations are often not served by "normal" trains and vice versa, there is more security theater associated with HSR, HSR is much more desirable to foreign travelers and there is a general ban on smoking on HSR (which doesn't exist on other trains) so the two are notable different. To an extent that they aren't necessarily in other countries... Hobbitschuster (talk) 14:12, 1 April 2018 (UTC)[reply]
(1) There is quite a bit of separation between HSR and conventional trains (after all, they use different tracks), but there are lots of stations with joint service. The arrangement seen in many major cities is as follows: there is one new HSR station which [normally] is only served by HS trains (Shanghai Hongqiao, Fuzhou South, Nanjing South, Wuhan, Hefei South), and one or two older stations which handle the "conventional" traffic, but also receive quite a few HS trains (in particular, those for which this city is the end point, or those that come from lines that are not conveniently connected to the HSR station) (Shanghai [Main], Fuzhou [Main], Nanjing [Main], Wuchang and Hankou, Hefei [Main]). Rarely, the opposite happen: one station for conventional only (Chongqing), the other for conventional and HSR (Chongqing North). Complete separation between HSR and conventional happens too of course (Kunming South / Kunming [Main], Xi'an North / Xi'an [Main]). (2) Desirability of HSR (vs conventional) for foreigners: I think that strongly depends on the route and the individual preferences. When traveling to a specific station, there may be no choice. If traveling, say, 1000 km between major cities (e.g. Wuhan-Guangzhou), there may be a choice between 4-6 hours on an HSR train, or 11-12 hours on a conventional train. If I can get a bunk to sleep on a conventional train with a good overnight schedule, I'd rather take that, as compared to spending half a day sitting in an HSR train! (3) Smoking: yes, HSR are completely smoking-free. On the conventional trains, I think, one is only allowed to smoke in certain sections (the corridors where you walk from one car to the next one), not in the main body of the car. But I neither smoke nor am particularly sensitive to small amounts of smoke, so I never paid attention to these issues, and may be wrong. -- Vmenkov (talk) 12:53, 2 April 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Proposal to rename the article[edit]

There is a lot of information on general rail travel in the China article, and there is a consensus that some of it should be combined with this article into a Rail travel in China article in this discussion. Doing so would have to take into account the separation from of services in many places discussed above. I am proposing to rename this article and merge the info it. Ground Zero (talk) 02:27, 28 May 2019 (UTC)[reply]

  • Support – your average train passenger is trying to get from point A to point B, and it's easier to be able to understand and compare the options all on one page. I think there's enough in common between the types of trains anyway (there are more two, by the way – see w:Rail transport in China#Classes of service). —Granger (talk · contribs) 14:22, 28 May 2019 (UTC)[reply]
  • Support - To a point previously made that there is quite a bit of separation between conventional and high speed trains, look at Rail travel in Japan. It covers both conventional and high-speed trains, as well as private railways, and Japan has a clear separation between private and JR stations. I think that is a well-written and well-organised article whose template we could follow. The dog2 (talk) 22:22, 29 May 2019 (UTC)[reply]

I've moved the article, and added in a bunch of text moved from the China article. I've integrated the two sections of text as best I can, but there is still more to do. Some help would be appreciated, especially from someone with recent experience with Chinese trains. A review to make sure that I haven't misundersttod any of the points being made would be helpful. Also, how much of the luggage advice applies to both types of trains? Thanks for any help. Ground Zero (talk) 18:59, 1 June 2019 (UTC)[reply]


I think there are too many images now, maybe mainly because I don't like the galleries - those photos are too small, and this site normally frowns on galleries; see WV:Image policy. Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:13, 3 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]

There are too many pictures of train stations and seating on the trains — I mean, a chair is a chair, right? --Comment by Selfie City (talk about my contributions) 03:17, 3 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Would anyone object if I simply delete the galleries? Ikan Kekek (talk) 09:38, 3 October 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I'd say about half the photos should go, starting with the galleries. Pashley (talk) 01:19, 18 December 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Wow. That's a lot of pictures. I'd say half would be a good start. Ground Zero (talk) 01:33, 18 December 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I took out some; it likely needs more trimming. Pashley (talk) 01:56, 18 December 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Thanks, guys. I removed the picture of the Western toilet, which I didn't think anyone really needed to see. One obvious place to consider trimming is that there are now 3 pictures of high-speed rail tickets. Do we need all of them, because they're sufficiently different from one another? If not, which pictures are most useful? Ikan Kekek (talk) 03:15, 18 December 2018 (UTC)[reply]
  1. 1 and #3 are quite similar in format, but pic #1 is easier to read. I'd drop #3. Ground Zero (talk) 17:30, 18 December 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Probably because of the contrasting background. I removed the other photo. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:46, 19 December 2018 (UTC)[reply]
I also removed the Nanjing South platforms picture. Ikan Kekek (talk) 05:48, 19 December 2018 (UTC)[reply]

Style point[edit]

"First Class", "first class", or "First class"? I think the last one is probably not possible. Which one is right? Ikan Kekek (talk) 02:11, 17 December 2018 (UTC)[reply]

"first Class" is out entirely? Hobbitschuster (talk) 22:41, 17 December 2018 (UTC)[reply]
Yes. :-) I would think it would be "first class", but I would listen to an argument that it's a proper name and treated as such by Chinese railways. Ikan Kekek (talk) 23:46, 17 December 2018 (UTC)[reply]

"These trains could serve"[edit]

The mentioned wording makes no sense and is bad English. Can somebody please replace it with better English? Hobbitschuster (talk) 13:06, 1 June 2019 (UTC)[reply]

Yes, of course you can. Wikivoyage is "the travel guide that you can edit". Ground Zero (talk) 13:28, 1 June 2019 (UTC)[reply]

High speed and regional, and post-merger work[edit]

There was a section "International and regional routes" under High-speed rail, which was made independent, because "really related to HSR?" The lines mentioned seem mostly to be K trains, which are said to be conventional, so the change seems right.

The problem is that the text is still in relation to high speed rail: "This is the first 'cross border' high-speed connection ...". I think the current text should largely be replaced by text about getting into and out of China by rail, and perhaps some moved to the High-speed rail intro.

I am also not entirely happy with the structure

  • Types of trains and services
  • Classes
  • Booking tickets
  • Train stations
  • Travel tips
  • High-speed rail
  • International and regional routes

Most sections have some information on high-speed rail, often as a separate section, and the High-speed rail section has subsections with part of the content similar to that of the sections above. I understand this is because of a merger where the content was not rewritten, but that work should be done. I don't have the knowledge to do it sensibly.

--LPfi (talk) 15:54, 23 November 2019 (UTC)[reply]

Tickets - new procedures[edit]

Since mid-2019 new procedures have been introduced for tickets. Paper tickets are no longer required (in fact not even used). Passengers enter stations with their ID cards or passports and then they board the trains through the turnstiles using their ID cards (main channels) or passports (manual channels). For those with passports they just place it on a passport reader and it verifies that you have a ticket booked for that train. All stations I have used in recent months (Shanghai, Nanjing, Hefei, Hangzhou, Xiamen, Xuzhou) have used this system. Paper tickets are only needed now for those who need reimbursement from their companies and showing a paper ticket instead of your ID will not even get you onto the train. The same procedure (ID cards and passports) is also used for exiting the platform area on arrival.--Xania (talk) 13:16, 9 January 2020 (UTC)[reply]