Category Archives: By Train

Train from Shanghai to Nanjing

Many people asked me for suggestion to visit other places by train. It is a FAQ, and I finally found out the train schedule (in English). Please check out this sample. You will see how frequent the train from Shanghai to Nanjing is. If you check out this table, there are 53 trains leave Shanghai and go to Nanjing every single day! That is one train every half an hour. Click the train no to find out more about the specific train.

< td align="right">303

Train # Shanghai -> Suzhou -> Wuxi -> Changzhou -> Zhenjiang -> Nanjing Duration Distance (km)
5152/5153 >0025 0132 0204 0256 0346 0431   4:31 303
5054 >0415 0518 0548 0622 0719 0812   4:12 303
5046/5047 >0422 0525 0555 0641 0743 0827   4:27 303
5056   0520 0624 0704 0749 0854 0942   4:42 303
5026/5027 >0553 0656 0731 0825 0941 1027   5:27 303
2526/2527 >0650 0800 0830 0901 0957 1105   5:05 303
T732/T733 >0658 0751 0818 0847 1005   4:05 303
K376/K377 >0816 0944 1014 1046 1150 1232   4:32 303
T704 >0830 0929 1047< 2:47 303
T706 >0837 0919 1054< 2:54 303
T708 >0844 1016 1134< 3:34 303
K290/K291 >0851 1009 1039 1113 1204 1301   5:01 303
K56/K57 >0907 1002 1032 1106 1157 1239   3:39 303
1346/1347 >0914 1016 1046 1120 1224 1308   4:08 303
L78/L79 >0925 1052 1242 1317 1415 1502   6:02 303
T712 >0935 1026 1054 1127 1213 1254   3:54 303
K234/K235 >1142 1245 1317 1350 1443 1525   4:25 303
K294/K295 >1225 1341 1416 1449 1539 1623   4:23 303
K34 >1300 1401 1431 1504 1555 1639   3:39 303
2182/2183 >1314 1416 1446 1524 1630 1743   4:43 303
1352/1353 >1347 1510 1540 1613 1713 1756   4:56 303
T740   1410 1501 1528 1600 1644 1729   3:29 303
1462 >1425 1528 1617 1651 1746 1903   5:03 303
T736/T737 >1450 1541 1608 1640 1723 1802   4:02 303
N516 >1457 1558 1628 1659 1838 1921   5:21 303
T132/T133 >1523 1614 1641 1710 1754 1833   3:33 303
T726/T727 >1544 1634 1700 1840   3:40 303
K461/K464 >1551 1726 1820 1851 1941 2025   5:25 303
T718 >1604 1714 1853< 2:53 303
T760 >1618 1710 1752 1830 1946< 3:46 303
T138/T139 >1625 1717 1744 1813 1929   3:29 303
1658/1659 >1632 1745 1843 1918 2033 2226   6:26 303
T116/T117 >1643 1734 1801 1939   3:39 303
K152/K153 >1652 1801 1832 1909 2000 2045   4:45 303
T730   1701 1752 1955   2:55 303
T722 >1733 1830 1857 1927 2011 2052   3:52 303
K188/K189 >2017 2113 2144 2216 2341 0028   4:28 303
K372/K373 >2026 2137 2208 2255 2348 0044   4:44 303
T52/T53 >2038 2129 2156 2225 2341   3:41 303
T178   2052 2148 2216 2246 0003   4:03 303
2582/2583   2059 2159 2230 2303 0005 0051   4:51 303
K282/K283 >2106 2206 2237 2310 0015 0058   3:58 303
5018/5019 >2113 2214 2245 2328 0023 0106   4:06 303
L114 >2122 2247 2350 0054 0210 0257   5:57 303
N512/N513   2144 2256 2328 0002 0057 0202   5:02 303
N518/N519 >2202 2311 2342 0017 0113 0155   3:55 303
K360/K361 >2209 2303 2335 0010 0104 0146   3:46
N538/N539   2225 2328 2358 0031 0126 0211   4:11 303
5016   2317 0023 0054 0133 0242 0334   4:34 303
5022 >2324 0034 0111 0145 0249 0340   4:40 303
L102/L103 >2333 0141 0232 0315 0413 0500   6:00 303
5008/5009 >2342 0051 0122 0155 0256 0358   4:58 303
1228/1229 >2350 0105 0150 0239 0335 0417   5:17 303

South Railway Station Pictures

These are the pictures of Shanghai South Railway Station. I took it during the weekend, and as I promised, I posted here. I feel I am a journalist when I brought my camera to the South Railway Station – those staff must think I am a journalist – because no one went to a station that is not put in use yet.

Hope these pictures helps…

Bigger pictures can be found here.

Shanghai South Railway Station

This is the latest update about the second most important station in Shanghai – the opening of the Shanghai South Railway Station.

The Shanghai South Railway Station will open officially from June 25, 2006. The first train from the station to Hangzhou will leave that morning.

I hope this short introduction can help you plan your trip to Shanghai.

How Many Railway Stations in Shanghai?

Just like the confusing “two-airport in one city” arrangement, there are many railway stations in Shanghai. The major one is the Shanghai Railway Station, or “The New Railway Station” by local people. Most trains depart and arrive in this station. Especially trains westward, or northward.

The other one is the Shanghai South Railway Station. It was opened long time ago, but closed for construction about two or three years ago.

Now the construction completes, and it is become a bigger station than the Shanghai Railway Station, and will be responsible to handle trains to south of Shanghai.

Where is the South Station?

Both the New Station and the South Station are located at metro line #1. South Station is also the starting station of Metro line #3.

It is at south-west part of Shanghai. If you list all the metro stations between the two railway station, here is the order:

(North)

Shanghai Railway Station

Xinzha Road

Hanzhong Road

People’s Square (Transit to Metro Line #2)

South Huangpi Road

South Shaanxi Road

Changshu Road

Hengshan Road

Xujiahui

Shanghai Stadium (Transit to Metro Line #3)

Caobao Road

Shanghai South Railway Station (Transit to line #3)

Hongmei Road

Lianhua Road

Outer Ring

Xinzhuang

(South)

You may get some idea about where the station is.

Trains

Here is the train schedule.

Now there are only 5 pairs of train scheduled to use the South Station. Please record this, since this information is important:

N521 South Station -> Hangzhou, Departs at 08:15

N523 South Station -> Hangzhou, Departs at 10:01

N525 South Station -> Hangzhou, Departs at 13:33

N527 South Station -> Hangzhou, Departs at 16:12

N529 South Station -> Hangzhou, Departs at 19:08

N522 Hangzhou -> South Station, Arrives at 09:15

N524 Hangzhou -> South Station, Arrives at 12:41

N526 Hangzhou -> South Station, Arrives at 15:21

N530 Hangzhou -> South Station, Arrives at 18:13

N528 Hangzhou -> South Station, Arrives at 20:48

If I visit the station one day, I will take picture of it and share with everyone. The architect is fantastic. It is the first round railway station in the world. It looks like a stadium for me.

How to Get there from Pudong Airport?

If you want to go to Hangzhou, to take bus directly from Pudong Airport is a better choice, since it is faster, and door to door.

If you do want to transit at Shanghai South Railway Station, it may take some time and needs three transfer.

1. Take Maglev from Pudong Airport to Long Yang Road

2. Take Metro #2 (at the same building) to the People’s Square.

3. Transit to Metro #1 at People’s Square.

4. Arrive at the Shanghai South Railway Station

Don’t try this route if you have big luggage. The transition between the Metro #2 to Metro #1 takes long time, and requires you to bring your luggage up for two floors, and down for one.

With the completion of the station, I would be more willing to visit Hangzhou myself.

Good luck to your trip. I hope this information is helpful.

Update January 23, 2009

Now the station has been completed and opened, and 3 years later, the trains leaving from this station are much more than 2006, when this article was written. It has already been a large station. Please read on the part II of this station, with a lot of pictures.

Train Tickets in Shanghai Railway Station

I received email, asking me how to buy train tickets in Shanghai. It is not too complicated. I mean at normal time. During three long vacations, it will be tough to get a ticket. Three holidays are:

  • May Holiday, from May 1 to May 7
  • October Holiday, Oct 1 to Oct 7
  • Spring Festival, from the first day to the 7th day of the lunar new year.

To get a ticket during those periods is another story.

Buying it at Railway Station

There is one major railway station in Shanghai – Shanghai Railway Station. It is easily accessed by Metro Line #1. From Pudong Airport, you can take Maglev to Long Yang Road station, transit to Metro Line #2, and transit to Metro Line #1 at People’s Square. Shanghai Railway Station is just two stops away from the People’s Square.

There is a large ticket center at the railway station. Just go there and buy ticket as buying movie ticket. You don’t need photo identification or other documents to get tickets.

Please note: To ask for refund of the ticket is possible, but may not be 100% return. Also, never buy tickets from vendors outside. Some people sell fake tickets.

Other Ticket Offices

There are many places you can buy tickets. The most convenient one I know is the one at Long Yang Road Station of Metro Line #2.

You can buy tickets to any city at that ticketing office. They charge 5 RMB or 0.6 USD service fee. You can also ask hotel reception to buy ticket for you.

Booking Ticket in Advance

Unlike most train system in the world, most tickets are sold only 7 days in advance. You cannot book tickets ealier than that.

For special route, like Beijing to Shanghai, it is a little different.

Hope this helps.

Travel by Train in China – Part I

Railway is the “standard” travel options for normal people in China. Richer (minority) people travel by air and short distance traveler go by bus; the rest typically take trains.

For transition passengers in Shanghai, to take train maybe an option if the destination is near. I’d like to devote some time on the train system in China. I hope this guide will be helpful to visitors who want to use railway.

Types of Seats/Sleepers

There are several times of seats. The most basic is the hard seat, soft seat, and hard sleeper, soft sleeper. I know the translation is quite confusing but I couldn’t found a better one. Someone asked me “How difficult are the hard seats?” It is amusing. Actually, hard seat is not completely wooden. It feels soft when you touch it.

Typically, “hard seat” cars have 10 persons in a cubicle, 6 on the left and 4 on the right.

====    ==

|o o o    o o|

|o o o    o o|

====    ==

| is window

= is back of seats

o is seats.

There are about 100 – 120 passenger seats in one train cart.

The Trip

Bryan Tutt’s A Hard Seat Train is a vivid description about what a crowded “hard seat” train is. Fortunately, it should be the experience of several years ago. Now the train are getting better, faster with fewer people. The train has been upgraded to new models with better equipment. If you travel from Shanghai to nearby cities, like Hangzhou, Suzhou, Nanjing, Zhenjiang, Changzhou, the train are more likely to be the newest and most advanced model. If you travel to Beijing, the train from Shanghai to Beijing are among the best in China.

Train Stations in Shanghai

In Shanghai, there are two train stations – the Shanghai Railway Station and Shanghai Southern Railway Station. Most of trains will start and arrive at Shanghai Railway Station except those to Zhejiang and southern provinces. Always check where the railway station you need to go to. The Shanghai Southern Railway Station will be expanded to as large as Shanghai Railway Station and the construction is undergoing at the time when this article is posted. There are 12 stops in Metro Line #1 between the two stations.

To be continued

Train from Beijing to Shanghai

Schedule

Train From Shanghai to Beijing

Z14 19:00 6:58 with Dinner

Z22 19:07 7:05 without Dinner

Z6 19:14 7:12 with Dinner

Z2 19:21 7:19 without Dinner

Z8 19:28 7:26 with dinner

Train From Beijing to Shanghai

Z13 19:07 7:05 with dinner

Z21 19:00 6:58 without dinner

Z5 19:14 7:12 with dinner

Z1 19:21 7:19 without dinner

Z7 19:28 7:26 without dinner

Above information is in format of

Train code, Departure time, Arrival time (of the next day), Whether dinner is provided

A Picture is Better than Thousands of Words

Today, Wendy took the train (Z5) to go back to Shanghai. I take some pictures of the fabulous train.

Inside the train

The hall way of the new train. Look at the carpet and the nice curtain. You must be wondering whether it is a five star hotel. I did when I stepped into the train.

© Jian Shuo Wang

Wendy lying on her soft sleeper, expecting the wonderful trip with the luxurious trip. The sleeper is quite comfortable and clean.

© Jian Shuo Wang

A label can tell the quality of the room inside. Check what the silver plate of the WC implies inside.

© Jian Shuo Wang

The upper sleeper. There are four sleepers in cabinet. There are as much space as lower sleeper and it is easy to get onto the upper sleeper. It is about 20 RMB less expensive than lower sleeper.

© Jian Shuo Wang

I was surprise to see they also serve new slippers for passengers, similar to hotels.

© Jian Shuo Wang

The decent water pot appeared on the snow white table.

© Jian Shuo Wang

On the back of the door of the cabinet is a oval glass, reflecting the whole cabinet.

© Jian Shuo Wang

The label of the sleepers. Each sleeper is numbered with a unique number.

© Jian Shuo Wang

You can control the strength of the lights, the temperature, the wind of air condition, and the volume of the speaker (or turn the train background music off). There is also an red emergency call button.

© Jian Shuo Wang

There are about 10 such cabinet on a train cart

© Jian Shuo Wang

A fresh flower is placed on the table, making the trip more enjoyable.

© Jian Shuo Wang

Display board showing train status, your cart number and the availability of washroom.

© Jian Shuo Wang

The door of the train cart. After this door is closed in Beijing, the next time it is opened, it will be opened in Shanghai. There is no stops between the two cities.

© Jian Shuo Wang

Hot water is supplied at the end of each train cart.

© Jian Shuo Wang

Z5, leaving from Beijing at 19:14 and will arrive in Shanghai at 7:00 AM the next day.

© Jian Shuo Wang

The Train and the Station

Caution: The view outside remains dirty and crowded as before.

The Beijing station. The trains with code starting of “Z” arrive and depart in this station. If you are interested, there is a bigger station in Beijing – the Beijing West Station.

beijing.train-beijng.station.jpg

© Jian Shuo Wang

The train waited on the platform and passengers get there by a viaduct and then go down to the platform.

beijing.train-train-at.platform.jpg

© Jian Shuo Wang

The head of the new train. It seems every details of the train changed.

beijing.train-head.jpg

© Jian Shuo Wang

The sign outside the train, saying “Shanghai to Beijing”.

beijing.train-label.of.train.jpg

© Jian Shuo Wang

The windows of the train look just those windows of high office buildings of Shanghai. You cannot open the windows.

beijing.train-outside.cart.jpg

© Jian Shuo Wang

This picture was taken when I meet Wendy at the station at around 7:00 AM Saturday morning. It was very exciting scene – it looked so beautiful to see the train coming from the fogs of morning.

beijing.train-z6-coming.in.jpg

© Jian Shuo Wang

More about the Train

The price for Z5 from Beijing to Shanghai, lower sleeper is 499 RMB. The price should be something less than 500 RMB (but near 500 RMB) for most trains.

5 Reasons this New Train is Better than Plane

  1. Cheap.

    Compare the 500 RMB (clean-cut) and the 1130 RMB full price of a flight ticket! Although you can get discounted flight tickets at as low as 650 RMB, it is still higher. There is no airport construction fee for train (50 RMB), you usually don’t need to take taxi to take train. Both Shanghai and Beijing train station are accessible via Metro. To go Shanghai Airport, you have to pay at least 30 RMB (average. For me, I have to pay 76 RMB). To leave Beijing Airport, when you see the first exit of the Airport Express Way, the meter of the taxi already charged you 50 RMB. So, it is another 200 RMB difference in price.

  2. Save Day Time.

    You go to train station after work at 6:00 PM, sleep on the comfortable sleeper and when you open your eyes again, it is 7:00 AM the next day, exactly the time to go to office of another city. Wonderful! Many business man take train to travel between Shanghai and Beijing not because it is cheap, it is because it saves day time.

  3. On Time.

    Trains are not always on time, but they are much better than planes. I never expect plane to be on time in China. Did you know that the last time I came to Beijing on delayed flight of 4 hours? The reputation of flights is terrible. Trains are much more reliable.

  4. Save Hotel Fee.

    If you put the one hotel price into consideration, you save a lot. Often, I wonder, why I have to be so rush to airport, take the fastest vehicle (civil vehicle) and rush to a taxi, just to go to bed of the hotel. :-D

  5. More Private Time.

    On plane, you cannot use laptop (freely) and it is too short to read a novel. The 12 hours on train give passenger right time to think, to read or simply to sleep.

This entry is posted in Beijing.

Update September 23, 2007

Three years after I posted this entry, let me refresh some information. The following information was extracted from Nick Sung‘s comment made on September 23, 2007.

Ticket price for bottom sleeper (adult): 499 RMB

Ticket price for upper sleeper (adult): 479 RMB

Ticket price for upper sleeper (children): 337 RMB

On Z-train (shown in picture of this article), there are only 4 bed room, and there are no 2-person rooms. 2-person rooms are available only on T-train (another type of train connecting Beijing and Shanghai), and the price is 900 RMB per person.

What Nick heard about Z-train is cleaner should be true since Z-train is newer launched, and should have higher standard.

Toilets? Please refer to Nick’s comment, which I think is very true.

The train is generally clean and comfortable. All of the pictures and comments above are accurate. However, the bathrooms become a challenge. Each car has a small washroom at the front with 2 small sinks. Also, each car has 2 toilet rooms at the rear. The right room has a standard toilet while the left room has one of those “kneeling” units which is basically a hole in the floor. The bathrooms all start out clean, but as the trip wears on, the men tend to cover the toilets and floors with urine and spit. Even so, these are still 100X better than the train station bathrooms as they were complete disasters. Remember, China is still a developing country with many uneducated peasants. Cleanliness is no consideration for most locals. But i’m sure this is the best train you can get in this country.

Nick also described the meal and hot water:

There is plenty of hot water available but you need your own cups and napkins. Almost everyone brought a bowl of instant noodles with them. They did sell little “lunch box” meals for dinner and breakfast you could eat in your cabins. They were surprisingly good. Car #9 is the dining car with a little bar area. We had dinner one night and the food was very good. However, it was crowded and you have to share your table with other people, also, they ran out of several dishes early. They served dinner from boarding until 9:30pm when “midnight snack” time started. I think breakfast started at 6am. Overall, an enjoyable experience much cheaper than flying and saving a hotel stay each night.

Thanks Nick for sharing the first hand information with us, and helped me to make this page more helpful for travelers in China.

Back to Shanghai via Train 1660

I am back to Shanghai via train 1657 (from Luoyang to Shanghai). After the fifth speed-up of the whole train system in China, the train I rely on to go home and get back to Shanghai – No. 1658/1660, is even slower than before. :-( It has to give way for other “faster” trains.

Anyway, it is very nice to get to Shanghai and I observe something new. There are some new building and the weather is hotter. It smells as summer already.

Update August 2, 2004

Comparing to the miserable condition of normal sleeper train, the new Beijing to Shanghai train is much better. Check pictures here:

Train from Beijing to Shanghai

Returned on Delayed Train K284

I return by train K284. The train was delayed for 10 hours. What a bad trip it was to have waited in the hot train station for 10 hours and journey itself took 19 hours.

Train in China

It is a pity that I have never took train in any other countries. I have ever took metro in Singapore. It is strange that people like to stand in the train while there are still a lot of empty seats there. I also had taken public buses in Seattle. What impressed me was the bicycle rack at the front of the buses. How convenient it is for bike riders like me. The reason I always curious about trains in other countries is that the experience of taking trains in China are always one of the worst experience one may have.

Delayed Train? Don’t worry. It happens everyday.

My train from Nanyang to Shanghai at K284 should arrive in Nanyang station at 12:44 to pick us up and leave the small station at around 12:48. I rushed to the station only to know that the train was delayed.

nanyang-K282.delayed.jpg

© Jian Shuo Wang

The information display board shows:

CHENGDU – SHANGHAI

K284 Delayed without expected arrival time.

Don’t leave. Pay attention to broadcast.

At that time, the temperature is about 38 degree C. People are too hot and some didn’t wear their shirt. It is extremely hard time but there is no any notice. Well. It is the routine that information is always held by the administration and the passengers are always not informed. To be honest, I feel very bad that the reason of the delay and the expected time for the train to arrive (within one hour? or within 10 hours?) were strictly held as top confidential. The staff in the station all know what happened but they just keep the right of know the message as privilege and will not share it with their customer – the passengers. That is a big problem of the society in current China – all the positions are trying to hold the information they get and don’t want to share – it is the case during the early stage of SARS epidemic. :-(

Below: You can see the poor people waiting for the train in the railway station.

nanyang-waiting.room-busy.jpg

© Jian Shuo Wang

Below: The life in the waiting room in a small station is miserable.

nanyang-people.waiting-naked.jpg

© Jian Shuo Wang

At 11:00 PM, about 10 hours later, the broadcast suddenly announced that the train had arrived. Within 1 second, people rushed to the door, tired, hot and in bad mood. 5 minutes later, the train started.

Something good

It is because of the bad experience last night that enforced the strong negative image of China Railway to me. Actually, the train did improve a lot in the last ten years.

Below: Look at the orange train. It has replaced the old style green train. The green train is not equipped with air circulation and to travel on it in hot summer is too hard. Luckily enough, more and more orange train (with air condition) had replaced the old one.

luoyang.guanlin-railway.station.jpg

© Jian Shuo Wang

Below: The soft sleeper train on K284 – the number 10 cart. It is just beside the dinning cart in No. 11 and separates the hard seat carts and hard sleeper carts. Taking this K284 as an example, from the head to rear, there are a locomotive cart, a engine cart, the hard seat carts (No. 16, 15, 14, 13, 12), and cooking cart with dining cart (No 11). The soft sleeper cart follows dining carts. Then are the hard sleeper cart (No. 10, 9, 8, 7, 6). At the end is the cart for train working staff.

nanyang-soft.sleeper-train.jpg

© Jian Shuo Wang

Layout of Hard Sleeper Cart

Upper [ 1 2][ 3 4][ 5 6][ 7 8][ 9 10][11 12][13 14][15 16][17 18][19 20][21 22]

Middle[ 1 2][ 3 4][ 5 6][ 7 8][ 9 10][11 12][13 14][15 16][17 18][19 20][21 22]

Lower [ 1 2][ 3 4][ 5 6][ 7 8][ 9 10][11 12][13 14][15 16][17 18][19 20][21 22]

This layout is typical hard sleeper cart. The No. 5 to No.18 lower sleeper are the best sleeper since 1) It is far way from the head and rear of the cart where toilet and cart interaction are located. So it is either smell bad or too noisy there. Lower sleeper are considered more convinient than upper or middle since it does require you to climb up and down…

Unfortunately, I took 22 middle and 19 middle in my round trip.

Below: Scene near Nanzhao.

nanyang-rail.before.mountains.jpg

© Jian Shuo Wang

nanyang-train.washroom.jpg

© Jian Shuo Wang

Below: The middle sleeper.

nanyang-train.middle.sleeper.jpg

© Jian Shuo Wang