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.