Buy Train Ticket After On Board

My reader asked me whether it is possible to buy D train or CRH train ticket after getting on board.

My answer is, generally, no.

Checkpoints before you get on board

In Shanghai Railway Stations, for example, you have to have a valid train ticket before you get even close to the door of the train. Here are the possible places you need to show your ticket.

1. The Station.

The rule is, you can enter the train station only 2 hours before the train departs. You need to line up and show your ticket to an officer outside the train station. it is the same for the South Railway Station. The reason is, with too much people, without the check, many people may use the train station as a temp home, and enjoy the free air conditioning system. It is fine to have just a few, but as any train station in China, there are many people sitting or sleeping outside the train station, just wait for the 2 hour time to come.

2. The Platform.

After you wait in the waiting room in the train station, you need to line up to show to the person at the checkpoint before the platform to enter the platform. This is to avoid people holding other train ticket to get onto the departing train. This is gate opens 30 minutes before the train departs, and closes 5 minutes in advance.

3. The Train Cart.

Before you enter the train, you need to show the ticket to the train conductor before you enter the train. This is also to avoid people holding normal seat ticket to get into a better class of train cart. They can move freely after the train starts to move, but this check helps to keep the order of the train at the very beginning.

4. On the Train

The train conductor will check train ticket on board to find people who don’t have the ticket. This is routine check, and it is not easy to skip. Actually, this is the real check that prevent ticket slipping. If you are caught, you need to pay for the ticket.

So, if you don’t have a train ticket, it is not easy to get on to the train.

However, There Are Still Ways To Get On Board

Generally, you need to buy a ticket before you get on board, but there are other ways to work around it. The secret is, the Platform Ticket!

You can buy a platform ticket to gain access to the platform. Platform tickets are used for people to accompany their family, friends to get onto the train or those who pick up their friends on the train. The ticket is not valid for travel, just for a short period of time before the train departs, or arrives.

It costs 2 RMB in Shanghai.

If you have a Platform Ticket, you can pass check #1, and #2. For checkpoint #3, you can tell him/her that you can getting back very soon. When you are in the train, stay there until the train moves.

Then either wait for the train conductor to come to you to pay the full amount of the ticket, or you go to the train conductor (who often have office in the middle of the train) to buy a ticket. That is normally what people do.

Do you have any more tips about how to be able to buy ticket on board?

16 thoughts on “Buy Train Ticket After On Board

  1. Hi,

    Thank you for taking time to explain and it is very useful for the first timer like me visiting shanghai.

    Glad that I found your web site, at least it has clear my doubt.

    Once again, thank you

  2. Does that person still get a seat number? What happen to the passenger that bought the ticket in advance with a dedicated seat number, then later found out someone taken his/her seat and refuse to move.

    Isn’t that unfair? Imagine you purposely make a trip to counter days before to get your ticket and yet later found out there is such dirty tricks that can be by-pass.

  3. My wfe , my son and I are plannig to travel from Beijing to Changzhou by train T 109 on the 14 th Jan 2009. Can you please let me know how do I get 3 confirmed soft sleeper tickets. Since I have to be in Changzhou train T 109 is my only option. Can you please help . Is it cheaper to get confrimed tickets by buying after we reach Beijing on the 11 th Jan 2009 ? We are from India .

  4. My wife , son and I plan to take 3 tickets in train T 109 from Beijing to Changzhou on the 14 th Jan in soft sleeper. Please let me know how do I get confirmed tickets. Is it cheaper to get confirmed tickets by buying direct from the railway station after we reach Beijing on the 11 th Jan 2009 ? Please help me !

  5. Hi,

    My friend and I are planning for a trip this April. We are from the Philippines and planning to travel to Shanghai and Beijing. We would like to ask your for help about purchasing the ticket. We will arrive in Shanghai on the 6th of April and leave for Beijing by train on the 9th of April. I would like to ask where to purchase a roundtrip ticket. Shanghai-Beijing-Shanghai. We need a roundtrip ticket since we are planning to exit in Shanghai still to the Philippines on the 13th. Is it safe for us to buy the ticket as soon as we arrive in Shanghai or we need to buy it earlier. I am just concern of whether there are possibilities for us not able to purchase the ticket which would disrupt our arranged scheduled tours. Are there any extra payments charge to foreigners or just the current ticket rate. By the way, can i ask how much is the ticket rates by now.

    I would appreciate you help.


  6. Dear Sirs, with my wife would like go on 3.May 2009 with the overday train D 31 from Beijing toShanghai and please more information about comfort in this train, for exampl. diferr. between /soft-1 class and hard-2 class, restaurant and price in this restaurant, foto of intertior 1. and 2.class because we would like to go more comfort like for ex. TGV in France or ICC in Germany. Thank you, sincerely, Mr. Miroslav Novotný.

  7. All,

    Please be aware that this is just an informational website without no booking services, and there will be no guarantee to answer any questions you posted here. If you need to plan a trip, please contact your travel agent, or follow the information listed on this website. I just don’t want to leave you waiting for an answer that may never appear here.

    Jian Shuo

  8. Hi – there is one common trick you have not mentioned – to ‘bu piao’

    For any Western people reading, here is a possibly stressful but worked every time so far method to get hold of sleeping tickets at busy periods, rather than paying the touts:

    – buy a standing or hard seat ticket in advance

    – two days before the train is due to depart (or whatever the cancellation period shown on the ticket is) go back to the ticket office and check for returned sleeper tickets – buy the sleeper ticket and get a refund on your standing / hard seat ticket

    – if you are still stuck with a standing / hard seat ticket on the day of your train do not worry! Once on the platform, head for the dining car. Tell the attendant that you want to ‘bu piao’ = make up the ticket to a better one i.e. a sleeper. In my limited experience, they will either do it there and then or wait until the train has left and they can see which births are still empty.

    Use the above at your own risk!!!

  9. Is there a chance of a fine? I am guessing that to get past checkpoint #3 you need to speak good chinese :) or be a good actor

  10. I am going to carry a medium size luggage and a backpack, I would like to know if the Shanghai Train Station has escalators or lifts, or travelator for luggage? I intend to travel to Nanjing after arriving at 浦东 国际机场

  11. We are planing to travell between Beging to Shanghai by train. Please tell me the fare of the train. Is it different between day and night train or it is same . we want to take travellduting night time.which one is cheeper?

  12. Hi.

    I plan to fly into Beijing for few days and take a train from Beijing to Shanghai on the high speed train. Can I book on line kindly previov me the website address


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